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Chevrolet Sonic Transmission & Steering Problems On The Rise

October 16, 2012 By: LemonLaw Category: alignment, chevrolet, transmission

We have previously discussed the starting problems experienced by Chevrolet Sonic drivers, however that is not the only problem Sonic drivers are experiencing. We are getting a number of calls to the 1800 LEMON LAW hotline from Sonic drivers and although the defects and complaints vary, we notice a strong pattern from clients complaining of major Chevrolet Sonic transmission shifting issues, as well as instability and swaying on the highway. Both of these conditions present major safety hazards and we don’t think GM has a fix at this time.

One of our recent Sonic clients just purchased her car seven months ago. The car was already returned for three ineffective repairs for severe transmission issues as well as four times for bad swaying and instability on the highway.

To repair the Chevrolet Sonic transmission issue, first the GM Dealership tried to blame slightly over-filled fluid which is drained and refilled (not the cause). Next the dealer performed  a PCM (power control module) shift adapt relearn (not the cause). Next, once the dealer and GM realized they couldn’t fix the issue, they declared the shifting “normal.”

For the instability and swaying on the highway, the Chevrolet Dealership first removed a belly pan to evaluate for wobble but failed to indicate its findings or repairs made. Next, the dealership service manager compared the Sonic to another identical one and determined our client’s feels “loose.” The client returned for another visit and steering stabilizer links were replaced along with upper strut mounts and a strut. When this doesn’t fix the issue, a fourth repair visit for instability on the highway was scheduled and now GM declares the very condition its own dealer finds as “loose” on the highway as “normal.”

Sadly, the Sonic claims continue to mount and it does not appear that General Motors has any idea on how to address the transmission or steering problems.  If your Chevrolet Sonic has been in the shop either repeatedly or for an extended period of time, it’s important you look into your Lemon Law rights.  Feel free to fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form so we can assess the situation and figure out if and how we can help.

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91 Responses to “Chevrolet Sonic Transmission & Steering Problems On The Rise”

  1. #1 debbie s says:

    i am having the same problem with my vehicle swaying on the highway gm is trying to help me. my vehicle is unsafe i am terrified to go on the highway with my car.the dealer where i purchased the car are horrible will not address my issue at all .i have filed complaints with all goverment agencies

  2. #2 Kent says:

    Sonic hatchback LT 2012, 6 sp auto transmission slipping bad between 2nd and 3rd when warmed up. Mechanic said there is no solution to problem but would check transmission fluid for being burnt and reset module. He also said I had a 5 yr 100000 mi warranty on the transmission. So if something happens it will be taken care of. It is frustrating driving this car this way.. What is chevy going to do about it?

  3. #3 LemonLaw says:

    Kent: It is an uphill battle but you must keep taking the car back. Even if they cannot fix it, if you can prove the issue is occurring you may have a strong claim.

  4. #4 debbie s says:

    i got sick of this piece of junk car and traded it in i hope the new owner is safe

  5. #5 Chris S. says:

    I’ve been having transmission hessitation problems a few months after I purchased my sonic and I’ve repeatedly taken it in for service, only to have the service manager say that there aren’t any “codes” and they can’t “duplicate” the problem… EVERY… TIME… I… TAKE… IT… IN!! It’s been a very frustrating battle that has now urged me to take it up with Lemon Law Lawyers. Now I have to “prove” that there IS in fact an issue with the transmission hessitation in shifting, which makes this issue even more stressful. I’ve only just recently been able to get some comparison photos of the RPMs revving when trying to shift and RPMs at normal opperation… But I am still about ready to just throw this car off a cliff and leave it there to burn. I have never had any issues with any other vehicle I’ve had, not even my 1996 Ford Explorer gives me as much grief as this BRAND-NEW car does!!!

  6. #6 LemonLaw says:

    Chris: I would look into filing a claim. Visit to find a lemon law lawyer in your state.

  7. #7 Bob says:

    Had transmission problems on my 2012 Sonic just two days ago. Dealership just called to tell me that my transmission reservoir was a quart low on fluid, yet there was no leak. Whatever. Three recalls in one year, and now the transmission screw-up … time to start shopping, I’m thinkin’.

  8. #8 Claudia Sanchez says:

    I just took my 2013 Sonic to the dealer today because of the shifting on the transmission, but they called the issue¨Normal¨, now I don´t know what I can do… there is only 2500 miles on it!!!!

  9. #9 Chris says:

    Same issue, unstability at 100-120km/h
    Shifting is extremely strange and uncomfortable, slow reaction with the gas pedal, always seems to be when u need it most,
    Gm should send everyone black cruze’s with tinted windows,

  10. #10 Roland says:

    My Chevy sonic 2012 started off nice, little rough with shifting gears. I’ve taken the car into chevy 5 times, 3 for the nock sensor problems, 1 for the heat regulator failure, and just today for a unknown reason at the moment. Before I turned in the car the last time, I tried accelerating after sitting at a red light and the car didnt move, after stalling for a few seconds it moved super low then jerked hard and sped up as if I have my food heavily on the gas. Every time I talk about these problems they said it was normal. I had the transmission check the first time I took it in for the engine light and they said stated that the transmission problems was a cause of the engine light being on, that it was normal. I am super unpleased with this car. Dont get it!

  11. #11 visente olvera says:

    I just purchased a sonic 2013 a month ago, i have taken it 3timesback to the dealer, now, it just turned on the temperature light, is there more problems with this car that i should be worried about it, they told me before i can exchanged i need to male at least 3 bill payments, but what if there is something else with my car, what can i do? Please answer my email… Thanks

  12. #12 LemonLaw says:

    @Visente: I have NEVER heard of a dealer telling you that you must make three payments before they fix your car. It’s time to talk to a lemon law lawyer. Click here to find one in your state.

