Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,262 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Chevrolet HHR Owner Comments

problem #7

Feb 012014


  • miles


The electrical system in the car has shut down and has caused my power steering to go out while I am driving. It dings so I have some notice. But none the less really scary and very hard to turn going 20 mph. My brakes are very hard when this happens. My thermostat/ coolant information is currently displayed as dashes (----) across my dash, making this really difficult to know if it is hot or has run out and my ac is connected to this also so when it decides to work my ac will work. It will turn off and on while driving too. My mph reads my speed going 20 mph over what I am actually driving. My car has completely shut off while driving. The check engine light comes on and off making it more difficult to get codes.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Apr 132012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
I was driving my Chevy HHR when it started overheating and smoking and didn't seem safe to drive, so I had it towed to a dealership and was told that engine block cracked at about 147,000 miles due to overheating. I was told that it needed a new engine which would be 4,000. Wanting a second opinion, we had it towed to another mechanic who basically said the exact same thing. Then wecalled GM because the mechanic told him that there was a tech bulletin out on it and this was a known problem on the HHR's so we were hoping that GM would help us since the car was only 2 years old. GM said that they could probably help us but first we had to pay another 200 to get it towed to another Chevy dealership and then pay for the diagnosis. I was hesitant, but he told me that if we did that he should hopefully be able to help us out with the engine. We did all that, and they called us back this morning to say that the issue was exactly what we had told them from the beginning but not only would they not help us out at all, this dealership wants 6,000 for the new engine instead of the $4,000 that the first dealership quoted us. The mechanic said that he can't tell if the engine cracked because the car overheated, or if the car overheated because the engine cracked, but either way he said he can't tell if it's a manufacturers default or not so they're deciding to go with not so they don't have to help us.

- Port Chester, NY, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Apr 092012


  • 27,080 miles


Unable to remove the key from the igition. One hour later the car is still running and key is stuck. Disconnected the battery. Its 7pm will have it toaded to dealership in

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #3

Jan 142012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Key stuck in ignition after parking. Could not turn car off and could not remove key from ignition. More specifically, pulled into driveway, put vehicle in park and could not turn off vehicle or remove key from ignition switch opening. The key was stuck in the ignition and I could not pull it out of the ignition switch. Had to drive the car to the dealership where they removed gas pump fuse and car stopped running. Dealership today (1-15-2012) confirms there was a failure in the ignition switch and it needs to be replaced. I have a Chevy cobalt 2009 which has a recall on the ignition switch for this exact problem. These are basically the same kinds of car and so there should also be a recall on the HHR ignition switch, but apparently there is not one. Dealership says there is no recall on the HHR ignition switch, but there is on the cobalt ignition switch.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Jan 012012

HHR 4-cyl

  • 54,255 miles
I put the transmission into park and attempted to turn off the car and remove the key to go into a store. I could not turn the ignition switch to off or remove the key. I drove the car home and parked. I could still not turn the ignition switch to off or remove the key. Numerous attempts of putting car into reverse, or drive and into park did not solve the problem. The key was trapped in the ignition switch! called onstar and was forwarded to customer service; tow truck was called. Tow truck delivered car to dealership with engine still running. Problem diagnosed in ignition key cylinder which was replaced.

- Chapin, SC, USA

problem #1

Jun 032011

HHR 4-cyl

  • 35,500 miles
Last Friday I traveled to new orleans to perform a repair at a local furniture company. Upon my arrival I could not extract the key from the ignition of my vehicle. I called the dealer (ross downing Chevy in hammond, la) to find out how to extract the key. I was told to take it to a GM dealer I did so and returned to hammond, la and took my vehicle to the dealer where I purchased it brand new in Feb 2010. My vehicle is a Chevy HHR lt 2009. My engine temperature was also high (267F) and I could not shut it off. The dealer had their mechanic replace the faulty ignition switch and added coolant to the system. There was no leaks and no explanation why the cooling system had lost coolant. I am concerned about the operator of this vehicle not being able to shut off the engine. I asked the dealer if there where any recall / deficiencies on this vehicle and they said no. Why would a vehicle less than 18 months old have a faulty ignition switch?

- Hammond, LA, USA

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