2008 Malibu

I have a 2008 Chevy Malibu. Lately when the engine is cold I will get to the end of the street and when I apply the brakes the car will make a clunking noise and a couple of times it has actually died and I have to restart the car. I only experience this the first thing in the morning, after that the car seems fine. I cannot tell if it is the brakes causing the problem or the transmission. Please help!

Have you checked the transmission fluid? Make sure you do it the way it says in the manual. Cold car = lowest trans fluid level. You can have problems related to fluid level that only show when cold - until you lose enough that it shows up no matter what.

Is it one clunk or a series of clunks? describe better. Other than the clunking noise & occasional stall what else do you have? Does the car jolt? Shudder before dying or immediate shut down?

What speeds & transmission gear do you end up hitting on this street? Do you get fully up through all the gears & hit a cruising speed? Or is it more of something like a short & low speed street?

I have not checked the transmission fluid recently. I normally get all the fluids checked when I have the oil change, however this last time my son only had them change the oil and not check all the fluids much to my chigrin. It is only one clunk and I do not have any other times that it will stall on me only seems to be at that time. The car does jolt and shudders before it shuts down. The engine has only shut off twice but the clunk seems to occur regularly. I don’t usually hit a crusing speed…short & low speed mostly…hope that helps

What can you tell us specifically about this car’s maintenance over the past 3 years?

I have regular oil changes (about 5000 miles)…I have had to replace the front and back brakes (lived in Pittsburgh)…last year I had to have the stabilizing bar (I think that was what it was) replaced ($300) and I had the transmission fluid flushed at the 50000 mile marker as suggested by several mechanics (they told me it was recommended for all cars)…other than that it has been a good car…no real issues until this and I just do not want to find something that will cost me an arm and a leg to replace if it is something small now…

I don’t like the word “Flush” It is generally better to replace the fluid. However I would not suggest you need to do anything right now, just try to remember in the future if someone wants to “flush” the transmission and it is not listed as maintenance in the owner’s manual, likely it should only be replaced.

That said I am not suggesting any problems you have had were caused by the Flush.

A flush is IMO more an attempt to sell a service that is seldom needed and when a drain and refill is likely to be preferred.

BTW congratulates on taking care of your car and servicing it before it is to late to help.

Good Luck