  13. #13 Max says:

    That’s why you should always test drive the vehicle. I purchase my sonic lt 2013 on Jan of this year and my only problem its given me is the tire pressure

  14. #14 Bob says:

    I posted above (in April) with transmission trouble. Had it again – my car was in the shop three times in a two-week period … and they just couldn’t seem to fix it. Finally ditched the car yesterday, and opted for a new car (different dealer, different make, etc.). A friend asked me if I was sad to see the Sonic go: not a fraction of a chance. The thing was a piece of crap … period.

  15. #15 steve says:

    It would be helpful to know what size tires are on the Sonics with the highway wander issue. It’s possible that 16 inch tires won’t have the issue but the 15s do.

  16. #16 Dino Munoz says:

    I have had my car for a year now and the following items are still an issue and the similar responses as noted in this blog are what I am receiving from the dealership (shocking) as well:
    – Rough idle and acceleration hesitation.
    > The car idles rough and rougher when in gear and stopped.
    > Acceleration hesitation has caused me to almost get T-Boned twice.
    – Very rough and abrupt shifting on occasion as well as slipping.
    – Gas mileage is approximately 5 or more miles off from what the gauges are showing. I am on average between 28 – 32 mpg. Gauge continues to show 35 mpg.
    – Noise coming from the rear passenger wheel. Havent documented that with the dealership yet, as I am more concerned about the rough idle and the acceleration issues.
    Very unhappy with the car at this point and would just like to see a class action suit happen.

  17. #17 LemonLaw says:

    @Dino: A class action suit will not help you as much as an individual lemon law claim could. Please fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form at and we will be glad to evaluate your situation at no cost.

  18. #18 SHARKY408 says:

    I just purchase a SONIC LTZ & it’s been great actually no worries till today the only two things is the tire problem. I have taking the tires to get check 3 time & the tell me there’s no air leak. the other little worry I have is the shifting gears. I do not like the GM tranni-gears at all, feels like it’s skipping gears, but I did my research & GM transmissions are made that way, that to me it doesn’t make sense. Rather than that I LOVE THE CAR RUNNS SMOOTH & LOOKS GREAT INSIDE & OUTSIDE.

  19. #19 Al Marino says:

    I have a 2013 sonic rs with the automatic. I experienced alittle swaying issue on the hyw once. Soon after my tps light went on. I did a visual of the wheels, then checked the pressures- they were at 35 psi. I usually run 40 in all the tires. When I did that, problem solved. I experience the tranny shifting erratic every now and then, but that’s when the car isn’t fully warmed up. It like hangs btw gears or something then it don’t do it for the rest of the drive. And my turbo psi only goes to 14, but being I have a bullydog programmer hooked up to it (40415), the little car is much livelier. Especially when I put the k&n airfilter in. Those 40 extra ponies wake it up. I think it’s a decent little car for commuting. And I wish it didn’t run so hot.

  20. #20 Dino Munoz says:

    Got my 2012 Sonic Turbo back from the dealership after being at the shop for 2 weeks. They replaced the 1,2,3,4 gearing (so they said) and it now seems to shift better…both in manual and in auto.

    However, sitting at a stop with the car in gear, the vehicle after having warmed up for a few minutes, acts like it wants to go, a thrusting forward while the brake is applied and the car is in gear.

    I have a call in to the dealership to take it back again. This is extremely frustrating, I bought the car for the gas mileage and lack of hassle to get it repaired constantly, like I do with my 1990 Toyota 4×4. Little did I know that my new car would be in the shop more than my Toyota truck.

    I am in the midst of a suit with GM over this and after it is settled, will take the Sonic in to a dealership for trade in. I am done with this piece.

    I will never buy another Chevy. No wonder so many people buy Imports.

  21. #21 David says:

    I have a lot of the same issues. We just bought a 2013 Sonic LT with turbo and we are having a transmission issues. After getting up to speed and u let off gas car seems to downshift or slip slightly. Dealership says the is normal per manufacture. They showed me a bulletin that says it is normal no issues with transmission. We have taken it twice to dealer in the week since buying it. We had 3 different people from dealership in it seen same problem with them but still say it is normal. I am waiting on dealership again. Car only has 570 miles on it. Not sure what to do. Will be back at dealership tomorrow I guess

  22. #22 LemonLaw says:

    @David: It’s time to look into your rights. Visit to find a lemon law lawyer in your state who can help.

  23. #23 Bob says:

    @ David: sorry to hear you’re having trouble. As I read your post I was reliving the nightmare of a time I had with the same exact trouble with my Sonic. I don’t miss that car at all. Definitely get in touch with a lemon law lawyer.

  24. #24 Dino Munoz says:

    After taking my car back into the dealer for repairs on the lunging forward issue, they deemed the car operating to spec. They stated that they drove 2 other Sonics and they did the same thing.

    I asked the Service Manager at the Harnish dealer in Puyallup, if they are telling me that this is a design feature?…Since the other Sonics are doing the same.

    He simply replied, its to spec. GM should man up and fix the issue with a recall, rather than skirt the issue with LIES!

    I believe the issue to still be transmission related.

    Take the car back as often as you can and get everything the service associate or anyone else at the dealership says, on the service record. Do not leave until it is 100% accurate and addressing every issue you went in for. Keep copies of all information gathered.

    @ David and all others…I feel your pain.

  25. #25 Dino Munoz says:

    Side note I left out in the previous post:
    – The service associate and the service manager both experienced the issue I described and the technician “did not”.

    That information is on my service record, but wasn’t when I went to pick up the vehicle.

