Please Help 2013 Chevy Malibu Troubleshoot stalling when idle and start issues

I need help troubleshooting my car. Any comments or suggestions that might help me are greatly appreciated. I was in a car accident in January. My car never had issues before the accident. The issues may or may not be caused by the accident. But they are intermittent. The car randomly shuts off while in idle and doesn’t always want to start up. My insurance case is going to close soon. So I need answers if I have any hope in getting the insurance to pay for it if it was caused by the accident. Thanks so much.

-car does NOT have a feature where it shuts off and powers back up when stopped at lights.

January 20 at 9:30 am car accident. Was waiting in line. Car in front of me backed into me. Instead of putting their car in drive, they put it in reverse and slammed into us.

January 27 at 8:00 am picked up car from Collision Center after repairs. Dean handled case.

March 3 at 8:30 am car shut off while I was stopped in the turning lane, a few minutes after I had dropped my son off for school. I tried to start it about 4 times, the check engine light came on and it wouldn’t start. A passerbyer stopped and asked if I needed help to push it and I said yes. He got out of his car to help push so I tried to start the car and this time it started, check engine light went off, and I drove home like normal. When I got home, I called the Collision center and asked them to look at it. They did and did not find anything wrong with it. Dean said that it must have had a little “hiccup.”

March 8 at 11:04 am, car did not want to start, check engine light came on again. I tried it about 5 times and eventually got it to start. Check engine light went off. I then went to Autozone. They did a battery and alternator test. They said I needed a new battery, so I purchased a new battery.

March 11 at 11:39 am, car did not want to start and check engine light came on. Mileage was at 94,656 . I tried it about 5 times again and eventually got it to start. Check engine light went off and I drove it home like normal. Later that same day I dropped it off at another mechanic shop

March 12 at 4:00 pm, I picked up the car. My mechanic told me that he believes it is messing up because of the car accident. He said that he is not 100% sure but he believes so because it is some sort of module. He told me that him and his mechanics drove it around for a while and it took them most of the day to finally get the codes to pop up. When the codes popped up it gave them the following codes: HE CLEARED THESE CODES.

Multi-axis acceleration sensor module (MAASM)

U0121 lost communication with electronic brake control module

Inflatable restraint sensing and diagnostic module (IRSDM)

U0170 lost communication with passenger presence module

U0140-00 lost communication with body control module

Passenger presence module (PPM)

U0151-00 lost communication with restraints control module

U0140-00 lost communication with body control module

U0155-00 lost communication with instrument panel cluster control module

Telematics communication interface control module (TCICM)

B2476 cellular phone select service switch

U0073-00 control module communication can bus 2 off

U0140-00 lost communication with body control module

U0151-00 lost communication with restraints control module

U0155-00 lost communication with instrument panel cluster control module

U0184-00 lost communication with radio

HVAC control module (HVACCM)

U0073-00 Control module communication can bus 2 off

U0197 lost communication with telephone control module

U0198-00 lost communication with telematic control module

U1510 lost communication with device on LIN bus

ECM- Normal

March 15 at 11:15 am, I dropped the car off at Collision center. Mileage was at 94,701 miles. Dean said I will have to pay $175 to run a diagnostic scan on the car. If they deem whatever is wrong with it to be caused by the accident, then Gieco will pay for the diagnostic scan and to get it fixed. If not, then I am responsible for it. Dean said they will perform the diagnostic scan tomorrow, 3/16 and let me know how it went.

March 16 at 1:09 pm I spoke with Dean asking for an update of the car. He said that they were not able to pick up any codes. But they are going to have someone drive it around and see if they can find anything. Over the phone, he told me someone has driven it 50 miles.

March 19 I picked up the car at about 4:00 pm. Mileage was at 94,719 . Dean said he thinks the aftermarket radio’s wire was the cause of it messing up. It is the wire that connects to the ECM. He unplugged the cord. He told me if it happens again to bring it back. This time, he told me they had driven it 20 miles. I paid $82.39. Dean said that he got them to go down on the price given the circumstances.

March 20 at around 2:00 pm, I drove it about 30 miles and pulled into a parking spot, and it shut off again before I could put it in park. The check engine light did not come on this time. Took it back to Collision center. When I dropped it off, it was at 94,756 miles.

