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Chevy’s New 1.5L Engines Are Melting Themselves

Buying a car with a new family of engines is always a risk. New engine designs are tested rigorously before being released but, nothing compares to real world use. Car companies are much better at designing durable engines; however, the demand for performance and fuel economy is higher than ever pushing companies to build engines that may be compromised.

When Chevy replaced the old 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder in the base Malibu with the new 1.5L EcoTec turbo it promised to modernize the drivetrain of the Malibu. The new smaller turbo engine offers better fuel economy and more usable torque while being able to fit in the Malibu and Cruze making it a worthy investment for GM. Building a tiny engine like this to motivated an entire midsized sedan is no easy task and GM spent a lot of time trying to get this engine right. Unfortunately, some customers are experiencing serious issues with these engines.

The new 1.5L turbo engines are melting their pistons deeming them inoperable.  The last thing you want from a new car is an engine that melts itself but some Chevy customers who drive the new Malibu and Cruze are experiencing just that. The 1.5L will turn itself into an even more economical three-cylinder giving you a rough ride, insane blow by, and a bad headache.  It will take some time for GM to perfect the 1.5L but for the mean time, I would stay away from an engine that will deem your new car inoperable.

Written by Chris Okula - Contributor

Chris was raised on Top Gear and automotive magazines, which still

dominate most of his free time today (he is not a fan of the new

TopGear). After he graduated from Desales University, Chris started his career in the pharmaceutical industry, but missed writing which lead him to the creation of his own automotive blog. This blog lead him to work with Road & Track and now as a contributor here at Shifting Lanes. In his free time, Chris is constantly on the popular automotive auction site, Bring a Trailer, as well as Craigslist looking for ways to destroy his savings account and skip student loan payments.


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  1. Subaru had a similar problem in their EJ255 engine, which is the turbocharged engine found in the 2006 WRX and Outback, among others. The piston would crack between the rings.

    I know this because I have a 2006 Subaru Outback XT out in my garage that I have to pull the engine out to replace the pistons. It’s only run properly for 2 months since I bought it in July 2015.

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