  26. #26 Michael Gee says:

    Currently have the 2012 LTZ 5 Door Hatchback. Overall I am pleased with the car, however I do have concerns about the intermittent throttle engine delayed reaction as far as starting out/takeoff from a stop is concerned, I never know when its going to happen. Sometimes when sitting at a stop the engine begins to run rough like it has lost a cylinder and again you never know why or when its going to happen. I have no handling problems what so ever. I drive it around 70 miles a day and most always drive between 60 – 80 MPH on the interstate, but when on our country curvy roads I am fairly aggressive and the car handles fine. The left or right rear wheels will if driven hard enough come off the ground in aggressive turning and if your throttling in properly and the engine performs as it should you can power the tail end back down. I converted all tires to Nitrogen at 37#’s and rotate at every 7000 mile oil change. Oil used is Mobil Synthetic 5-30 Extended wear coupled with a can of BG MOA, as soon as it is out of Factory Warranty I plan on doing a complete Trans circulation flush with new fluid being BG Synthetic Trans fluid to see if that will cure the lazy shifting when not at full operating temperature. The only time I have any shifting issues is when it is not at full operating temperature so I have learned to remote start and let it run for at least 10 minutes before engaging full operation. My BMW Z4 is the exact same way. I have a full 5 year 100K warranty so I am not to worried about it, but it is still irritating to never know when it may fail you performance wise.
    If the trans circulation flush does cure some of its ills I will report back with the results.

  27. #27 Chevy Debuting Two New Flavors of Sonic in LA says:

    […] Mode for the sutomatics in all their cars which would get rid of the problem once and for all.…sion-problems/ Reply   Reply With […]

  28. #28 Lee Watkins says:

    Hi I have a 2013 Chevy sonic which I bought brand new in November of this year and I also am experience transmission and steering problems I have an appointment next week with the dealership on these issues and I’ll keep you informed how it turns out

  29. #29 Shauna says:

    A month after I bought the car I felt something was wrong with how it drove. I called to schedule a appt. and had them look at it. They told me it was normal just how it shifted. So I went on my way but not really happy with the answer. As I went on the problem became worse, the whole car would jerk violently for a minute as I was driving. I took it back numerous times and every time they would tell me we cannot find anything wrong. I even had the manager drive with me and still he said nothing wrong. the final time was when my reverse went out completely. kids in the car heading home from the park. I was pissed. brought it in and oh there it was they had to order me a whole new transmission from GM factory. A week later I got my car and it drove better. The real crappy part it my husband and I bought the same type of cars and now his is starting the same thing. What a bad purchase for us it was our 1st new cars.

  30. #30 Buck says:

    I recently started experiencing slippage between 2nd & 3rd and was getting concerned, called the dealer, was told no issues had been reported and it was nothing to worry about. I wasn’t comfortable with that answer, so I took my 2012 Sonic LTZ (auto) to my independent Goodyear dealer and had them do a BG full 16 quart circulation with cleaners and finished it off with the addition of conditioners. I was present at the machine doing the circulation and was astounded that at 31000 miles my Trans fluid was black as night in other words, burnt to a crisp!! My dealer had told me the trans didn’t need a flush until 50K-60K and that is the wrong answer. Turns out these transmissions seem to be following a European design and have a tendency to run very hot which in turn burns the trans fluid up and it quits functioning as intended. Upon completion of the Trans circulation BG flush we took it for a test drive and talk about a difference, no slippage experience, not even a hint of slippage and there seemed to be a more solid launch as well. I thought I might of been playing mind games with myself so I have waited 3 weeks before reporting this on the Lemon Law site, and there is still NO hesitation or slippage with the transmission between any gear.
    I look forward to your comments and experiences.

  31. #31 BILL K says:

    I purchased a 2013 chevy sonic in July of this year the transmission shifts hard and overrevs. Also a problem with the front end the car drifts to the left have had 4 alignments done on it theres only 7200 miles on it. Each time it has been way out of alignment, they put new bolts in the front end didnt correct problem. The dealership and GM say it is in specs theres nothing they can do about it, it needs another alignment now the tires are wearing. They say the transmission is normal.

  32. #32 amanda says:

    I have a 2012 Chevy sonic that has been back to the dealer 3 times for recalls and 3 or 4 times for issues. After having it towed in (only had it 8 months)because it would not start. They replaced the anti theft sensor. It is at the dealers now because it does not want to start again but now the check engine light is on and the gear shift was making a clicking noise ‚ when I stopped at a stop sign it didn’t want to go.and the D (d for drive) blinks on and off. Don’t know what is going on with it now but getting real tired of this. I should never have brought this car.

  33. #33 LemonLaw says:

    @Amanda: It is time to look into your lemon law rights. Please visit to fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form so we can assess your situaiton and if/how we can help.

  34. #34 D_Rood says:

    My sonic got stuck in third gear on Thursday took it to the dealer because they told me to get it there ASAP and all they know it the transmission is acting up not what is causing and how to fix it…

  35. #35 D_Rood says:

    It’s a 2012 had is since August of 2012 work fine till then…

  36. #36 Jaime says:

    I purchased a Chevy Sonis 20122 years ago in February. Drove the car for maybe a month but then was using another vehicle and didnt start driving it until september of this year.The car was well maintained and driven at least once a week to ensure nothing would happen. Now when I finally need to drive it again I have gone through hell and back. The car needed inspected in October. I took the car in at this time the check engine light had come on. They told me the gas cap was loose(i paid for a new one) and that my tires and wiper blades needed replaced. After finishing this the dealership instructed me that before putting new stickers on my car I had to drive it for 100 miles. So in my attempt to do so, the light came back on and I lost all heat in my car.. I had to take my car back 6 TIMES for the same continuing check engine light and heat problems. They replaced the gas lines, the wiper blades,the thermostat, the coolant and the gas cap 3 times!!!!!SO I caused a scene at the dealership, made the manager come out… and wouldn’t ya know, they felt at that time my car “qualified” for inspection. The car began lurching forwarding and stalling while driving after the stickers were on. I called the dealership and took it back in for the 7TH TIME. I paid over a $220.00 for $20/day insurance on a rental in total of how many rental cars I had to have (4 total) I received my car back. The dealership informed me that I must have been over filling the gas tank, which caused the engine light to come on, and that the stalling and lurching was just part of the transmission and the way the engine is built. I was assured by them that I wouldn’t have another problem…. now the check engine light is on for the 8TH TIME. I just sent the dealership (North Star Chevrolet. Robinson,PA) a very unpleasant email and called again to talk to a technician. This car is an absolute PIECE OF SHIT! but Im at least glad to know Im not alone.

  37. #37 Jenn says:

    I also have a 2012 Chevy Sonic.overall I am happy with my car. I have noticed it idling rough from time to time. I figure it needs a tune up. The bad thing is I have also had issues with the steering on the highway, but it only happens when it is windy. If anyone has any thoughts on that I would love to hear them. I am going to call the nearest Chevy dealership tomorrow.

  38. #38 TAMMY LEWIS says:


  39. #39 Willy says:

    2013 Chevy Sonic, while the car is in park and I step on the brake you can hear a noise and feel a thud in the shifter!

  40. #40 Wes says:

    The steering problem I found in my sonic is the power steering shaft because it is electronic I am told it needs to be re-calibrated and to do so that it’s all electronic so it’s not like it is an easy plug in and go. So basically I’m driving around with little to no return power steering and causes my hands to be raw and long trips to be a long hassle. Already replaced lower control arm on drivers side which I may add was cheap but to fix the big problem would be at what cost? This is a shame .

  41. #41 Nicole says:

    I have a slightly different issue with my 2013 Sonic LT Turbo (1.4L). I purchased it in 9/2012 and I have 28,012 miles on it. We drove it for over 12 hours straight I haven’t discovered any of the other issues addressed.
    I have taken it in repeatedly (4th or 5th time now) for having a vibration at the idle while in drive that disappears in neutral or park. Seems like the service techs only test what items I suggest rather than trying to fix the problem directly (ie – figure it out). I keep being told the transmission is fine and they cannot recreate the vibration I have EVERY DAY and almost every stoplight. Now I have it in for parts hanging down from the under-carriage, overheating to the point that the indicator came on with a massive beeping noise (in 55 degree weather, rain & 45mph minimum speeds) along with my always present idle issue.

    Anyone else have any of these problems?

  42. #42 Nicole says:

    regarding the lunging on the sonic. I have this problem too, most commonly shows as a vibration at the idle but if my foot isn’t on the brake enough it does “lunge”. Did they fix this? I’m also thinking about trading it once I get it back if it is still doing this problem, especially with my warrenty less than 2k miles from expiring (30k miles) and this never having been fixed from the day I bought it. So frustrating when the tech only check the transmission when I say maybe its in the transmission since its only at that time. Now after talking to people, could be the oxy sensor. Shouldn’t a trained mechanic know to check this too??? It’s always “per specs” on the transmission computer.

  43. #43 Dino Munoz says:

    @Nicole – No fixes or recalls to date that I am aware of and all the dealers in my area are aware of the issues and won’t give me anything near what it is “worth” as a trade in, so I am completely upside down in the piece of junk.

    Are you hearing a knocking near the engine compartment (firewall) that is louder than it should be?

    I also have a rattling noise from the rear when I go over a semi rough road.

    Sorry to hear that you bought a Sonic, or maybe I should say a Chevy…and that because Chevy/GM is not owning up to all of the problems on these Sonics.

  44. #44 Kylena says:

    I just got a chevy sonic 2014…. so far its been in repair for the battery… but yet they say nothing is drawing from the battery when car is off but yet its still goes dead. Two different dealers later finally the next dealership loomed a little further into it and says there is over 30 codes. Still waiting to hear back anyone elts have this issue also the radio likes to shut off on its own

  45. #45 Dora says:

    UGH. I bought my 2013 Sonic (brand new) in December 2013 (Canada). It started to leak red fluid last week and I could smell a hint of antifreeze. Its at the dealership right now and they called to say they ordered parts for my transmission. NOT IMPRESSED. Should have stuck with Ford.

  46. #46 Nicole says:

    @Dino – Just got my car back after 4 weeks at my dealership. 1 cylinder had to be re-machined (cause of overheating & internal heater not working) and they replaced 4 clutch plates which has stopped my lunging & vibrations. No abnormal noise in the engine compartment. I’m just happy I finally got a mechanic that knew what they were doing since the other times it went in the transmission “performed to specs”. I’m counting myself pretty lucky with the issues being fixed and having a running car again. I do love my sonic and I’m thankful I didn’t have other “bigger” issues.

    @Kylena- when I remote started the radio would randomly shut off but I haven’t tried it since I got my car back (3 days ago). Mine was intermittent and never happened when it was in the dealership.

  47. #47 Donie schuster says:

    My 2013 sonic with. 5 speed man transmission leeks fluid from the transmission was told ove flow valve then bad seals then bad gasket still leaks dealer has had the car 51 days no resolution in sight the dealership has also put an additional 300 miles on my vehicle in test drives to replicate the leak.

