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I am having the same issue. I have a 2018 Malibu LT that is having issues accelerating. It generally begins after the car warms up (roughly 10 miles). It accelerates very slowly until it hits 4000 rpms then runs fine until it shifts below 4000rpms. It hasn’t ever had a check engine light on. I have had it to the dealer after proving the issue for 5 weeks and they can not figure out the problem. I would love to know if anyone has had this issue resolved and what it was.
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

I have the same problem. Have you gotten your car fixed? MY car doesnt accelerate till 4000rpms and this happens after its warmed up all the way
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

My 2018 Malibu is having similar issues not major but similar hesitation what could it be? I’ve learned driving it in gear L6 it drives better, is it okay to consistently drive in that gear?
 

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I just purchased a 2018 Malibu LT, I too have the same problem with the turbo lag with the 1.5L 4-cyl engine. I have an appointment to have the car looked at by the dealer tomorrow, just to document that I brought it in more than anything because I don't expect them to actually fix anything. I'm in the aircraft maintenance industry and I have several coworkers who are former auto mechanics, they all say the same thing and that is this: modern autos are all restricted in their fuel and air intake and exhaust systems so as to meet CA emission standards. Most, maybe all, new cars and trucks come from the factories where they're made to comply with CA standards, whether they're to be sold there or the other 49 states. The advice my friends give me is fairly straightforward: install an aftermarket performance chip that will override the factory programming of the car in order to engage that turbo sooner and boost the pressure at the turbo when it does engage. Again, I'm no expert, but they tell me a chip will make a noticeable difference because it will override those CA emission restrictions that are programmed in by the manufacturer. I've found a $190 chip on "chipmycar.com" that I will purchase after the dealership tells me they can't fix anything. Important to note here that any kind of an aftermarket chip can void the warranty on the powertrain so that's a risk I'll assume by installing and driving with this chip. If the dealership can't improve it, then I'm going to have to do something, the car is gutless. I've also priced a K&N "cold air intake" for the car at around $350 that I'd have to install myself. The install is simple enough but it only adds 8 or so hp for $350. Not a great bang for the buck but there's only so much we can do with a 1.5L 4-cyl engine. If I manage to get that turbo lag down I'll let you know but our problem is the stock turbo's software doesn't engage until 4,000 RPM and when you're trying to merge here in DC that's too little too late. The car is dangerous in the wrong driving situations quite frankly. I'll let you know what I manage to improve, if anything. -Kyle
 

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My 2018 Malibu is having similar issues not major but similar hesitation what could it be? I’ve learned driving it in gear L6 it drives better, is it okay to consistently drive in that gear?
I'm not sure why no owners with this transmission have not responded, but the answer is that it is 100% OK to drive in L6. The Gen7 6-speed has the ability to shift manually, but it is programmed differently. When a gear is selected, it stays in that gear unless the engine speed goes too low, in which case it downshifts. But while in "M" mode it will not upshift.

The programming in the 2018 6-speed is the opposite. The gear selected is the highest gear it will shift to, but it will shift "normally" (aka, automatically) otherwise. So, if you were to put it in L3, the car would start in 1st, shift to 2nd and 3rd, and stay there until you slowed down or shifted it.

If the Gen7 (like mine) is placed in M3, it will start from a standstill in 3rd and stay in that gear. I have never tested it by starting in 3rd, so once it is going fast enough where it would normally be in 3rd gear, it might downshift to 2nd and 1st when coming to a stop, or it may stay in 3rd - I don't know and may never know. It will allow me to start in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, but not 4th, 5th, or 6th.

I just purchased a 2018 Malibu LT, I too have the same problem with the turbo lag with the 1.5L 4-cyl engine. I have an appointment to have the car looked at by the dealer tomorrow, just to document that I brought it in more than anything because I don't expect them to actually fix anything. I'm in the aircraft maintenance industry and I have several coworkers who are former auto mechanics, they all say the same thing and that is this: modern autos are all restricted in their fuel and air intake and exhaust systems so as to meet CA emission standards. Most, maybe all, new cars and trucks come from the factories where they're made to comply with CA standards, whether they're to be sold there or the other 49 states. The advice my friends give me is fairly straightforward: install an aftermarket performance chip that will override the factory programming of the car in order to engage that turbo sooner and boost the pressure at the turbo when it does engage. Again, I'm no expert, but they tell me a chip will make a noticeable difference because it will override those CA emission restrictions that are programmed in by the manufacturer. I've found a $190 chip on "chipmycar.com" that I will purchase after the dealership tells me they can't fix anything. Important to note here that any kind of an aftermarket chip can void the warranty on the powertrain so that's a risk I'll assume by installing and driving with this chip. If the dealership can't improve it, then I'm going to have to do something, the car is gutless. I've also priced a K&N "cold air intake" for the car at around $350 that I'd have to install myself. The install is simple enough but it only adds 8 or so hp for $350. Not a great bang for the buck but there's only so much we can do with a 1.5L 4-cyl engine. If I manage to get that turbo lag down I'll let you know but our problem is the stock turbo's software doesn't engage until 4,000 RPM and when you're trying to merge here in DC that's too little too late. The car is dangerous in the wrong driving situations quite frankly. I'll let you know what I manage to improve, if anything. -Kyle
Instead of buying a "performance chip", which is most likely junk, consider checking out one of our site sponsors, @WOT-Tuning. They offer a product called Trifecta that re-tunes your car without an add-on chip, and just about every member on here who has reported getting a tune from them has mentioned how much more "alive" the car feels. You can use the Advanced Search feature by hovering over "Tools", or just poke around some of the Gen8 and Gen9 forums if you wish.

