Chevrolet Sonic Starting Problem Leaves Drivers Stranded

May 22, 2012
By: Robert Silverman

We have started getting calls on the 1 800 LEMON LAW hotline from distressed drivers complaining of a Chevrolet Sonic starting problem.  They will be at home or in a parking lot when all of a sudden the car will not start leaving the driver stranded.  And what makes matters worse is that GM service advisers do not have any current solution for the problem.  They are encouraging Sonic drivers to lock and unlock their car repeatedly to get the car moving.  This is certainly not what you want to hear when you purchase a brand new car.

We have heard from folks who have been advised not to drive with key cards in their pockets or park next to cars with large antennas.  What?  We heard about another situation where the car has been out of service for months because every time they start the Sonic up, it stalls again.

If you are suffering with Chevrolet Sonic starting problems, it is important that you report the issue to a GM authorized dealer each and every occurrence, and if necessary have the car towed in to see if they can verify or duplicate the problem.  Do not settle for the lock/unlock remedy.  Make sure they look at the car thoroughly and that you receive a repair invoice each and every time you report the issue.  If you are back in for Chevrolet Sonic stalling problems three or more times, or your Sonic is in a shop for an extended period of time, it is important that you contact a Lemon Law Lawyer to discuss your rights under State Lemon Laws and Federal Warranty Laws.  You may be able to get a complete refund and legal help is free.

NJ and PA consumers can learn more about their state’s lemon laws on our New Jersey and Pennsylvania Lemon Law pages.

If you have a Chevrolet Sonic that is stalling, feel free to fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form for more information.

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40 Responses to “Chevrolet Sonic Starting Problem Leaves Drivers Stranded”

  1. #1 Leo Palomares says:

    Is a sonic chevrolet 2012, refuses to start a lot of mornings, even in the parking lot at my office at the end of the day , i mean 9 or 10 hours staying on the parking lot.

    • #2 LemonLaw says:

      Leo: Fill out our Get Rid of Your Lemon form at and we will review your situation for you. We very well may be able to help get you out of this car!

      • #3 Brandon says:

        I bought my 2012 Sonic 2 years ago, does the Lemon Law still work for me?

        • #4 LemonLaw says:

          @Brandon: A two-year old car could still fall under State or Federal Law. Visit to have us review your claim and see if you are entitled to remedy.

          • #5 James Vincent says:

            My 2012 Sonic was brought to the local chevy dealership because it had a problem starting. They could not duplicate my problem . Had them replace starter. Get the car home 3 days later,car goes through same starting problems.Did the lock , unlock on key fob,car started ,Car sucks!

            • #6 Mia Gamble says:

              I am having the same problem as this article states.

              • #7 Mia Gamble says:

                My car has been sitting for 1 month, it will not start. I have has tune ups, starter replacement, diagnosed by mechanics and I have no other solutions. Please help

                • #8 Jami says:

                  Just a question but I have had problem after problem with this car. First was all of the recalls then fuel pump, then my battery was being drained by who only knows what, my windows have quit working, my fan and now the hearter and defroster and my key fobe will not work which sets my alarm off..I dont about most but with the payment I have on this car I cant afford to keep fixing it and the trade in vaule is a JOKE!

                  • #9 Xavier says:

                    I have 2014 Chevy Sonic and I’m having issues everyday starting the car I’ve read some of the comments and I’m lost as to what to do to fix the problem my thought is to get rid of it right now I never buy another Chevy because they’re lemons

                    • #10 Xavier says:

                      I have 2014 Chevy Sonic and I’m having issues everyday starting the car. I’ve read some of the comments and I’m lost as to what to do to fix the problem. my thought is to get rid of it right now and never buy another Chevy. this is my second Chevy vehicle and they both came out lemons.

                      • #11 LemonLaw says:

                        @xavier: You should absolutely look into your lemon law rights. Visit to find a firm in your state who can help.

                        • #12 Gerald Mueller says:

                          I carry a portable battery starter in my Sonic. If my 2012 Sonic fails to start, I connect the auxiliary starter battery, and the cart starts right up…… I have done this numerous times in the past three years since I have owned my sonic and it starts without fail with the portable start battery….