  48. #48 LemonLaw says:

    @Donnie: it’s time to file a claim. Please review your rights by clicking here:

  49. #49 LemonLaw says:

    @Nicole: Your car was out of service for four weeks? You could still be entitled to rememdy even if you wanted to keep your car. Please visit to read about your State Lemon Law rights.

  50. #50 jessie robles says:

    My sonic feels normal. The way it shifts is great. It feels like it’s slipping but it’s not. The way it shifts it makes my mpg awesome and performance is great. It’s like a automatic stick shift. I’m able to take off pretty fast and beat a lot of cars in a race I always check the fluids and all checks out. I run it on full synthetic castrol 5w-30 oil and drained the transmission and filled it with B&M Trick Shift Transmission Oil. As for steering it was swaying but after driving and putting so many miles in it, it really doesn’t sway anymore.

  51. #51 Katie says:

    Hey- I am from Canada, so we do not have a lemon law here, and overall, I have been pleased w my 2013 Sonic Hatchback LT model. However, I am having to replace the temperature gauge, since when the heater goes up on levels 1 and 2, there is an annoying ticking noise. Tonight I was waiting at a stop light, and the radio and signal were off- the signal light was flashing, but not ticking, and the radio was completely off (didn’t show the date or anything…) I am taking it to the dealer on Monday, but has anyone else has this problem? I drive automatic, so I don’t have issues with changing gears. I also drive a major highway every day to get to work, and it seems fairly stable- I did take it for 3 test drives before hand to be sure of this!
    Appreciate any feedback! :)

  52. #52 Michael says:

    Getting sick and tired of these problems with this P.O.S. This will be the 10th time taking my Sonic in to the dealer, this time I only had it back for 2 days before I turned right back around and the check engine light was on again. Not starting and the transmission is still jacked up.

    So they give me a rental car….those bastards at Enterprise put me in a F&*%ING SONIC!!!!!! WTF????? I AM CURSED!!!!

  53. #53 Melissa says:

    @Katie I have had the same problem with my radio so many times I’ve lost count. It’s been in the shop probably 6-7 times for this issue. Literally started with 7 miles on it. The last 2 times the radio has quit it completely killed my battery. The 1st time I had it towed and they replaced the battery said it was the battery the whole time. My sonic is a 2012 and this was about 6 months ago. The last time(about 1 month later) it did jump off and the radio was working. They said bring it in if it happens again. Now as of today my key and ignition got extremely hot and now I’m even more nervous about problems to come.

  54. #54 LemonLaw says:

    @Melissa: You need to look into your rights. Drop us a line at and we will connect you with someone who may be able to help you.

  55. #55 Katie says:

    @Melissa that is crazy! When I took it to the dealer, they said all the fuses and all that were exactly the same as another sonic! From what I have been reading, that doesn’t give me much comfort! That said, it hasn’t happened since! A good majority of my driving is highway, so I am afraid that it will break down and I will be SOL until roadside comes! In Canada, no one has posted any problems w their sonics! I can’t believe it!! Other than a few things, it’s a great little car, but it’s not even a year old! Annoying!! :(

  56. #56 Michael says:

    Bought my 2013 Sonic LtZ manual turbo in January with a hundred miles on it.. Here I am, right now sitting on the side on the freeway waiting for a tow truck.. Transmission won’t seem to shift out of first.. Rpm’s just run high and smells like transmission is burnt up. 5919 miles on it… P.O.S….

  57. #57 Eric says:

    Live in Toronto and have a 2012 Sonic LT
    I have been complaining about a vibration
    all the time and have taken it into the
    dealer so many times with no success
    the service manger felt the vibration
    but had no clue where it was coming from
    the steering was loose they tightened
    that still had the problem my radio turns
    off by its self for no reason now my son
    was driving went into the movies came out
    wouldn’t start just clicking I noticed when
    Iam merging onto the highway it’s not shifting
    Into the next gear so I have to let off the gas
    then press down fast to get it to shift
    the engine lights always going on and off
    for no reason I also had to get the thermostat
    replaced what’s next

  58. #58 Repair Manual Rick says:


    I’ve had the same problem with my LtZ. Gearbox failed on me after just 7000miles!

  59. #59 Jezebel says:

    Thank goodness for this site! This is my story, I bought the Chevy Sonic 2012 in 2012. About a week later, the steering wheel acted up and froze on me on the road while driving to work! I panicked offcourse but I pulled over and waited. The car would not start so I sat there for 15 minutes waiting. Then I was able to start the car. Buuuut! While pulling in to my works parking lot the steering wheel froze again!!!!! I called the dealership and they took care of it. Steering wheel was working and still is until today. I know I did ask them for a copy of what happened and what they did in 2012-2013, they never mailed me one. 2014, I stopped asking but now I have a new problem. I drive a automatic Sonic and it sounds like its not shifting!! Its making this noise like when you drive a manual and it stays on one shift..What is going on!!!! I dont drive the car anymore I am scared something may happen to me on the freeway..I called the dealership again and they cant see me until 2-3 weeks later..someone help me.. THANKS!

  60. #60 LemonLaw says:

    @Jezebel: Visit to find a lemon law firm in your state who can help you.

  61. #61 Dino Munoz says:

    @ Jezebel:
    I havent experienced the steering problems, but certainly a ton of transmission, cruise control and other problems. One suggestion crossed my mind while reading your post and this is blatantly obvious to me, but maybe not to others. My car came equipped with a manual mode. When you are shifting into drive, does the dash show an M# or something else?

