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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,169 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2006 Chevrolet HHR drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Chevrolet HHR Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

May 272013

HHR 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,402 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the ignition failed and the key could not be release from the ignition switch. The contact had to move gear shifter lever several times in order to shut the engine off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The failure was located at the gear shifter and the dealer replaced the gear shifter system. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 38,402...updated 08-07-13

- West Carolton , OH, USA

problem #23

Apr 182013

HHR 4-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle will stall and we will crash or be hit by some one. When the vehicle stalls you loose all power that is power steering, brakes, the ability to maintain control of my began with my key getting stuck in the ignition, would have to try to place in park multiple times to release the key. Found the panel in the steering column and the release button to remove key. Now the gear shift button is stuck in the pressed position, making the car vulnerable to coming out of gear. This is extremely unsafe and costly to fix. Additional personal research has indicated this is a common & known issue with the manufacturer.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #22

Mar 082013

HHR 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Pulled into garage, placed shifter in park, ignition key would not rotate to last detent position and key could not be removed, leaving some electrical items on. Shifter button was depressed and would not unlock but shift could be put in any gear. I searched internet for problem and learned how to remove cover under ignition switch and manipulate a button inside the column to allow key to be released. Car can be started again but to shut off and remove key, same process required. A big problem I have found on internet from other owners is that instead of paying the outrageous cost to fix, many drivers are doing the above, which is a dangerous situation because the shift lever can easily, accidentally be shifted into another gear while in motion ! this problem is caused be a metal pin, mounted in an inferior plastic piece, which breaks or otherwise allows the metal pin to fall out of position. This is reported in all year models, at all mileages. My car is a 2006 with 11000 miles- 7 years old, and obviously hardly used, let alone abused, and of course, out of warranty ! GM has upgraded the replacement part with a shroud of metal reinforcing the plastic, and has repaired and replaced under warranty on models from 2009 to date. This is obviously a design defect, and also a safety issue. GM needs to recall all models with this defect ! they are not offering any solution for a repair that many owners have paid up to $600 of their own money, and I for one am going to fight this in all ways possible. Gov.'t, media, BBB, social media, etc ! review the internet by searching " Chevy HHR ignition key stuck". this also affects Chevy cobalt and Pontiac G5.

- Huntley, IL, USA

problem #21

Jan 182013

HHR 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


The power steering light comes on frequently. I have no power steering and have to do it manually which makes is very difficult to steer. This has been happening more and more. Sometimes I can only back out of the driveway when this happens. As there are numerous complaints on this issue, I am wondering way Chevy doesn't do a recall.

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #20

Mar 052013


  • 116,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the ignition key could not be turned to engage the engine and the vehicle also could not be shifted from park. The vehicle had not been diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 116,000.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

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problem #19

Nov 212012


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the gear shifter became stuck and he was unable to power off the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician advised that the shifter panel needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 95,000. The VIN was not available.

- Seneca Fall, NE, USA

problem #18

Jul 252012


  • 146,217 miles


I drove my vehicle to New Jersey for vacation but came back to Virginia within two days. Upon my arrival in Virginia, I repacked my bags and headed to charlotte, nc. All the driving that I was doing was highway driving. To New Jersey I drove I-81 North and I-78 East. To charlotte, nc I drove 220 South and I-85 South. After I got off on I-85 South to go back to the hotel on the way up the hill towards the hotel the car stopped moving forward. It would rev up when pushing on the accelerator but would not move forward. The car however would shift gears and go in reverse. I parked the car in a parking lot and had called my insurance company to have the car towed to the local Chevrolet dealership.the dealership determined that the transmission failed but could not give me a determination as to why it failed. Had the transmission failed as I was speeding down I-85 South there would have been a serious accident. Additionally, this morning (August 22nd, 2012) the car would not start. The lights inside the car would come on such as the gauge lights, radio, etc but the engine would not turn over. I had the car towed to the midpoint Chevrolet dealership and it was determined that the starter was bad and thus had to be replaced. Also, the morning of November 24th upon returning to my car from a night out the car would not start again. This time no lights would come on. The only indication that there was at least some power was the indicator light on my car charger. I contacted my insurance company and received a jump start from a local tow service and the vehicle has been running smoothly ever since. This has occurred twice in the last few months but there is no indication as to what may be draining the battery's power. I have had the battery checked twice and on these two occasions and is deemed to still be good.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #17

Nov 092012

HHR 4-cyl

  • miles
I had came back home and put the car into park, I turned the engine off, and tried to pull out the key and the key was stuck in the on position.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #16

Oct 292012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Power steering message on dash; security light comes on; RPM, speed, and gas gauges jump, transmission jerks, clicking in center console under shifter. After turning engine off for period of time runs like normal, restart an drive for period of time and power steering goes out while driving.

