What Does Engine Power Is Reduced Mean on a Chevy Malibu?

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So, you’re speeding down the road, and out of the blue, your Chevy Malibu starts slowing down. You got puzzled at the moment, but then there’s a notification on the dashboard reading, “Engine Power Is Reduced,” what does engine power is reduced mean on a Chevy Malibu, and why did you get the notification?

Well, the notification message means your car’s central computer has detected some problems with the engine or other related components and, as such, reduced the engine’s power.

This problem is common with Chevy’s Malibu models, but there are a few ways to fix it. This article explains all you should know about the “engine power reduced” notification.

What Does Engine Power Is Reduced Mean on a Chevy Malibu?

The dashboard of modern cars is more computerized than ever – pretty much details are shown there. Notifications regarding engine-related problems should be taken seriously because they could lead to costlier damages.

For Chevy Malibu sedan owners, the problem is getting the “Engine power is reduced” notification caused by a faulty accelerator pedal position sensor.

Modern car use sensors to track and relay signals to the ECU to optimize engine performance. If any of these sensors go bad, the ECU will work with wrong signals, and that can affect the engine’s performance.

Back in the case of the “engine power reduced” notification on Malibus, the cause is usually a faulty accelerator pedal position sensor.

When this notification appears, usually, your car would slow down (if you’re on top speeds), and you won’t be able to accelerate. Some Malibu owners allege that the notification when off after they turned off the car completely and turned it back on.

However, some other Malibu owners had to change the accelerator pedal position sensor to fix the issue.

What Is Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor, And What Does It Do?

Chevy Malibu accelerator pedal position sensor is a small, black sensor installed inside the accelerator/throttle pedal assembly. The function of this sensor is to monitor the position of the throttle pedal.

If the sensor detects that the accelerator pedal is out of position, it notifies the ECU/PCM, so the ECU tries to slow down the car and keep it at low speeds until the pedal is back in position. Notwithstanding, a faulty throttle sensor can send wrong info to the ECU even when the pedal is rightly in place.

What To Do When “Engine Power is Reduced” Notification Shows Up On Your Dash?

First of all, drive to the corner of the road and find a safe place to park. Turn off the car completely and wait for some minutes (up to 5 minutes), then turn the car back on and check if the notification is still showing on your Malibu’s dash. If it’s still showing up there, then it’s time to check the accelerator pedal positioning sensor.

This sensor is quite hidden in the throttle pedal assembly, so you’d need to loosen up some engine parts to get to the sensor. If this seems too complex to handle, you can call a mechanic to help fix things up for you.

But if you can do this, remove the sensor, clean it up, and re-install it. When you’re done, turn the car back on and look out for the notification.

In most cases, you may need to completely change the sensor with a new one to clear the message. But remember, the error message actually means that one or two engine components are bad; it may not be the accelerator pedal positioning sensor.

That said, after checking the sensor and it seems fine, the next is to troubleshoot (either using an OBDII scanner or calling an auto mechanic).

How To Fix “Engine Power is Reduced” Notification on a Chevy Malibu?

The common fix is to turn the car off completely and then turn it back on after some minutes. But if this doesn’t work, try this:

  • Locate the accelerator pedal positioning sensor and uninstall it
  • Examine the sensor for bodily damages (if you can find any, you need to replace the sensor, otherwise, simply clean out the dirt on the sensor).
  • Re-install the sensor and start your car to see if the notification is gone. If the notification is still showing, apparently, the problem was not with the accelerator pedal positioning sensor.
  • Now, you have to troubleshoot the engine using an auto scanner to figure out what actually went code. You’d get some codes when you troubleshoot the car, look up how to clear the codes you got, and once that is done, the notification should be off your dash.

However, when you try all these, and the error persists, you should have a professional auto mechanic check and work on the car.

Accelerator Pedal Positioning Sensor Error Codes

If your Malibu’s accelerator pedal positioning sensor is faulty when you troubleshoot the car using an auto scanner, you will get any of these DTCs:

  • P0121 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Circuit Range/Performance Problem
  • P0122 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Low Circuit Input
  • P0123 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Circuit High Input
  • P0220 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch D Circuit
  • P0221 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch D Circuit Range Performance
  • P0222 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Low Input
  • P0223 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit High Input

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Drive With Engine Power Reduced?

When the engine power is reduced notification pops up; it doesn’t stop your car; it only slows your engine. Hence, you can keep driving with the notification showing on your dash, but apparently, you can’t run at top speeds or even accelerate at all.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Engine Power Reduced?

If you’re to change the throttle/accelerator sensor, the cost is about $80 – $350 for labor and cost. You may pay above $350 in some mechanic workshops if there are other things that need to be changed or repaired.

Why Does My Chevy Say Reduced Engine Power?

The reason is simply that the ECU has received some signals from possibly faulty sensors and, as such, has reduced the flow of fuel into the engine and the fuel-air mixture ratio, so the engine runs with low fuel. The most common culprit here is the throttle/accelerator pedal position sensor.


So, what does engine power is reduced mean on a Chevy Malibu? It means the engine is not getting enough power (fuel) to function optimally as supposed.

A simple restart may fix this issue, but sometimes, you will need to replace a sensor, mainly the throttle/accelerator pedal position sensor. Inspect your car for DTCs and clear them accordingly to fix the issue.

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