  62. #62 Melissa says:

    So I’ve called Chevrolet directly cause I can get no where with the dealership here. Now just a little over a month since my last post I have new problems. When I put my car in gear, it’s an automatic, the button on the gear shifter gets stuck. When I put it in park my key won’t come out. Sometimes the button pops out in its own sometimes I literally have to hit the shifter to get the button out. My newest problem is my ac!!! I live in south Alabama and it’s hot. Today the heat index was 104° Noticed the ac wasn’t blowing as cold as before a week ago. Called and since I have 40k miles on the car I’m over my bumper to bumper warranty I have to pay $160+ to even have it looked at and was then told there is no reason my car should be losing freon (? Spelling) Bought the freon my self and had the hubby put it in. The gauge on the bottle said NO freon in it. This was just a few days after I noticed it wasn’t cooling like it should. Then yesterday 5 days after the freon was put in it was blowing hot. Hubby checked it today and once again NO freon in it. I’ve called Chevrolet back again to complain and should be having my call returned by Monday. Not holding my breath

  63. #63 Dino Munoz says:

    @Melissa – If its normal GMAC ways, they will tell you it is to spec and send you packin or tell you your out of warranty and you will have to pay for it, even though a car should not have AC issues with only 40k on the engine.

    I can almost guarantee you, that they will NOT cooperate…they have you locked into a contract and clearly don’t care if your screwed over or not.

    I have been complaining of transmission/engine issues, almost since day one of owning the car and have received 2 years or run around. They run you in circles until your warranty expires, then tell you good luck.

    Keep us posted on your outcome. Sorry your experiencing issues.


  64. #64 Jan says:

    I have a 2012 Chevy Sonic I liked ot because of the good gas mileage and room. It started to make a clunking sound and they fixed it while it was under warranty a year ago. Now I am back at the dealership again with another clunking sound. The shifter was stuck and was very difficult to put in drive and take key out.
    The button you oress to put in drive got stuck and was difficult to take key out. They ordered new part and acted like it has never happened before. The shifting on the car has never been good but I was told it’s because of the good gas mileage it gets. The shifting is worse now and the engine revs and difficult to switch gears now and then. It’s difficult to yield on the highway since it doesn’t have much power. It’s only 2 years old and will never buy a new Chevy again.

  65. #65 LemonLaw says:

    @Dino: That is why you need to look into the law. Visit to find a firm in your state that can help.

  66. #66 dustin says:

    I bought my 2013 sonic Lt in April last year. I have noticed the trans leak since about 15k miles as I’m currently at 39k. I took it once and they told me they couldn’t tell where it was coming from. My car only shifts hard from 3rd to 4th, and only when the car is cold.

  67. #67 Jackson says:

    I’ve never had a moments problem from the time I bought my Sonic in 2012, mine was manufatured late enough to have missed all the previous recalls, so I got lucky. The shfiting on my Sonic did get rouch, but I took it to the dealer and they had to download a specific code into the car’s computer and that fixed it immediatly! Never an issue with the swaying either, but never had that on any car I’ve owned.

  68. #68 shifflav says:

    There’s now an official recall for the transmission issue for the 2012 Sonic. Just go to and put in your VIN. It’s recall# N140234

  69. #69 Lauri says:

    Purchased a new 2012 Sonic for my 16 year old daughter. Three months later the power steering went out as she was driving on the freeway. The window washing system has been replaced, the transmission has been “repaird” and just last week the engine light came on and dealer replaced the shocks, did something to the bearings and the tire pins had fallen out so the tire was rubbing agains something.
    Called GM and they assigned it a case # and was advised to take to a local dealer for a complete review of the car. Review came back that everything was good so drove the car 90 miles back to my dauther at college and during the drive the engine light came on again.
    Waiting for the district speciailist from GM to call back. However car is sitting as I will not let my daughter drive it again. Only has 28k mileage and the worst car I ever bought.

  70. #70 Molly says:

    I purchase my 2012 chevy sonic on march 14,2014. I were so excited with my car at first then in may my check engine light came on i freaked out. I took my car in for service i were told that i needed to make sure my gas cap is tight. Each time i put gas i double check to make sure my gas cap is tight. So 2 months went bu my check engine light came on again i took the car back to universal city nissan where oi purchase the car. I were told that the technician input some codes and they didn’t see anything wrong.The check engine light went off by another month the light is back on again i dont know what to do. I am so frustrated i thought when i purchase a new car i wouldn’t have to worry about car problems for a long time.I call universal city nissan i took the car back again for the 3rd time i only had this car for 5 months. I were advice by universal city Nissan to take my car to the chevy dealer because my car is under warranty and universal city Nissan were unable to find out why the check engine light keeps coming on.I took the car to Martin Chevrolet in Torrance California, i were told by the Technician at Martin Chevrolet that i needed to pay $111.00 dollars to have a diagnostic check done on the car. I said to the technician i have warranty he said well, he would have to check to see if i have warranty. I just said to him i will take the car and notify universal city nissan to make sure my warranty is covered cause i’m not about to pay $111.00 for a car i just purchase 5 months ago. I am so frustrated. I took the car to Martin Chevrolet because their were a recall on these 2012 chevy sonic so i took the car in to have a part replaced something to do with the air bag.Not a happy customer.

  71. #71 Molly says:

    well, at least i’m not alone these 2012 chevy sonic has problems and They need to recall these cars.

  72. #72 Dino says:


    Get used to the “we cant find anything wrong” comments. That seems to be Chevy’s response to everything wrong on these cars. Believe me when I tell you, “YOU ARE STUCK WITH A LEMON”.

    I dont curse, but this car combined with GM’s response, makes me want to curse like a drunk sailor. Buy import next time. At least they make good on their issues.

  73. #73 Dino says:

    @ Shifflav: My Sonic clearly has a tranny problem, but no recall. SHOCKING!
    Good luck with your recall though.