                          • #13 Jeannette Campbell says:

                            I have a 2014 Sonic4 different times now it has been unable to start appears the battery is completely dead not even the hazzards work , door locks or windows. Once it died while I was at a redlight and unable to start w/o a jump. Once jumped it runs fines for a week or 2 maybe a month then it does it again. I have had the battery checked at different places . They all say battery is good took it to the dealer today finally (waited because it is a pain to get it to the dealer get a ride etc) dealer states they can not find anything wrong. Well there is definately a problem and now I have to pay a fee for them putting it on the computer because they can’t find anything wrong.

                            • #14 Shirley Dunlap says:

                              Mr Mueller what kind of portable starter do you use? My 2102 just decided not to start this morning just clicks, this is the first problem I have had with it.

                              • #15 Jean McDonald says:

                                I have a 2014 Chevy sonic thats been not starting at times.It will be fine for three or four days and then you have to get a jump then its fine again but this time maybe a day and it needs another jump.I took it in and they say battery and alternator is 100 percent and cant find nothing wrong with it on diagnostics,I have made 6 payments on it.I need to make my mind up what steps to take next

                                • #16 Greg says:

                                  It just happened maybe 3/4 months ago our Chevy sonic ’13 starting to have issues,every time I fill up the gas,it’s takes a while for the car to start.dashboard has lights but then u can’t tell when the car is running or not,anybody having the same issue?

                                  • #17 Rudy says:

                                    I have a 2013 sonic I purchased in 3/15 and this past week I am having starting problems with the immobilizer light is on and won’t let me start. Dealer told me to take in will I be able to file a lemon law suit

                                    • #18 Eric says:

                                      I have a 2012 chevy sonic with 90,000 miles on on it. I have never had an issue starting it over the past 5 years until yesterday morning, it was completely dead. I was able to jump it and drive about 60 miles with it being able to start again without a problem- I just drove 15 miles and now it barely wanted to start. AutoZone tester said that the battery and alternator were working good. Last week I had 2 times in the same 15 mile drive where my stock stereo randomly shut off and went completely dark (not even the clock was on). I wonder if that has something to do with in. Could the stereo now be a parasitic drawer?

                                      • State: Wisconsin
                                    • #19 Candace says:

                                      I have a 2012 Chevy Sonic with only 75,000 miles. We just purchased this car only 9 months ago. We did not occur any problems until yesterday 6/14/17. I awoke to go to work and found the car dead. The lights did attempt to come on and just faded. We tried to start the car and it would not turn over. The car also held the key. I was not able to take the key from out of the ignition. We had to get a jump from the car to get up and go. We also, like many other on this forum, have taken the car to AutoZone, O’riley’s, and Pep Boys to get the battery tested and they seem to find nothing wrong with the battery, alternator, or starter. But if you cut the car off it will not restart without a jump. I am severely upset that it just started out of the blue. My house hold is down to one car and its very stressful. Do we have a case?

                                      • State: South Carolina
                                    • #20 Cynthia Ojeda says:

                                      I have a chevy sonic 2012 and it wont drive or reverse but starts up fine.

                                      • State: CA
                                    • #21 Nina says:

                                      2014 sonic i have had 30 days and its not started 5 times now im so annoyed dealer is giving me the run around #!!!

                                      • State: CALIFORNIA
                                    • #22 Darren says:

                                      Have a 2014 Chevy Sonic Lt 1.8l Sedan. Bought car 1yr ago and noticed a few weeks after purchase. The radio volume when set and turn off, the volume has to been turned up again. When i accelerate the volume raises on radio and when i deccelerate volume goes down. Had to refill wind sheild wiper fluid and when i turned car on it totally leaked out. filled it again had car turned off and checked for leaks, no leak but when turned car on it leaks. then few days ago come in from store and turn key and get clicking noise. had to get jump it worked. took to O’reilly for free battery, starter and alternator check. Battery good but alternator possibly bad. Took to Firestone and they could find no problem. Yesterday came in from store would not start and had to get jump again. Something is definately wrong with electrical.

                                      • State: CA
                                    • #23 Natalie Roy says:

                                      My 2015 Chevy Sonic completely died on me. I pulled up to my driveway and the car shut off and haven’t turned back on. This has happened 3 times and I’ve only been financing this car for 2 month. What can I do? Does my car fall under the lemon law?

