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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,693 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.

2009 Chevrolet HHR electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Chevrolet HHR Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Jan 162013

HHR 4-cyl

  • 97,500 miles


I pulled in my driveway and put the car in park and could not turn off the key. I tried to everything, steering wheel, key, shifter, brakes, etc and I could not turn the car off or get the key out. I had to pull a fuse to get the car to shut down. This problem is similar, if not exactly, the same of other complaints on this type car. I will probably have to have it towed and repaired by a dealer at great expense. Not good for GM.

- Fayetteville, TN, USA

problem #53

Nov 222012


  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the key became lodged in the ignition switch, preventing the engine from being turned off. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact that the problem was caused by an electrical failure. The manufacturer referred the contact to the dealer to have the repairs performed. The failure mileage was 43,000.

- Big Falls, MN, USA

problem #52

Oct 272012


  • 60,000 miles
Buyers beware: On Saturday evening we put the HHR into park and went to turn off the key and the key got stuck in the ignition. Tried several times to reput the car into gear and turn they key but it was permanently stuck in the on position. Had to wind up pulling a fuse out of the engine to cut off the car. Just took it to the dealership and they are refusing to acknowledge a problem and are forcing us to pay hundreds of dollars to get the car fixed. They are also blaming us for pulling the fuse and it causing an indicator light to come on.

- Olar, SC, USA

problem #51

Aug 072012


  • 70,123 miles


I received a power steering failure message on the dash at the same time that I lost power steering while going home from dropping off my child at daycare. I drove home without the power steering, when I shut off the car and restarted it I had power steering again. This power steering failure has happened multiple times on the highway, residential neighborhoods and in parking lots; in total about 10-15 incidents in the last month.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #50

Oct 192012

HHR 4-cyl

  • miles
We own a Chevrolet HHR which loses power steering almost immediately after turning the car on. We have had many many problems with this car since the beginning. Mainly steering column problems and power steering issues. We almost got into an accident while taking a right at low speed because of how hard the ''power'' (not) steering was. This has to be fixed now!!! it's been a well known problem since the beginning of the HHR line up. How come this issue has been partially recognized and taken care of on some vehicles with the exact part numbers"? cobalt, G5?, anyone". please research this problem.

- Coachella, CA, USA

problem #49

Oct 032012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Key stuck in the iginition car still running. Key release doesn't work. Car was left running all night.

- Fort Stewart, GA, USA

problem #48

Jul 252012


  • 55,000 miles


Like others, there were some warning beeps and the message appeared on the dash "power steering". then the power steering went out. Once I cut the car off and back on, I had power steering back. This seems very similar to the reason for the recall on the cobalt and S5. Happened again on 7/26 and 7/27.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #47

Jul 232012


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the key was stuck in the ignition, which prevented him from shutting the vehicle off. The contact stated that in order to shut off the vehicle, he had to pull a fuse and disconnect the battery. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 67,000.

- Bridgewater , NJ, USA

problem #46

Jun 242012


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the key would not remove from the ignition and the vehicle would not shut off. The contact had to pull fuses and disconnect the battery in order to shut the vehicle off. The vehicle had not been inspected to determine the cause of failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were 51,000.

- Sacketes Harbor, NY, USA

problem #45

May 162012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
While driving in rain wiper's stopped working after playing with switch and stopping pulling over in a safe place when traffic would let me I turned car key switch off and back on twice and they started working again after dealing with this more then one time drove car to a dealer after two days they tell me the main fuse box has a short in it and will need to be replaced I have a bumper to bumper extended coverage after talking with the dealer they are telling me this is not covered in warranty they also called the dealer were I bought it and they looked it up and said the same fuse box not covered so it will cost me over $600 to fix car I fill this is a safety relative item and should be covered ? if a short in this fuse box stopped wipers could it start a fire as well.

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #44

Apr 292012


  • 75,000 miles


When I put my Chevrolet HHR into park and proceeded to turn the car off, the ignition switch was stuck in the on position and I was unable to turn the ignition to the off position while the car was still running. I had to disconnect the battery cable and remove a fuse to get the vehicle to turn off completely, and am having to take it to the dealership tomorrow for a repair.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #43

Apr 162012


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the key would not release from the ignition, therefore the engine could not be shut off. The contact had to disconnect the battery wires and the fuel pump fuse to shut the engine off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the dealer stated that the failure was located at the ignition lock cylinder. The dealer replaced the ignition lock cylinder. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN information was not available. The failure and the current mileages were 60,000.

