Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Shuddering Engine While Idling

Today my Chevy Malibu’s engine shuddered when it turned on, and then shuddered to a complete stop. It makes this noise while idle, and it hesitated a bit when changing gears (it’s an automatic though). I think it might be the spark plugs but I have no idea. Any help or opinions would be appreciated.

What year Malibu?


2011 Chevy Malibu

Have someone who knows what they’re doing clean the electronic throttle body.


engine oil level correct?

coolant level correct?

check engine light on and/or flashing at idle . . . ?!

1 Like

Engine oil was low, I filled it up but still same issue. Coolant level is correct and check engine light is on, not flashing, at idle. Thanks.

How low was the oil?

It was almost empty.

If that’s true, then you probably have some expensive engine damage, unfortunately.

I topped the oil off a few months ago, so would it still have major problems if it hasn’t been completely full for an extended time period?

“Almost empty” would be 4 quarts low. The engine oil dipstick only reaches the top 1 1/2 quarts, when the oil level is at the add mark, the engine is 1 quart low.

I did not know that. The oil level was just below the low mark when I filled it today

Don’t worry about engine damage, the engine wasn’t critically low on oil.


Oil should be checked and topped up if necessary weekly.

You can fix that… read your owners manual.

It explains how to check your oil and how often. It explains a whole lot of other things as well. It won’t tell you how to fix this shudder but it does explain what you should do when the check engine light comes on, or flashes, or the red oil warning light comes on.

If you don’t have one in your glove-box… here is a PDF copy

1 Like


Until the OP can get a handle on the rate of oil consumption, he needs to check the dipstick at least once a week. The oil should be replenished as soon as it is 1/2 qt low.

The shuddering could be caused by a number of things. It would be most helpful if you had the engine codes read at a parts store and post them here. And tell us how many miles are on it and how you’ve kept up on vehicle maintenance.

1 Like