  74. #74 LemonLaw says:

    @Dino and @Molly: I respectfully disagree. You are not stuck. Visit to find a lemon law lawyer in your state to discuss your matter.

  75. #75 Kristy says:

    This is ridiculous when everyone is having these issues with practically brand new cars. My sister just got a brand new 2014 Chevy Sonic 3 weeks ago and she had to take it to the dealership yesterday. Her Sonic got stuck in 3rd gear wouldn’t shift up or down. They replaced the shift speed input sensor. Let’s see how long this lasts after reading what everyone is going through. It’s a shame. You think if you buy a new car it will be more reliable but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. 3 weeks 1200 miles and they had to replace something on this “new” car. I’m disgusted. I wish all of you the best of luck.

  76. #76 Dino says:

    Final Post:
    Hello all GM / Sonic owners – As a final post, I wanted to provide everyone an update on the final status of my 2012 Chevy Sonic. NEW CAR BUYERS BEWARE!

    After endless attempts from dealing with multiple dealerships and contacting GM directly, my issues are still not resolved. The final answer on all attempts is that the transmission lunging is “To Spec”. This after a Service manager and Service Associate experienced the issues I was complaining about, in MY CAR and said “This is not right, let me have my Sr Tech take a look”. The Senior Tech stated that he drove other Sonics on the lot and they do the same thing, indicating that the lunging while sitting at a stop light is a “Feature” (I am interpreting his comment on Its to Spec”.
    I have finally taken my car to a Toyota dealer and after much research, found that my $24,000.00 car, 2 years later is only worth $8500.00. I am upside down $7,500.00…in only 2 years. So pissed!

    I have traded this hunk of junk in for a 2005 Toyota 4Runner and couldnt be happier I did.

    I asked the dealer to go over the car before taking it home and they did a thorough inspection and found some issues and are fixing ALL issues before I pick the vehicle up…to include some major engine work. Keep in mind the 4Runner has 100k. They didnt turn the Check Engine light off and wait until I drove off the lot and then tell me its to spec. They owned up and fixed the issue on the spot. Superior Customer Service on Toyota’s part and incredibly horrible Customer Service on GM’s part.

    I would recommend to those who own a Sonic, get out of it, upside down or not! The longer you keep it, the worse it gets. Good luck everyone and I hope each of you experience something far better with GM than I did.

    Toyota Thanks You GM.

    As much as I want to support American made, I am now a committed Foreign made car buyer. No more American for me.


    Thrilled Toyota Owner

  77. #77 Bob says:

    Dino: Couldn’t agree more! I unloaded (at quite a loss, I might add) my 2012 Sonic after having it for a little under two years – one headache after another, that thing. Furthermore, I also traded in for a Toyota (2013 Prius C) … smartest thing I ever did.

  78. #78 Lisa h says:

    2013 s0onic (30,000 miles)is at the dealership for a new shifter. (automatic trans) the button in the shifter gets stuck and easily glides between gears! very dangerous!!! I can’t get the key out! Dealer is replacing the shifter and gave me a loaner car.

  79. #79 sara says:

    Well heres my story. I purchased my 2012 sonic back in july of 2012 with only 6 miles on it. Well since about nov of 2012 its been a headache. Its had a problem with the gears and now in august of 2014 in was in the shop till oct 2014 for 9 weeks due to a recall of the transmission turbine shaft. I got the car back for one day and took it back. It was making a horrible knocking noise. Well they called me and told me my alternator was going on. Keep in mind I havent had my car nearly 3 months from being in the shop due to the recall. They say its fixed now and im going to get it back today. But im beyond terrified to drive it anymore. It was the worst mistake in buying that junk. Im waiting on gm to call me and get this tooking care of if not I guess ill finda third party to get involved.
    Angry piece of crap sonic owner

  80. #80 LemonLaw says:

    @Sara: I would not wait. I think it’s time to reach out to a lemon law lawyer to understand your rights. Visit to find a firm in your state.

  81. #81 Debbie says:

    I purchased my 2012 Chevy Sonic in late June. It was suppose to be a Certified-Like New still under the original 36,000 mile warranty. I had to take it back for repairs after the first 24 hours of owning it. The button that you press to release gear shaft stuck and would not release my key. I was told it was a recall. I have trouble shifting between gears, car losing power while driving, knocking in the engine. My check engine light has been on for over 2 months. The first service department in FL told me as long as the light wasn’t blinking I was good, He reset the light, said it was the gas cap not on tight enough and if it happened again to let him know. The next morning I called and said it was back on. Once again he said as long as the check engine light wasn’t blinking I was good. When the car actually lost power and I was almost in a major accident, I called to get an appointment and the head service manager laughed at me and said there was no way that could be happening. I took it to another dealer and they fixed the problem… or so they thought. After bringing my car home, the light came back on and I smelled wires burning and engine still lost power while driving. Brought it back again and now they say there is a hole in the gas tank. I got a call this morning saying there is an engine defect that caused a cracked head. Then I received another call saying.. wrong customer… So… frustrated and unsure of what to do now. My warranty is almost up and they don’t seem to really have a clue. Is there a possibility of the head being cracked on mine too? He said it was a defect, not recall. How do I research that?

  82. #82 Kurtis says:

    I’ve had my sonic since August of 2012 and have not had one single problem with it.

