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2008 Chevrolet Malibu - Smoke and other issues

I have a 08 Chevy Malibu LTZ and have owed this car for almost 5 years. Was driving about a week ago and first noticed the back-up camera not working then noticed an electrical burning smell with smoke coming from under the hood on the passenger side… made it home and parked. Didn’t try starting for a week but when I did it was dead like the battery was drained( fairly new battery) jumping it I noticed it started to smoke (electrical smell again) and did a lot of clicking… what could this be. Want to get this fixed asap but want to take it in knowing what to tell them

Why? You are not a mechanic nor an auto-electrician. You are not expected to know what the problem is. That is why you take it to a pro when these things occur. Trying to BS the mechanic into thinking you know what the problem is, won’t help them find the problem and may very well cost you more money in the long run. Just tell them what you posted here, you will be far more happy with the results. Actually, tell them MORE than you told us!

But take it to a quality, independent repair shop, not a chain. You will get better work.

Mustang is correct as usual but I will add , have this thing towed to the shop because a car fire is something you don’t need.


My reason for asking is I like to be in the know. My Dad was a mechanic RIP so as a kid I loved watching the repair on cars and just knowing what to look for when problems arise NEVER to bs anyone if anything I could get bsed around cause they think you don’t know anything. I’m a woman that wears lots of hat and is not scared to get my hands dirty and have also done my own repairs on my cars so the question was just to get some light on what’s happening

Knowing what type of failure you are experiencing will give you an idea what kind of “expert” you need.

The alternator has failed, is burning up, that is a routine repair for the average repair shop. It is very unlikely to catch fire.

You could do a little investigating: be ready to remove the cable from the negative post of the battery quickly. Start it and try to see where the smoke is coming from, and where the clicking sound is coming from. The risks are you could do more damage, or be injured. The reward would be in having a better idea of what’s wrong.

Good luck and please keep us informed.

Thanks so much… I do plan on taking the battery out and have it tested to start with

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If you recharge the battery it will only discharge again. The smoke wasn’t from the battery, it was from the alternator. This car will need to be towed to a shop.

No one is questioning your ability . What they are saying is that telling a mechanic what to do could lead to wrong repair or parts that you will still have to pay for. Frankly testing the battery is a waste of time until the shorted connection or part is fixed . Without seeing where the smoke is coming from it is impossible to say over the web what it is.

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That is great!

My response was because many posters are afraid if they don’t seem “knowledgeable,” mechanics will take advantage of their ignorance rip them off. That is an old meme that was never really true. I think it came about as one of those “old dad’s tales.”

I agree… basically where I’m trying to get to here is to research issues and cost. Just don’t want to go in totally blind. Thanks everyone for your advice

Thank you so much… I was thinking the alternator but had never experienced it smoking before. I will definitely get it towed even if it starts I’d be doubtful to drive it

Thanks again

Thanks I have contacted a shop and will update my finding as it may help someone else

Appreciate your time and info