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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is fairly new & is already showing an early trend of transmission problems.

Owners report hesitation when shifting & grinding/hard shifting into gears. Some dealers are calling the condition "normal". Another owner reported his dealership replaced the transmission under warranty, but the new transmission had the same exact grinding problem. Design defect?


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,387 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.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #59

Jun 302015


  • 66,655 miles


Gear shift button stuck in depressed position unable to put the car in park and remove key and have to try and pop out button to park car and remove key.

- Glendale , AZ, USA

problem #58

Jun 212015


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that the gear shift failed to engage in the park position without warning. As a result, the gear shift switched back into reverse and the vehicle rolled independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 58,000.

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #57

Jun 102015


  • 28,765 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. While driving 20-25 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealer diagnosed that the air duct/valve cracked and the transmission cable failed. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 28,765.

- Washington, PA, USA

problem #56

Jun 012015


  • 26,700 miles


Gear shift button got stuck in down position and would not disengage when gear shift was in placed in park. The car could not be completely turned off and the key could not be removed from the ignition. The incident happened three days after the warranty expired on the car. The gear shift had to be replaced at a cost of $450.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #55

May 262015


  • 44,673 miles
During the last week had problems with the key not releasing from steering column. The last two days gear shifter getting very hard to shift and button sticks and key will not release, and wheels will not lock. Have had to leave the key in car which is not a very safe thing to do. Have noticed today that the button after awhile will pop out and then the key will release. This is a safety issue and needs to be recalled before things get worse which apparently is going to happen..

- Lyndonville, NY, USA

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problem #54

Apr 282015


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that while driving at 35 mph, the ignition key remained stuck and failed to turn. As a result, the vehicle was unable to be driven. The failure recurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission turbine shaft fractured and the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. The VIN was not available.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #53

Nov 032014


  • 37,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. While attempting to park, the shifter could not be switched to park. In addition, when in park, the vehicle failed to shift into drive or reverse. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 37,000.

- 281-691-1422, TX, USA

problem #52

May 062015


  • 27,110 miles
The shift knob button is sticking. I cannot remove the key from the vehicle. More importantly the car is never fully in park. This is a major safety issue. I took it to the dealership I purchased the car from immediately. He said the car was out of warranty and that was not a recall. There should be a recall as soon as possible.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #51

Apr 142015


  • 34,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. While driving 25 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle started to slow down. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and it was determined that the transmission turbine shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and informed that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V375000 (power train). The failure mileage was 34,000.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #50

Mar 302015

Sonic 4WD 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The shifter button sticks when pressed. This does not allow the key to be released. It also doesn't lock the gear shift into place allowing the shifter to move from park to 1 gear with no intervention.

- Goodyear, AZ, USA

problem #49

Oct 272014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • miles


2012 Chevrolet Sonic. Attorney representing consumer writes in regards to parts not available to complete recall. The dealer kept the vehicle for 18 days without performing any work. Recall # 14V315000.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #48

Mar 142015


  • 32,000 miles
The gear shift button was locked in park and I could not release the key from the steering column. After researching on the internet, advice said to push hard to the left on the gear shift to pop the button back out. I did that while jostling the button and it did pop out. When I pressed the button again, this time in neutral, the button got stuck within the gear shift column again, but I found that I could then just push the gear shift forward and back between gears without the button locking on the desired gear. This is a major safety issue because it appeared to me that if I were driving, the gear shift column could move to another gear if I hit a pot hole or bump, without me controlling it. In other words, it might have slipped into neutral or reverse. Shouldn't there be a recall on this? I have to take it to the dealer Wednesday, and if this happens again, I will have to drive the trip with my hand on the gear shift knob to insure it will not slip out of gear.

- Nags Head, NC, USA

problem #47

Dec 182014


  • 30,000 miles
When placing the car in park the gear shifter button gets stuck and doesn't disengage. Since it doesn't disengage the keys can't be removed from the car. If the car is placed in reverse or drive the button stays stuck causing the shifter to be engaged and able to freely shift into reverse or park while driving. This has happened on several occasion and most often in colder temperatures.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #46

Feb 182015


  • 41,000 miles
(automatic transmission) button on gear shift gets stuck in engage. Allows free shifting from park to any gear without the brake pedal being pressed. May easily be bumped into neutral, drive, reverse, or manual with just a touch. Also applies if in drive or any other gear which may result in loss of control if it should accidentally be bumped. When this occurs, it is not possible to remove the key from the ignition. This exposes the vehicle to the potential of theft or other unauthorized use. This video illustrates the same issue with a 2013 Sonic: Https://

- Port Crane, NY, USA

problem #45

Feb 062015

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
I have a 2012 Chevy Sonic and the gearshift will not lock into place and an accidental bump will knock the car into another gear which could be dangerous to me and others. Reading online threads, I have noticed that this affecting many other cars of this make and model. I notice that GM wait until the last minute to issue recalls. I just hope that it is not to late for me and my family.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #44

Jan 012012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
A few months after purchasing my 2012 Chevy Sonic, I've noticed a decease in power and hesitation in its automatic shifting between gears. I've taken it in several times with the same issue, and each time the service techs (even the service manager) has told me and explained that it is behaving "normal" and "to design". if it were "normal" why hadn't it done that driving right off the lot"?? and why is it, years later, its shifting hesitation has gotten worse to the point of severe jerking as it shifts from one gear to another, as if someone were learning how to drive stick for the first time?????" there is nothing "normal" about how my vehicle is performing. It is complete[xxx] that I've been getting the run around about this issue for years. And they refuse to admit there's a problem, nor will they service it, which makes my vehicle ineligible to be claimed as a lemon, which it obviously is!!! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #43

Jan 162015

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 48,419 miles
The button to release the car out of gear, and once in park that releases the key came apart. It has been sticking for awhile then all of a sudden, something sharp started poking out of the bottom of the button, and it has cut my husband's hand. Now the button barely pushes in and the car is very hard to get out of park.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #42

Dec 022014


  • 39,000 miles
When I place the car in park the gear shift will not completely release or register the car is in park. My key will not release, and I have to place the car in drive then park several times before the key will release.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #41

Jan 092015


  • 40,758 miles
Gear shift knob sticks preventing removal of key. 2. gear shift knob will not return to normal position preventing steering wheel to lock when vehicle is unoccupied, this seems to be common problem with this vehicle. There are many complaints of similar nature on web forums.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #40

Jan 012013


  • 34,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that the transmission became difficult to shift and hesitated to respond. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician diagnosed that the turbo transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the problem persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the technician stated that the valve, transmission fluid and a gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the problem recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer a third time but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 34,000.

- Akron, OH, USA

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