- Knoxville, AR, USA

problem #15

Jul 042012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
After traveling back and forth from one county to another (approx 130 miles roundtrip) as I exited the fwy the car was driving normal except for I was on empty at this point. I came to a complete stop when light turned green I began to accelerate. Upon acceleration at approx. 10-15mph the car made a hard jerking motion as though it was having a hard time shifting gears however my 06 HHR is an automatic. At this point I also noticed that the check engine light had now illuminated on the instrument panel. I took the car straight home and did not attempt to drive again for 3-4 days. Then one day I drove it approx 15 miles all was good. I went shopping upon leaving the car still appeared to be normal. Then while on the fwy approx 70mph I noticed the check engine light on again as well as the T/C light (traction control) the car continued to drive "normal" but once I came to a stop on the offramp and began to accelerate the jerking motion happened again. I've noticed that on a few occasions this happens once the gas is on empty. I also noticed on one occasion that once I had put a little over half a tank of gas in as well as a bottle of fuel injector cleaner that the indicator lights shut off as well as the jerking had disappears. We have had the transmission flushed and still the problem persists. Aside from that when you try to remote start the engine once the check engine light has come on the remote start no longer works. You hear the electrical all come on but that's it. Then all of a sudden the other night I attempt to exit my car and the driver door handle snapped right off. My husband contacted the local dealership requesting price for the part and was told $300+. I just found the piece for $63 online...unbelievable! but the handle broke so easily. I didn't pull hard. If I had the door would've at least popped open a lil. But it didn't budge.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 012012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 21,706 miles


Some portion of the shifter mechanism failed. It allows the vehicle to shift gears at will, with or without a key and with or without the engine running. It also allows the vehicle to be put into gear without depressing the brake pedal. The vehicle can 'bump' from 'park' into any gear and from any gear to any other gear, including "reverse". while driving, one bump caused it to shift into 'neutral'. another caused a downshift. One can leave turn off the ignition & leave the car without putting it securely into 'park'. I am not positive, but I believe I could also make the steering column lock while the ignition was on. I tried this while attempting to remove the key. I did nto want to try again, fearing I would make the situation worse. Additionally, the key is now retained in the ignition and can not be removed. The car can be more easily stolen. (on mine, I found out how to force the key out of the ignition. But the gear shifter can still bump around.) the mentioned crash was from exiting the car either without it being securely in 'park' or from having it fallout of 'park'. it rolled into a parked vehicle. I entered "0 mph" because I wasn't there to see the car roll. It was on a small enough incline that no damage was done other than scratches.

- Berkley, MI, USA

problem #13

Jun 222012


  • 69,000 miles
For about a month my key kept getting stuck in the ignition but I could always get it out myself. I would shift from "park" to "drive" and then back to "park" to remove it. Finally one day I could not remove it. I brought it to the dealership and had to have a part in the shifter replaced to fix the problem. Apparently the "car" could no longer recognize it was in park and safe to remove the keys. The cost was $250 and now the key still sticks. It seems like this is a real problem and Chevy should take responsibility for it.

- Montpelier, VT, USA

problem #12

Jun 072012


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that she shifted into park and the key would not remove from the ignition. The contact also stated that the button located on the gear shift was jammed inside of the shifter itself. Due to the jamming of that button, the gear shift moved freely between gears even though the brake pedal was not depressed. The dealer and manufacturer were not notified. The failure mileage was 82,000.

- West Memphis, AR, USA

problem #11

May 082012


  • 64,186 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet HHR. The contact was unable to remove the key from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technician advised that the gear shifter would have to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 64,186.