March 26 at around 2:00 pm, I Picked car up at Collision center. Dean said that it was the air filter that was causing the issues. So, I purchased a new air filter and picked the car up. Mileage was at 94,777 .

April 14 at 11:00 am, car didn’t want to start. Mileage was at 94,936 . It made a cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr cr sound for a good solid 10-15 seconds before starting. As it made this sound, the check engine light was lit, while no other lights were lit. The car finally started, and the check engine light went off.

April 15 at 2:00 pm, took car to dealership. Paid for a new diagnostic. The next day they told me they drove it 33 miles and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So they said they will drive it more throughout week. I continued calling them for updates.

April 23 Picked car up. They told me they drove it over 50 miles. When I picked it up, the mileage was only 35 miles difference from when I dropped it off. So they never drove it more than what they did the first day. They said they think it could be a radio issue. I told them I don’t think so because Dean had said the same thing and I drove without the radio plugged in and it still had the same issue after radio was unplugged.

~turned off radio and unplugged it from the obdII connector outlet. ~ HAVE NOT DROVE WITH IT ON

August 25 at 8:00 am, car stalled and shut off at red light. Mileage was at 96,213 . Car started back up and drove fine. Check engine light did not go on. The radio has NOT been on at all.

After all that… you did not post question. What would you like advice on? Keep in mind, this is CarTalk, not LegalTalk.


The stalling problem may be due to a bad crankshaft position sensor.


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Wow, that’s a messy situation. I’m sorry for your troubles.

Reading through your story and details… I don’t think anyone that you’ve taken the car to has any idea what’s wrong with your car. they keep throwing parts at the problem, or just say “we couldn’t find anything wrong.” Which doesn’t help you at all.

If I were you… I’d get rid of the car. It’s not something I’d typically advise, but I understand needing to have a reliable car every day. I’d go trade it in on either a new or new to you (used) car and move on.

Good luck.


Sorry, this is my first time posting here. I’ve made a timeline for insurance purposes. I know the insurance said they could fix it if they knew what was wrong with it and if it was from the accident. I had one mechanic that got it to pull codes but he cleared them. I haven’t been able to get codes out of it since. I don’t know what else to check or do. I’m just at wits end with this car. I don’t know what could be wrong with it. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. thank you

Thanks, I’m definitely thinking about trading it. It’s been really stressful. I’m just really at wits end with it. I don’t know where to even start. If I take it to another mechanic it seems like they won’t be able to give me an answer and i’d just be wasting money on a diagnostic again.

thanks so much. I will look into it.

@User2468 we all can see all of your replies, just for future reference.

Based on the error codes, I’d say many of them may have been set if the ignition was turned on with parts of the wiring harness disconnected. That said, the mechanic should not have cleared the code history as that erased anybody elses ability to read them.

That said, a crankshaft positon sensor would cause the car to stall and intermittant restart and may have nothing to do with the accident.


Thank you so much. I am going to try that when I get home. I was pretty irritated when the one mechanic said he cleared the codes. Like I don’t understand why he did. He was telling me that he thinks I would need a module and for that module is $1400 with labor. He said if it gets hit or bumped in an accident, it can mess up that module. I’ve been looking online for other cars and they’re so expensive right now for used cars. I’d really rather just fix this one than have to finance another one and go through all that hassle. My malibu is paid off. I also watched some youtube videos about the crankshaft position sensor and noticed my car does a lot of the same symptoms they mentioned.

as an FYI, whenever you turn the key on to start your car, teh Check Engine light will be on. This does not immediately mean there is a problem. If there is, the light will usually go off, and then come on and stay on.
Also, many of the codes you posted likely will not keep the check engine light on. and along those lines, a crankshaft position sensor will not always throw a code, even though it probably should.

Am I correct in reading that you haven’t had the radio hooked up since April and have had no stalling/restart issues until the one on August 25? if so, that’s a mighty long time for no issues, and would really get me looking at the way the radio is wired up. Perhaps the Aug 25th issue is a new issue, and the radio not being on/hooked up took care of the other issue.