                                      • State: VA
                                    • #24 Edna Castillo says:

                                      I have a 2014 Chevy Sonic that I got from drivetime not even 5-6 months ago and the transmission went out while I was driving..I have changed the oil not even a month Or two before it happened and the car was fine.. I’m very upset..I have not even had the car that long.. there is not even 50,000 miles on it yet.. is there still a factory warranty?? I have gap coverage with drive time.. will this cover it? The car starts but sounds funny and it won’t drive or reverse when I put it in gear.


                                      • State: Ohio
                                    • #25 LemonLaw says:

                                      @Edna: There is a 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty on the 2014 Sonic.

                                      • #26 Christy says:

                                        We have a 2013 Sonic that has trouble starting, but it has a salvaged title with 50,000 miles. Does this still work under lemon law?

                                        • State: Tx
                                      • #27 brian stewart says:

                                        I have had this 2013 for 2 weeks only. The car will start but then just turn off. This can happen 2 or 3 times before it stays started.
                                        Does not seem vey nomal to mee. Please advise your comments.

                                        • State: quebec canada
                                      • #28 Whitney says:

                                        I have a 2016 Chevy sonic and yesterday while putting groceries in the house, all of 10 minutes, I left the car running. The radio began to skip and the lights dimmed, then the car completely shut off. The car with the lock symbol came in and the car only started with a jump. After the car is cut off it won’t start again after the jump. I’m just shocked. I mean this car is only one year old. What should I do here??

                                        • State: Texas
                                      • #29 Jennifer Guillette says:

                                        I purchased my Chevy Sonic new, in September of 2013. It only had 511 miles on it I believe. I now have 59000. It has had recalls for different codes with the computer system, I have taken it to the dealership at least three times for the button on the shifter sticking. The last time I took it in, I overheard one of the service associates talking to another customer who had the same problem, they were telling that customer it was going to cost $400 to fix the shifter. They said mine was still under warranty so I didn’t have to pay. Now, when I shift my car into gear, the button feels loose, almost like it could be easily knocked into another gear, very stressful. My car is only five years old, and now I have to replace my starter. Tried starting my car last night, bought a brand new battery back last summer I believe so first thing we tried was jumping it, when that didn’t work, we tried to tap the starter…nothing. So I get it towed to a shop, and now I find out the starter is shot, and I will be out over $500 to replace it. Really sucks, since this car isn’t that old and I’m still paying on it. I will NEVER buy a Chevy again. My Hyundai never had any issues!

                                        • State: Florida
                                      • #30 Victoria Begay says:

                                        I have a 2016 Chevy Sonic and about a month later the horn and wheel problems start to not work. Than in November 2017 the car shut off while I was slowing down and the wheel lock I went into a small ditch. Report it to where I purchased the ride but was told lock and unlock situation didn’t work. After that I would go to a stop and it would shake and stall out I had to wait some seconds than start it up again. I had the top and bottom O2 sensors change cuz that’s what they said was wrong with it. Now March 2018 my car won’t start the battery would be died so have to use portable battery charger. But I’m putting a lot into my payment and getting check just paid $400 for tune up and oil change
                                        Getting tired of it about to just give up on it ….

                                        • State: New Mexico
                                      • #31 Thomas Saujon says:

                                        I have a 2013 Chevy Sonic LT Hatchback with an Automatic Transmission. I bought the car in March of 2018 from a used car dealership, so I’ve had the car for about 2 months. I had the oil changed a week ago. The car ran fine. The morning after having the oil changed I used the car’s remote starter to start the car. I heard it start. I went out to the car in less than 5 minutes, to find out that the car had shut off. So I start the car again and begin to head to my destination. Upon slowing down to turn into my destination, I hear a reasonably loud noise of clicking/ticking coming from the front passenger side of the car, somewhere near the the water pump. Upon hearing the noise I immediately brought it to the used car dealership I purchased the car from so they could fix it. They couldn’t fix it that day and the service person told me it sounded like the water pump needed to be replaced—he did not bring the car in to hook it up to a diagnostics machine or anything, he assumed it was the water pump by the noise he was hearing and where the noise was coming from. So because they couldn’t fix the car that day, he scheduled the car to be looked at and fixed 3 days from the day I brought it in. He stated that the car should be able to make it back to my house and back to the shop for the service appointment, however, to take it easy and that he couldn’t guarantee that the car would make it to my house and back to the shop to be serviced; and, in the case that if it didn’t make it back to my house or while in route to be serviced to have it towed into the shop. Before leaving I asked him how much the job/maintenance was going to cost; he responded that it would be $200–the water pump cost them about a $100 and then with a couple hours of labor it would cost another $100 = $200. I thankfully made it home with the car. After discussing this matter over with a person that knows how to fix cars, it was decided to: go buy the water pump and replace it. Upon purchasing the water pump and removing all the parts to get to the water pump, a bunch of debris came out of the compartment area that the water pump is located in. The person that knows how to fix cars was unable to get to the approximate area to remove the water pump, so he finished up by cleaning up the area of the remaining debris (rocks, sticks, leaves, etc.) and replaced/re-attached all the parts that had been removed to get to the water pump. Upon completion he started the vehicle and it the noise had gone away! I was able to drive the vehicle for a day until the initial noise came back again; and, now the “Malfunction Indicator Light” had came on. So I brought the car to the used cars dealerships service shop for its scheduled maintenance and I brought the water pump and gave it to the same guy I received the quote from. I then stated that because I had went out and bought the water pump on my own and brought it to the shop for them the cost for the services done to the car would only be the couple hours of labor. He confirmed that, yes, it would not cost as much. I further advised him that I also had bought the appropriate coolant-antifreeze and that it was in the vehicle. So, it took the mechanic about two hours to fix/replace the water pump. I went to go pay the bill, and the guy I had been dealing with was not there, and a female was there with a bill for $253.91. I was shocked, I looked at her and asked why the bill was so much? I bought and brought the replacement water pump to be installed, and was told that I was only going to have to pay for the cost of labor/service. Her response was that the $253.91 is/was the cost of labor. I looked again at the receipt and it state[d]s, Labor $253.91, along with my contact information and a description of my vehicle and the date. Knowing that the only way I was going to get my keys and be able to leave was to just pay, is what I unfortunately was felt like I had to do, in which is what I inevitably did, was pay, $253.91 for two hours or less of time for a mechanic to replace-install the water pump

                                        “(“ with the total cost of services done to my vehicle, with only one service conducted, and specifically for “Labor” serviced to my vehicle—nothing defining or describing what the Labor was used for—nor was I given any explanation as to why, Labor was the only thing printed on the receipt, and it was left with No definition or description of what the Labor was being done to the vehicle. It’s quite apparent that we know who owns the vehicle, what the make model and year of the vehicle are because a scandalous person obviously would have to know the “simple” legal requirements for ANYONE to run any threshold in the area of Business—in order to NOT get caught doing what they’ve been doing for at least 10 years now, and not to just me or a handful of people, but for, to hundreds maybe even the thousands bracket ”)”


                                        bought and brought for them to replace—into the vehicle—they financed through Westlake Financial so I could purchase it from their dealership. Furthermore, I furnished them service department with the coolant to finalize the Labor services rendered. In conclusively, I had to pay, $126.96 per hour, for the water pump I bought and brought for the service department to replace-install a water pump—a water pump that I still do not know why I have had to replace in a car I just purchased 2 months ago from the dealership that is/has now had to service the vehicle. In which, the matter just keeps getting worse. The same day-night I have my car back, I stopped to get gas at a “Top Tier” Gas Station—“Irving” on my way home. After I pumped my gas I popped my hood so that I could refill my windshield washer fluid. I get in the car, start the car, and my car sounds and feels like the engine was flooding! I thought the car was going to stall. I had never heard the car make the noise or act the way it had in the two months I’ve owned it. At this point I’m really starting to wonder what the heck is going on!! I paid a lot of money down on this vehicle, let alone how much money was financed and paid out to the dealership for the vehicle!! So, thankfully the car didn’t stall, it slowly came out of the symptoms of a stalling car. However, the “Malfunction Indicator Light” came on and stayed steady (it wasn’t blinking)!! I’m extremely fed up at this point! I haven’t had the time to contact the dealerships service center to tell them that something is still wrong, because I have been busy with working meetings etc. Furthermore, every time I fill up my gas tank and start the car, it does this almost stalling out noise and actions. I can’t have a problematic vehicle—I purchased a newer vehicle so that I wouldn’t have to worry about car troubles-problems! What do I do? Is this a case that Lemon Laws may apply to (the reputation of this dealership is very bad—they’re known for selling “lemon” cars. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until after I had purchased the vehicle from them…). I’m definitely getting screwed (read the part about me paying $126.95 per hour for Labor)! Please help me. What can and should I do? And, Do I have a possible case against them?

