2001 Chevy Malibu ESC Code

Have a 2011 Chevy Malibu my wife was telling me the code ESC came up. What does this code mean?

Answer: ESC stand for Electronic Spark Control. Basically this is the system that control spark knock due to pre-ignition detonation. This is sound older cars used to make when the ignition. timing was too far advanced or the wrong octane fuel was used for the particular vehicle. Spark knock is really not a problem any more with electronic fuel and ignition systems. Read more about ESC here.

It sounds like your Malibu may just have a bad knock sensor. The location of the sensor depends on what size engine you have in the car. It is on the side of the engine block. Sometimes it is just in a blind hole, other times it is screwed into a water jacket in the engine block, so removing it will cause all of the engine coolant to come pouring out.

If the engine seems to run alright, then this is not a serious concern that needs to be fixed right away. Although, Your car will not pass an emissions test if one is required in your area.


Malibu ESC Light On

Question: my car has esc service traction esc off. it doesn't come on every time but quite often. I bought a repair manual at VIP auto and still can't find the info. I have a 2009 Malibu LTZ

Answer: On the 2009 Chevy Malibu the ESC means something different than on the older cars. Your problem is in the ABS and traction control system. A common problem is a faulty front wheel speed sensor of the wiring to one of t6he front sensors. Without a scanner to see the computer codes, we would just be guessing at exactly where t5he problem is.


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