Braking Concerns? Understanding the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall

Braking Concerns? Understanding the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall

The Chevy Malibu is a popular midsize sedan that offers comfort, performance, and reliability. 

However, some owners of the 2016-2018 models may have experienced braking issues that could compromise their safety. 

The problem is related to the vacuum pump, a device that helps create the necessary pressure for the brake booster.

 In some cases, the vacuum pump may fail or lose effectiveness, resulting in a hard brake pedal, increased stopping distance, and reduced braking power. 

This could increase the risk of a crash or injury. In this article, we will explain what the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall is, why it was issued, how it affects you, and what you should do if you own one of the affected vehicles. 

We will also give you some tips on how to maintain your brakes and prevent future problems.

What Is The Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall And Why Was It Issued?

The Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall is a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges 2013-2022 Chevy Malibu models are plagued by a brake vacuum pump defect that can cause a driver to lose the ability to brake, as well as damage engine components. The lawsuit claims that the cam-driven brake vacuum pump in affected Chevy Malibu models uses a brake booster to amplify brake pedal application, but the vacuum pump may fail or lose effectiveness, resulting in a hard brake pedal, increased stopping distance, and reduced braking power. This could increase the risk of a crash or injury. The lawsuit also claims that the vacuum pump defect can damage the exhaust camshaft and other engine components, causing costly repairs or replacements.

The lawsuit alleges that the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall was issued because General Motors (GM) knew or should have known about the defect, but failed to warn consumers or provide a remedy. The lawsuit seeks to represent all U.S. owners and lessees of 2013-2022 Chevy Malibu models equipped with 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.0L, and 2.5L engines. The lawsuit demands that GM recall and repair the affected vehicles, extend the warranties, reimburse the plaintiffs for their losses, and pay for damages and legal fees.

The Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall is not an official recall issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or GM, but a legal action initiated by a group of consumers who claim to have suffered from the defect. As of November 2021, the lawsuit is still pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

How Does The Vacuum Pump Affect The Braking System In Your Chevy Malibu?

The vacuum pump is a device that helps create the necessary pressure for the brake booster, which amplifies the force that the driver applies to the brake pedal. The brake booster requires a steady vacuum supply to operate efficiently and provide smooth and responsive braking. The vacuum pump is mounted on and driven by the exhaust camshaft and uses engine oil to lubricate its internal components.

The vacuum pump can affect the braking system in your Chevy Malibu in several ways. If the vacuum pump fails or loses effectiveness, it may not be able to provide enough vacuum to the brake booster, resulting in a hard brake pedal, increased stopping distance, and reduced braking power. This could increase the risk of a crash or injury.

Additionally, the vacuum pump can also damage the engine components, such as the camshaft, if it malfunctions. Because the vacuum pump is mounted on the camshaft, when the vacuum pump fails, it may cause unintended mechanical resistance, affecting the timing of and/or damaging the camshaft and other engine parts. This could lead to costly repairs or replacements.

Therefore, the vacuum pump is an important part of the braking system in your Chevy Malibu, and it should be checked and maintained regularly to prevent any problems. If you see the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall message on your dashboard or infotainment system, you should take your car to a qualified mechanic or a Chevrolet dealer as soon as possible to diagnose and fix the problem. Driving with a low or faulty vacuum pump or electrical system can damage your car and compromise your safety.

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How To Know If Your Chevy Malibu Is Affected By The Vacuum Pump Recall?

To determine if your Chevy Malibu is affected by the vacuum pump recall, you should check if your vehicle falls within the model years and engine types mentioned in the class action lawsuit. The lawsuit includes 2013-2022 Chevrolet Malibus equipped with 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.0L, and 2.5L engines. If your Malibu is within these model years and has one of these engines, it may be impacted by the vacuum pump issue described in the lawsuit. It’s advisable to contact a Chevrolet dealer or check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for any official recalls on your specific vehicle’s VIN for the most accurate information.

Braking Concerns? Understanding the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall

What To Do If You Receive A Recall Notice Or Experience Braking Problems In Your Chevy Malibu?

If you receive a recall notice or experience braking problems in your Chevy Malibu, you should take the following steps:

  • Contact your local Chevrolet dealer immediately to verify the recall notice and schedule a service appointment.
  • Do not drive the vehicle if you are experiencing significant braking issues, as this could be unsafe. Arrange for the vehicle to be towed to the dealership if necessary.
  • Keep all documentation related to the recall and any repairs or services performed on your vehicle.
  • Follow up with the dealership after the service to ensure that all recall-related repairs have been completed properly.

How To Maintain Your Brakes And Prevent Future Problems In Your Chevy Malibu?