"Performance chips", from what I've read on here, simply intercept one or more inputs between the engine and the computer to trick it into thinking that one or more parameters are out of spec, forcing the computer to take action, such as enriching the F/A ratio. Calling them "junk" is putting it mildly.

You may also want to pop the hood and take a look at your air intake system. The air ingested by the engine comes from outside the engine compartment, so it is a factory CAI. The only thing you may get for your money is a shiny version that may or may not make sucking in the air a little easier. You also may or may not be getting outside air, which means that the hot air from the engine will be less dense, and since you are in the aircraft maintenance industry, I'm sure you understand that without anything further needing to be said.

I would hazard a guess that if you were to put that $350 toward a cat-back system that breathes better, you'd free up some ponies. However, if it were me, I'd start with the Trifecta tune. I don't have or drive a turbo engine, but if I did, I'd have a tune on it before I did anything else!

Let us know what you find out and what you decide, please.
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

@kyle hosman Taking it to the dealer is the right course. There are maybe a half dozen owners reporting this in various 2017 and 2018 1.5T Malibus. JordanL up there has the most interesting comment in that he/she previously owned a 2016 and never did anything like what is being experienced in the 2018. That is very useful info as that owner has experienced both proper and improper behavior. I would still like to know some more information about what exactly is occurring. Most of the reports to this point are from single posters with no actual info other than vague explanation. I would like to see video or hear data such as 0-30 time, 0-60 time. For example, is the car taking 14 seconds to go 0-60 even floored? Is it taking 10? It should be about 8.5 floored or even 3/4. For reference, I added a video showing what is normal for the 1.5T - normal tach response, normal shifting points when wide open, normal sound, normal time (my stopwatch said 8.4). You can get the same result at even less throttle holding shifts 3500-4200.

The common detail of the accelerating issue seems to be no power until the engine reaches 4000 rpm. That seems to indicate a problem as the peak torque is at 2500 with >95% of torque available 2000-4000 rpm (see chart). The curve falls off rather quickly beyond 4000 rpm. Having no power until 4000 is the opposite of what should happen - the turbo pulls well before 4000. I hope the dealer is able to acknowledge and figure out the issue. Unfortunately, without CEL dealers are left basing diagnosis on TSBs and what is previously experienced. Having more details can help explain the problem to the service adviser (for example it takes 14 seconds to reach 60 mph, if that is indeed the case). I do think getting to the bottom of the issue (or maybe non-issue depending on details) is prudent before jumping to bypass chips or tunes.



 

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I also have a 2018 Malibu same issue and result from dealer they cant fix without code ! mine does it sporadically going up hills or trying to pass wont kick down will stay at around 3600 rpms and go around 61 with paddle to the floor!feels like something is holding it back then after it flattens out 1 or 2 miles down the road the turbo will kick in and it goes good ! I'm now anticipating the pass or hill and will drop it into manual and shift it down and that seems to work ! but hell I didnt buy a new car to have issue with it that cant be fixed! it will also do the same from a dead stop takes it sweet time to decide it wants to shift and go! not happy at all
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

I also have 2018 Malibu LT with around 15K got it back in AUG new; i've noticed this behavior of the car; today I took it to the dealer and no issues were found from them. Attached is what they told me. Not really sure what can be the issue; also not happy with it now :(
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

Hi guys,

I am experiencing the same problem with my LS with about 3,500 miles. Has anybody figure out was going on? I will be taking it to the dealer soon to see what they say. It is actually kind of dangerous driving like this :frown:
 

