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Losing Power Steering On Inclines, 2005 Malibu Maxx

2005 Malibu Maxx, automatic transmission, well maintained mechanically. About a year ago, while driving up a small hill, my display panel starting dinging and all of the lights came on and my steering felt like it was losing power. After I got to the top of the hill, all the displays went off and bells stopped dinging. I’ve had the codes checked at the local dealership and the only thing found was that one of the battery cells was low. We replaced the battery about 3 months ago and that hasn’t stopped the battery light and bell from coming on when driving up any incline. It still feels like I’m losing steering in these instances. I also tend to accelerate when going up a hill, so I don’t know why that would be a problem. Any insight would be appreciated. A recall has been issued for my car, but I’m not sure if it has any bearing on this problem. Thanks!

ALL Malibu Maxx models from 2004 & 2005 (and some from 2006) are covered by a power steering-related recall. This recall is undoubtedly because the electric power steering on this model (and some other GM models) has been extremely unreliable since shortly after the cars were manufactured.

My advice is to NOT pay any mechanic for repairs when the recall should give you gratis repairs. Who knows…They might even give you a free loaner car!

Thanks for taking the time to email and for sending the article. I will save it for any problems that may come later. I called GM to find out when parts will be coming to my local dealership and it seems that “no one knows.” It’s amazing to me that there is no information about parts for this recall. Unbelievable! I just hope that this fix takes care of the problem.

Blame parts shortages on planned obsolescence. When that car was in the design stages before it was introduced GM (like all others) knew that any components used would have a comparatively brief production run and had no intention of stocking up on replacement parts to cover the next decade or so.

One of my sons has a late model Pontiac and in the same situation; under a Recall for intermittent power steering failure and no parts in sight yet.

I probably have the same problem, it’s described in

From there I found the fix detailed in

The fix is apparently per TSB 08-02-32-005A but I have yet to determine if it’s a warranty repair or related to the (yes we have no parts!) recall our cars are presently under.

Dear A2BobL: Thanks for your info. Most illuminating! Your description is exactly what happens to my car. Have you been in touch with GM or just the dealership? I’m just waiting to hear about a fatal accident that is caused by this problem. I don’t want to be the one in the accident! I won’t be spending any money on this. Surely there’s a way to prod them into action if this has been going on for two years!

" I won’t be spending any money on this. Surely there’s a way to prod them into action if this has been going on for two years!"

Although I advised you earlier to not lay out any money on this repair, if this is one of those “we don’t have the parts” situations that has stretched on for months or possibly years, then you just might want to have an indy mechanic repair your car, in the interests of safety.

Just be sure to save all of the paperwork connected with a privately-done repair, because you can be reimbursed by GM for those expenses. Yes, you will have to contact GM, and you may have to do a bit of pushing, but when push comes to shove, they will reimburse you.

This reimbursement is not even a new policy. Back in the early '80s, my boss was able to get compensation from GM for a privately-done transmission overhaul that was subsequently covered by an extended warranty or a recall.

Thanks VDC. If GM doesn’t have the parts, isn’t the only option I have “aftermarket” parts? If so, are they as good as parts from GM? Will GM honor a repair with those parts? I can hear it now; ma’am, you used aftermarket parts and we won’t honor that for the recall we announced even though we don’t have the parts. And, what is an “Indy” mechanic? A-a-h!

Indy=Independent. In other words…not a dealership or a chain-run operation.

Aftermarket parts can be just as good, or they can be…not so good.
Unfortunately nobody knows for sure regarding this specific part.

However, if I had to decide between safety in the near term and waiting for the “genuine article” at some point in the distant future, I would take a chance on the aftermarket parts.

I don’t believe that GM would refuse to reimburse you for the installation of aftermarket parts, but…perhaps somebody else would like to chime-in on that issue.

Check my comment on recalls in your other post about your lights. The recall is new in the last couple of months. There are enough cars involved that they have to manufacture parts after all the ones on the shelf are used. Of course, that assumes the parts on the shelf are not similarly affected. Now that you contacted GM, they should have your address and will contact you when your parts are available. Since you have the symptoms, you should ask that you be put near the front of the line. We have two Cobalts that were recalled for the ignition switch. But ours are 2009 and 2010 and were not built with the faulty ignition switch. My cars should be done after the earlier ones built with the faulty switch.