You’re correct. I haven’t had the radio plugged in or turned on at all since April. But I haven’t driven it much much since April up until recently. I don’t work, I am a full time student taking online classes. I just started back driving it to take my son back and fourth to school. I enrolled him in online school toward the end of the school year in April because I couldn’t figure out whats wrong with my car and I had a lot of injuries from the car accident. I had a tbi, and herniated discs in neck and back.

It has had issues starting sometimes that I didn’t document. Where it has had a little rough start. Also, it does sometimes stall a little while driving where you can feel it jerk a little.

A crank sensor is still a good possibility, but with this new info it could point to a fuel delivery problem. Either fuel filter or other restrictions or a sporadic fuel pump failure. If it stalls on you again, take your time and turn the key off. Then turn it to the on position (not start position), turn key off then on again. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Then try starting. If it starts then you probably have a fuel delivery problem. If this is a push button start, I don’t know how to pressurize the fuel system, but if it’s a key, then this test will work.

Engine Misfires

Lack of proper spark timing can cause a different problem: one or more of the cylinders may misfire. That is to say combustion may be disrupted. You will feel, and maybe hear, this as a brief stutter in the engine.


I originally thought it had something to do with the fuel, maybe fuel pump or something. I had asked the mechanics to check that and asked if it could have something to do with it and they both said no, they don’t think so. But the collision center mechanic said it sputters underload, and said something about it doing it when you turn. Because every time it has shut off while idle, it has been after a turn, at a light or turning into a parking spot.

What they all have in common, is telling me to basically keep driving it until a code comes up because it could be a ton of different things.
I will try to test the crank sensor when I get home though. I have a scanner tool thing at the house. I’m not home right now.

Check Engine Light

A failing or failed crankshaft position sensor may cause the check engine light on your dashboard to come on. A diagnostic scan tool will show a code between P0335 and P0338. The check engine light doesn’t always come on, though, so you could be experiencing any of the above symptoms for some time before you see the warning light.


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The best way to test a crankshaft sensor is when the system is not starting, and every time I’ve tried to do this, the sensor started working again before I could find anything.
There aren’t many times I suggest to just toss a part at it, but this is one that I would (and have done myself in the past,) with success.
It may not be your answer, but a new part would go a long way in ruling it out.

It could be the crank sensor as mentioned above. If this were my car however I’d first want to get to the bottom of what’s causing those buss problems. You car has a number of small computers, all of which are connected to each other by buss system. This means there are wires (i.e. buss) that go between them. Instead of each computer connected to each other by a separate bus, which would be too many wires to deal with, usually the computer buss is arranged in a loop or several loops. So if computer 1 wants to talk to computer 5, it sends the message to computer 2, who relays it to computer 3 … until it reaches computer 5.

You can probably see the problem at this point: If there’s a break anywhere in the buss loop(s) the computers are unable to “speak” to each other. And the car won’t work properly. The reason the radio is mentioned by your shop is b/c the radio is often one of the component on the loop. And if it fails … well you get the idea. A faulty radio can disable the car. Hard to believe, but that’s the way it is now

IMO the best path forward is to find a shop with expertise in this sort of problem. The problem is likely simple to solve once the place the loop is being broken is found. You need to find a shop with this sort of expertise. It’s likely going to take specialized equipment. A Chevy Dealership shop would have it, as well would the other better inde shops in your area. Until this buss problem is solved I’m afraid you’ll wind up chasing your own tail if your shop uses parts swapping methodology. Focus on getting the correct diagnosis.

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My vote is with those saying “get rid of it”. It’s old, with lots of mileage and multiple electrical problems. Yeah, you’ll have a car payment, but so what? Most people do.

I still have this car. Lol it almost shut off again like a week ago. I figured out that it’s mostly only shutting off in the mornings. When it almost shut off on me recently, I started to feel it vibrate a little so I knew it was about to shut off. It kinda sputters like. But I started to just inch up little by little to get it to stop vibrating and prevent it from shutting off. It worked, it didn’t shut off. Do you think that could be the idle air control valve? Or the crankshaft position sensor?

There’s no IAC valve.’

Have you tried cleaning the electronic throttle body?