                                        • State: NH
                                      • #32 LemonLaw says:

                                        @Thomas: The age would be an issue for us but I would contact the NH attorney general to explore any options.

                                        • #33 Edward says:

                                          Crap car built with tax dollars to help save GM. Crap car.

                                          I went to turn on my car and it wouldnt start up; light fine, new battery, radio works… just no ticking when I try to turn over. The next morning started fine. Repeat . Repeat… …

                                          Hard shift in-between gears and the coil packs go out rather quickly.

                                          • #34 Donna says:

                                            I just got this 2012 Chevy sonic in April. I have had nothing but problems. I contacted the dealership I purchased it from and they give me the run around and basically tell me any problems are my own fault from “wear and tear) after having the car a couple weeks!!! Almost immediately after having the car I start having some really crazy problems. My radio/CD player would turn off when I would use the brakes or blinkers!!! The airbag light would come on sporadically as well. I kept getting it checked, the mechanics could not repeat the problem while they had it. About four nights ago I got in to start my car all the lights start to come on, but then the whole car just shut off, went black. Ten minutes later, all on its own it comes back on. We drive our friend home which is about a mile round trip. On the way home in the middle of driving the whole car just goes black, powers down, key won’t even come out. This time 20 minutes later it starts on its own. I call mechanic he tells me I had to wait to the following day to bring it in. They try to repeat the issue but can’t. They said the alternator is being erratic and they think that’s the problem. I pay 560$ on a new Alternator less then two days ago. Today the radio starts shutting off when I use blinker or brakes again. Later in day the airbag light turns on. Last but certainly not least the car powered off again today in a very bad spot. Wouldn’t come back on in 10-20 minutes this time. Had to have it towed. After an hour the car came back on. So scared, frustrated and angry. I’ve put 2000$ into the repairs since I bought it in April. Please help. Has anyone else had these exact issues?? The dealership and Chevrolet refuse to help with anything and just wantcme to keep paying more and more. While I’ve lost my job now because of this piece of crap. Does anyone know what kind of shortage this is??? I have no more $$

                                            • State: NJ
                                          • #35 Kisha Captain says:

                                            I just brought my 2016 Chevy sonic last year. It’s already dying on me with out warning and the lights and everything is on. Said it was starter but to be a new car says it to early to have starter issue. At a loss for words and have no clue on to resolve it.

                                            • State: Ohio
                                          • #36 Jason brennan says:

                                            On 2 different accusions my 2013 sonic has died amd not starting. Now everything worked just no start now sitting in shop. And they saying short in wire some where or in the anti theft system better yet this is my thrid week with this car.

                                            • State: Fl
                                          • #37 Tina Corbin says:

                                            The problem with these cars and the starting issue, is the immobilizer systems. The system is not reading the chipped key so it is not allowing the system to start. It is the anti theft system.

                                            • State: Florida
                                          • #38 benjamin black says:

                                            i have a 2014 chevy sonic i only had it a month and hard to start i bought new battery still happening the dealership told me they did a tune up on it but said they did 125 point inspection but did not find that the seatbelt was broken until i showed them how did they miss this imvery dissapointed traded dependable car for this did not get what they promised i know dam well it did not get a tune up because they cannot find paperwork that they did it i call bullshit anything to sell a car should have kept mine only reason i tradedmine had alot of miles looking for dependable transportation i now haveto take it in to get throttlebody and fuel intake valves done at my cost 180 to 200 dollars at my exspense they dont want to piss me off getting real close to it

                                            • State: OH
                                          • #39 Michael says:

                                            I bought a 2014 Chevy Sonic new and it’s been very dependable for about the last five years. The past couple of months I have had similar experiences to others here – battery is fine and lights and dash come up immediately, but it will take anywhere from 6-10 attempts to get it to start. Have had the starter replaced twice and the same problem comes up almost immediately afterward. Is there an electrical recall or something on this model? About at my wits end with this…

                                            • State: AZ
                                          • #40 carla says:

                                            My daughter tried unlocking her 2017 Sonic with the remote and the doors wouldn’t unlock. She used the key then tried to start the vehicle but it would start. She checked the shaft and waited a few minutes and the vehicle started. This has happened before. The dealership claims they can’t find the issue. What if this happens when she’s driving at night or 30 miles away from home?

                                            • State: Illinois

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