  83. #83 Luis says:

    Owner of 2012 sonic LT auto … Got car spanking brand new … So far repairs have been: faulty intake assembly, transmission shaft ( recall ), engine running( lean ), transmission control module replaced, knocking sound originating from rear brakes, awkward sounding horn, and recently transmission was weighing the car down, was having a hard time reaching highway speeds … Took in car for this today … They had no ” code ” so they wanted to bill me $49.00 … Mind car only has 49,000 miles … Shouldn’t this still be covered under 5yr/100,000 mile warranty? … I refused to pay the way … This car stinks, i would not recommend this car to anyone, unless you can afford the repairs …

  84. #84 Emmanuel says:

    I bought a 2015 sonic ltz (mexican version) a month ago and yesterday i took it for its first road trip, from Hermosillo Sonora to Tucson Arizona. During the 5 hour trip, transmission was behaving weird… sometimes it simply didn’t shifted up so i had to release the accel pedal and push it again. I have been very happy with my sonic until yesterday and now i found this website so it seems to be a common issue. In the future, I’m gonna video record my car dashboard so the technician believes me theres something wrong with the car.

  85. #85 Lisa says:

    my husband bought me a 2014 chevy sonic i have since september 2014 and i took it in for a routine oil change 3 days later had to take back for a cam shaft leak a week later i pick it up and its tapping so its back at the dealership for what they tell me a timing belt tensionor?? not happy

  86. #86 Steve says:

    I purchased a 2013 Chevy Sonic a year and a half ago, brought it in for a oil change and the techs discovered a leak. The leak turned out to be the transmission, had it fixed, a month later my engine light is coming on and the MPG seems to have dropped below 30 from around 35, haven’t been able to have it looked at yet. I originally had issues with instability on the highway, and in the winter experienced very hairy driving, but I got new tires and that seemed to fix that issue. I have also noticed that when I use my GPS it gives me a different speed by one mile an hour under what the gage says I’m doing and it also shows the same thing when approaching a radar speed sign, have not addresed this issue yet either. I like the car, seems to ride nice for a small car, I just hope these problems don’t continue to come up.

  87. #87 Amanda says:

    I bought my 2014 sonic in September I have had in the shop three different times for three different things..first my radio shorted out, then the rpm went really high and it just cut off and then it just came back on then it done it again two min later and just two days ago I couldn’t get into it with my keyless entry I had to manually open but with the key and then it didn’t want to start..after turning the key about five times it finally started but the radio and everything was like the batterie had been taken out.. Every time I take it in I get the same thing there are no codes showing up… I’m so over this car and feel like I have totally been ripped off….

  88. #88 Duwane says:

    I have a 2012 sonic lt we bought in February of that year. It has been a great little car. It now has 98xxx miles on it. We have the manual transmission and it is very sporty with the 1.4 turbo. Have not experienced any problems with the transmission at all, appears to be the automatic only. The wheel size is the 15 inch and at the manufactures air pressure experienced sway on the highway. Inflated tires to 40 pounds and that seemed to take care of the problem. Had a thunking and rattling from sway bars or something but recall took care of that problem.

  89. #89 Brad says:

    i bought my 2013 Sonic in August of last year. it was ok, at first. soon after, i was constantly having tire pressure problems, the light would come on all the time. i would bring it in, and they would check the pressure, and say the pressure is fine, that perhaps it was a bulb issue, or something. that finally got fixed. the other problem i have, is, i think the fuel gauge isn’t working right. it’ll say i have half a tank of gas, then fluctuate, saying i only have a quarter tank. i haven’t brought that issue up, yet. the other issue i have, is, here in North Dakota, as cold as it gets, my car seems to get frost build up INSIDE the car, not on the outside. i’m thinking it’s bad window seals, which i don’t have the money to fix. also, the gas mileage isn’t anywhere near what was advertised. i’m lucky if i get 26-28 miles to the gallon, when it was advertised at 35+. i’m thinking i just need to trade this car in and buy an import. the last import i had, i NEVER had any problems with it. the only time it went in the shop was for basic stuff, like a lube, oil & filter, but never any other issues, and my import ran for nearly 200,000 miles before i decided to trade it in. it was just time. i should’ve steered clear of the Sonic. now, i’m looking at another import. if i can trade this car in, i’ll be glad to see it go!

  90. #90 Henry H says:

    2012 Sonic LT 144000 miles (sales rep) I had the jerky crazy transmission problem until recently. I noticed my air filter hose to the engine had a tear in it when I replaced the air filter. After I relaced the hose my transmission problem was cured. I hypothesize that the mass airflow sensor was giving false information to the drivetrain because the motor was getting more air from the leak. That being said I had the problem since day 1 which means it’s a factory issue. Wonder what an air leak after the air filter does to a motor and if the factory is the cause every motor needs replacing.

  91. #91 Britney says:

    3 months after I got my 2012 Chevy Sonic hatchback LT, The car all of a sudden wouldn’t turn on. I got it checked out. They really didn’t know what was wrong. They said something like my battery. It stopped my remote start and it has never worked since. My service engine light always turns off right after check up but comes right back on. Exactly 3 months to the date of my first fixing, the same problem started. This time they take didn’t know. Again same small excuse. Then exactly 3 months after the 2nd fix, it did the same thing. This time they told me the glue that they use to install the fuses, got hot and steeped into my electrical box??? To cause my car to repeatedly not turn on at all. My engine light can on 3 days later. The dealership that fixed it has a policy if they fix your car and you have the same problem within 12 months they would fix it no charge. Now since my car is able to stay on now I’m having issues with changing gears. If I’m elevated on a hill and slowly release from the gas, my car will hesitate to move then it will jerk. Anytime I’m changing the first 3 gears my car jerks till i get to a steady speed more than 20mph. Then…. When I’m stopped or parked my RPMs will rev up and down by itself. IM SOOO SICK OF THIS CAR. It sucks because this was my first buying experience and I got this box of rocks! (Pun intended) I NEED HELP!!! PLEASE!!!

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