Maintaining the brakes on your Chevy Malibu is crucial for ensuring safety and preventing future problems. Here are some key steps to follow:

Regularly check the brake pads for wear and tear. If the pads are worn down, they need to be replaced to avoid damage to the rotors and ensure effective braking.

Inspect the brake rotors for any signs of damage or warping. If they are damaged, they may need to be resurfaced or replaced.

Ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level and replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Old or contaminated brake fluid can affect braking performance.

Test the brake operation and pedal feel. If the pedal feels spongy or too hard, it may indicate an issue with the brake system that needs attention.

Check the calipers to ensure they are not sticking or leaking. Sticking calipers can cause uneven pad wear and reduce braking efficiency.

Inspect the brake lines and hoses for any leaks or damage. Damaged lines can lead to brake failure.

Test the parking brake to ensure it holds the vehicle effectively and releases completely.

What Happens When Brake Vacuum Pump Fails?

When the brake vacuum pump fails in a Chevy Malibu, it can lead to several issues:

Harder brake pedal: The driver will need to apply more force to the brake pedal to slow down the vehicle.

Reduced ability to brake: The overall braking capability of the vehicle is diminished, making it harder to stop.

Increased stopping distances: The vehicle may take longer to come to a complete stop, increasing the risk of accidents.

Complete brake failure: In some cases, the brakes may fail entirely, posing a significant safety risk.

Are There Any Other Recalls On A Chevy Malibu?

Yes, there have been several recalls on the Chevy Malibu over the years for various issues. Some of the recent recalls include:

  • Structure

For certain 2022-2023 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles, there was a recall due to the front impact bar not being properly welded to the front frame rail.

  • Seats

A recall was issued for the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu due to an improper weld in the driver’s seat cushion frame’s power tilt-adjustment mechanism.

  • Suspension

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu was part of a recall concerning rear toe links that received an improper amount of corrosion protection, potentially leading to fracture.

  • Seat belts

Certain 2016-2021 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles were recalled because the rear seat belt retractors may have been improperly secured with loose or missing fasteners.

How Do I Know If My Vacuum Pump Is Bad?

To determine if the vacuum pump in your Chevy Malibu is bad, you can look for several common symptoms:

Rough idle: The engine may run unevenly or stall at idle.

High idle RPM: The engine may idle at a higher RPM than normal.

Rough/Slow Acceleration: The vehicle may hesitate or accelerate slowly, especially when trying to increase speed.

Check engine light: The check engine light may illuminate the dashboard.

Misfires and backfires: The engine may misfire or backfire, indicating an issue with the air-fuel mixture.

High-pitch noise from the engine: A high-pitched noise coming from the engine bay could be a sign of a vacuum leak or pump failure.

What Can Damage A Vacuum Pump?

Several factors can damage a vacuum pump in a Chevy Malibu, leading to its failure:

Debris in Engine Oil: Debris or sludge in the engine oil can clog the oil inlet screen of the vacuum pump, restricting the flow of oil necessary for its operation.

Broken Belts: If the vacuum pump is belt-driven, broken or worn-out belts can lead to pump failure.

Electrical Issues: Electrical problems within the unit, such as faulty wiring or failed sensors, can impair the vacuum pump’s functionality.

Vacuum Hoses Failure: Vacuum hoses that are cracked, blocked, or disconnected can cause the vacuum pump to fail due to a loss of pressure.

Lack of Maintenance: Not properly maintaining the vacuum pump, including regular oil changes and inspections, can lead to premature failure.

Wear and Tear: Over time, the internal components of the vacuum pump can wear out, especially if the pump is frequently used or operates in harsh conditions.

Braking Concerns? Understanding the Chevy Malibu Vacuum Pump Recall

Can A Vacuum Pump Damage An Engine?

Yes, a vacuum pump can potentially damage an engine. If a vacuum pump fails, it can lead to several issues that may harm the engine:

  • Timing System Damage

Mechanical vacuum pumps, which are often attached to the camshaft and use motor oil for lubrication, can stiffen over time. If they lock up, they can cause significant damage to timing system components, potentially leading to major engine failure.

  • Cylinder Head Components

The vacuum pump operates constantly as long as the engine is on. Wear and tear over time can lead to failure, which may cause damage to cylinder head components.

  • Vacuum Pressure Issues

Inside most combustion engines, a sensor monitors the vacuum pressure. If the pressure is too high, it can push out a head gasket, break cylinder head hardware, or cause detonation inside the engine.

  • Faulty Vacuum Pump

A malfunctioning vacuum pump can be the root cause of a vacuum leak, which impacts engine performance. If the pump fails to create the necessary vacuum pressure, it can lead to engine performance issues.


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