- Woodridge, IL, USA

problem #10

Apr 102012


  • 154,000 miles
Display showed power steering error and transmission box was clicking. Car started bucking as if transmission was going out. Took to dealer who could not replicate error after three days. Picked up car and now cd player shows err O. this is frustrating as heck! dealer did say that there was a bulletin that 2006 HHR's did have this type of problem. Dealer rep. Owns 2007 HHR and hoped he did not have the same issue. Spent over $700 total and problem still there" Chevrolet / GM where is your loyalty to your loyal customers" issue a recall and fix these issues before there are deaths because of them and you are forced to do what is right by the gov.'t.

- Plumas Lake, CA, USA

problem #9

Nov 192011

HHR 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
My gear shifter is malfunctioning. It is stuck in park. I do not have reliable transportation and would like this repair to be on the recall list with Chevy being that there are a multitude of complaints about the gear shifter.

- Stonemountain, GA, USA

problem #8

Nov 052011

HHR 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
I put my car in park and when I went to take the key out of the ignition it would not come out. I realized that the key would not come out because the gear shifter piece was pushed all the way in, it was broke. This meant that my car was left on and the battery was drained because I could not turn my car off. Now my car will not start at all the battery is charged but the car will not turnover. I have looked online and have found that there are many complaints concerning the same problem with this vehicle. I am told by the dealership that I have to pay $710 to have this problem fixed. Can you please look into this because this seems to be a big problem.

- Claymont, DE, USA

problem #7

Aug 102011


  • miles
I am scared, for my family's safety fear that this vehicle will stall and we will crash or be hit by some one...when a vehicle stalls you loose all power...that is power steering, brakes.....the ability to maintain control of your vehicle I am attaching a link that GM should review.....danger this vehicle is an accident waiting to happen !!!!!!!!!!!!! copy this link to your web browser http-// if you would prefer I can send a typed transcript (word for word) of this news broadcast? I will not allow my wife and kids life to be put in danger, by letting them ride in this vehicle this vehicle is unsafe and should be recalled the link I am attaching shows a news broadcast in raleigh nc. On channel 11 news !!!!! involving number 12 issue on my long list below with the Chevy HHR stalling while driving..... I purchased a 2006 Chevy HHR lt, in 2007. Since I have purchased this vehicle the following issues have occurred. Mileage on car 33,346 1) the key locked up in ignition..9/06/07 2) shifter froze up and would not come out of park.. 9/06/07 3) headliner trim ? energy absorption capability 4) front end and whole car started to shake when applying brake..9/06/07 dealer turned rotors( but did not fix issue) 5) replaced driver side running board..9/06/07. 6) got in vehicle one morning tried to take kids to school, vehicle would not go over 15 mph, had towed back to lawson Chevrolet. Working on getting date/mileage..this issue occurred twice before.

- Cosby, TN, USA

problem #6

Feb 132011


  • miles
Key will not come out of the ignition when in park due to a plastic part in the shifter breaking. This will not allow the shift lock actuator to engage and release the keys. There is an ignition unlocking mechanism under the steering column but that leaves the gear shifter able to move freely from gear at all times, even while driving. This is occurs everyday. The dealer replaces at the owner's expense with the same defective part.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #5

Sep 112009


  • 48,000 miles
I pulled my car into the driveway at home and shifted into park and when I attempted to remove the key it would not turn all the way to the removal position. So I moved the shift lever again and noted that the shift button didn't pop out when I put it into park. I knew then that the key would not come out until the vehicle was put into park which the shift lever was not allowing. I took the vehicle straight to my GM dealer service manager who stated that I was the sixth or seventh customer who had had this problem in the last 12 months. The manager called me back and told me that my car was out of warranty and the cost would be $215.04. I was concerned that this was not a recall item since he had done so many in a town of 4500 people and that in my opinion it would put someone in an emergency situation at risk of having their car stolen if the couldn't take their keys out in a large city. I contacted customer service at GM but was told that they couldn't do anything for me, even thought a service bulletin on how to do the repair had been sent to all GM service departments. To me, that sounds like a recall should have been issued. Yes, I paid to have the part replaced, but I still thank it is the manufactures fault and not mine. The recall would have been made before my warranty expired. Also the service manager reported that the Chevrolet cobalt also has this problem.

- Comanche, TX, USA

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