- Rimrock , AZ, USA

problem #42

Dec 232011


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the vehicle would not shut off and the key would not remove from the ignition. The contact disconnected the fuel pump in order to shut off the vehicle. The failure recurred whenever the contact operated the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that the ignition switch failed. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #41

Apr 092012


  • 41,000 miles
After parking in the drive way around 11:30 pm the ignition key would not turn off. I tried to use the release plunger but ended up removing the lower steering column cover and forcing it over the key. Then I pulled the wire harness off which shut off the engine. I was able to start the car by putting the wire back on and twisting the key. The dealer said the key was bent and charged me $400 to replace the switch. They obviously used pliers to remove the key. While in their waiting room I read an article in a March issue of motor magazine that said this is a common problem for several cars including HHR's and they are not sure why. I feel this should have been on recall and not be charged to us. The keys may be too soft or it was a manufacturers defect in the first place.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #40

Apr 102012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
I have two issues going on with my HHR. Last evening I pull into my driveway and my key would not turn off engine and release. I have read hundreds of complaints with the same issues while I was trying to research how to turn off my car. My car ran in my driveway for 2 hours wasting gas until we figured out how to turn off car. The manual states that you can push a tumbler and turn the key to release it. The manual is not clear on what the tumbler is but the only movable piece inside steering wheel base did not help to release the key. We finally figured out how to pull the fuse to shut down the entire car. The dealership was closing around the time I started calling and their option to come leave the car without other transportation was not a good option for me with kids. Once fuse was out the car is sitting in my driveway with the key in it which is causing a whole other level of stress for me. I have to put fuse back in this morning and take to dealership to get my car fixed. From other complaints the fix should be the same. I don't understand if this is such a big issue why there is no recall on this. I also would like to know will we as loyal customers get a refund when they actually do decide to recall this apparent defective car. My other issue is the air bag light pops on for unspecified periods of time and says it needs serviced. It can go off for days and weeks at a time and then decide to pop back on. I have also been reading about this issue in the complaints and wondering why there is no recall on this issue as well.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #39

Apr 052012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 32,643 miles
I pulled into the gas station to get gas. I could not shut the car off nor remove the key. My 2009 cobalt had the same problem and was fixed due to a vehicle recall. However, my 2009 HHR had no recall on it even though it uses the exact same defective parts as the cobalt did. I am also concerned about the steering on the HHR since it shares the exact same mechanicals as the cobalt. The cobalt had a recall due to steering, however the HHR did not. A search for complaints on=line yielded many results. It appears that the HHR's are having the exact same problems yet the consumers are left with paying for the repairs. My GM dealer confirmed that the HHR uses the exact same faulty parts as the cobalt and he could not explain why the HHR was not covered in the recall either. He stated that they have had to fix just as many HHR's as they have cobalts... the only difference is that cobalt owners do not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses and HHR owners do. This is ridiculous.

- Sainte Genevieve, MO, USA

problem #38

Mar 242012


  • miles
Last night our 2009 HHR would not turn off, and the key was stuck in the ignition. After looking at all the correspondence online related to this problem, we tried everything to shut the car off. We attempted to depress the solenoid switch behind the square covering in the bottom of the steering column, disconnected the battery, and ended up pulling the fuel fuse. We were in a hospital garage, and placed in a compromising position with theft, and not knowing if the car was actually engaged in "park." It was Saturday night, and of course, it will be looked at by the Chevy dealer Monday morning. I truly hope this will be covered by a recall.

- Brandon, MS, USA

problem #37

Mar 162012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
2009 Chevy HHR - key stuck in ignition with engine running. Had to pull negative battery cable and ignition fuse to shut car off. Called dealer and they told me to bring it in. Reconnected battery cable and replaced fuse and car started up so I could drive to dealer. Chevy dealer stated ignition lock syl binding, removed and replaced cyl. I had to pay $300+ to have this fixed and since this is a known issue with HHR's, I feel GM should definitely do a recall as this is a serious safety issue. Also the service air bag light comes on randomly and can stay on the entire trip or go back out in a few minutes, only to come back on a few minutes later.

- Muncie, IN, USA

problem #36

Mar 182012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
The key is stuck in the ignition. The release button under the steering wheel does not release the keys. Fuses were taken out and the negative battery cable was disconnected to shut off the car. The dealer advised that this is a common problem and the ignition lock cylinder needs to be replaced. The dealer advised that repair would not be covered as the vehicle is well outside of the 36,000 mile warranty. The manufacturer was notified and also advised that the repair would not be covered. The vehicle has not been repaired.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #35

Mar 142012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact was unable to turn the key in the ignition. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the ignition housing and ignition switch had to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 55,000. Updated 04/19/12 the consumer stated the repairs cost $450. Updated 04/25/12

- Kinsman, OH, USA

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