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Hi,

I purchased an 2018 LT in February this year with this same issue. Taking it to the dealership Monday afternoon. The gears seem to slip between 3rd and 4th as well. The acceleration is all over the place. Not smooth at all. Also, I’m not getting the mpg that’s listed which was one of my main reasons for trading for this vehicle. Now, I wish I never did. When it gets hung up, like you all that have had this same issue explained, it’s extremely dangerous. I’ve almost been hit several times because I commute via highway to work. When I have my 4 month old in the car I literally pray every time that nothing bad happens. Has anyone received any kind of solution or what is causing this? If the dealership says they can’t replicate this or they don’t know what’s causing this, I’m going to get a lawyer because this is clearly an extreme hazard. Especially because it’s unpredictable when it happens.
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

Hi,

I purchased an 2018 LT in February this year with this same issue. Taking it to the dealership Monday afternoon. The gears seem to slip between 3rd and 4th as well. The acceleration is all over the place. Not smooth at all. When it gets hung up, like you all that have had this same issue explained, it’s extremely dangerous. I’ve almost been hit several times because I commute via highway to work. When I have my 4 month old in the car I literally pray every time that nothing bad happens. Has anyone received any kind of solution or what is causing this? If the dealership says they can’t replicate this or they don’t know what’s causing this, I’m going to get a lawyer because this is clearly an extreme hazard. Especially because it’s unpredictable when it happens.
If the problem isn't apparent all the time, I think the best thing for you to do is to talk to your dealer about it, and see if they are willing to give you a loaner while they keep it for a few days and drive it so that they will eventually be able to see the problem first hand.
 

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This thread seems to have a highly contagious virus. There are 16 posts in this thread and 9 of them are vague single posts with zero follow-up. DrivenDaily and I make up a majority of the remaining 5 posts. Consider this a metaphorical steroid to help beat back that virus: please, if you take the time to post please followup/update.

Thank you!
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

It seems this the solution to this issue was in the following thread: 2018 Poor performance and VERY low fuel economy

Cause: Checked vehicle and has no codes but is losing power after warm up. Found 19-NA-32 for concern.
2886128 Engine Control Module Reprogramming with SPS for Knock Sensor Software

Member dale195 posted the statement above from their experience with this issue

When I take the car to the dealership Monday, I'm going to reference that thread for the tech since this dangerous issue doesn't cause a code that they can use.

Wish I knew how thank everyone in that thread, but thanks to them! So glad a solution was found.
 

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I took my car in for this issue back in December luckily the dealer was willing to keep my car and drive it for me to duplicate the problem and an engineer from GM had to come out and diagnosed it needing a new engine. They replaced the engine and I’ve not experienced the accelerating issue since.
 

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Hi guys. Making an appointment tomorrow with the dealer so that they can keep it for a couple of days. I will keep you guys updated. I feel like it’s getting worse.
 

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Re: Accelerating issues

Did anyone have an electrical burning smell after the acceleration issue? I have a 2018 Malibu that I bought exactly 45 days ago, has less than 1000 miles on it, and the first time it did - I had it towed to the dealership where they could not duplicate the issue. A week later, it did when I turned on the air conditioner. Mine is connected to the air conditioner and has a horrible electrical smell after you shut the car off. The dealer has it, and at this point, I'm asking them to provide a comparable car because I have no faith in them fixing it. They've had it for four days and still not diagnosed although they have duplicated the issue. The service tech almost got hit in an intersection because there is a 12 second delay when you press the gas before the car will actually accelerate more than about half a mile an hour. I almost got run over pulling into a highway when it did the second time.
 

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I haven’t experienced any electrical smell. That maybe be another issue. My car is in service now. Spoke with the advisor yesterday evening when I dropped it off. He said he actually had a Malibu that needed reprogramming of the ECM earlier yesterday. So that was good to hear that this particular dealership have had experience with the same issue. Unfortunately, it’s still up to GM to decide what to tell the tech how to proceed with the fix. There’s also an engine issue with the new Colorado. This will definitely be my only and last American vehicle.
 

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Hey everyone,

Same. Just got my car back and it drives and accelerates better now. Much smoother. If you all take your car in for this, be sure to explain in detail exactly what the car is doing and when it does it. They didn’t need to duplicate the issue for me. When I dropped the car off, I left them a document with all the issues (explained in detail) I was having along with the bulletin number to match. The manager called me around noon today and said that they will just do the reprogramming without duplicating unless I needed them to since the bulletin matched what I explained to them.

Hope everyone gets this issue resolved ASAP with no headache from the dealers. Thankful that my dealer was cool and reasonable about this. It seems that they are starting to know that this definitely isn’t an isolated issue anymore.
 

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