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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,930 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments

problem #11

Jun 272015


  • 150,000 miles


Major concern: My power steering failed. The dealer said the power steering column needed to be replaced ($1,300). The car has high mileage (excess of 150,000). I have had several cars with similar mileage but never had the power steering fail. Since this is electronic steering there doesn't appear to be any warning/no preventative maintenance. Fortunately I was not on the highway at the time this occurred but in the driveway after having driven several hours the same day. We checked for relays in the fuse box but none are marked for the power steering. There were at least two previous times when backing out of my driveway that the power steering locked up but then started working fine. Dealer could not find the problem for the first two incidents. My car has been sitting in my driveway since June 2015 because I didn't feel safe driving if even it was fixed. I've always owned GM vehicles (for 36 years) but the lack of concern about this problem prompted me to purchase a Subaru. At the time of the steering failure I still owed 2 years on my loan. The second problem which I've complained about since the car was new was the transmission. There was always slow response when pulling away from a stop. It worsened after the car had been driven several hours. Again, nothing was diagnosed.

- Dowell, MD, USA

problem #10

Oct 242015


  • 81,000 miles
Key getting stuck in ignition. It doesn't do it all the time but when it does you have to start the car two or thre times before it comes out. I bought the car used from a Honda dealer. It has happened 6 times total. And I have had the car a month.

- Aberdeen, NC, USA

problem #9

Sep 062013


  • miles
Just got the car and the switch button is getting stuck and my key won't come out of the ignition it's been happening not every time I try to park it and won't stay fully in park.

- Willis, TX, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Nov 032014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
My 2012 Chevrolet Sonic has gotten its second flat tire from alignment issues, and is about to need a third tire replaced. The car has 26000 miles with a clean bill of health, other then major steering issues. The tires completely run bald on the outer edge of the tire, and a shaking is experienced at all speeds while driving the car. I had taken it to the dealership about this issue, but was told it was happening because I am not doing an alignment every 6500 to 7500 miles; which I find to be ridiculous. I have never heard of having to align a car that frequently. So there verdict this far is I have to by all new tires and get an alignment done on my car with only 26,000 miles. I contacted corporate headquarters out of frustration caused from the dealer ship writing me off twice, and saying its nothing to do with the car. Unfortunately corporate was unwilling to rectify this situation because of the same reason, it is considered wear and tear. I don't know how a car with such low miles could already have such a horrible alignment, requiring three tires to be changed. I have drove Chevy's my whole life and have never experienced anything comparable to this.

- Coral Gables, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 292014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
I was driving down a 7% grade going down hill at 50 miles an hour my car shut off, steering locked and brakes didn't work the only thing I could use was the emergency brake if I wasn't calm and used my head me and my son would have died. My car now is making a loud noise and shaking after it warms up. My shifter gets stuck and I cant park or take my key out. Everything in this car is an alarm for danger or death. I've called the dealership and they don't return my calls. I finally got a hold of them and they said I can bring it in but its not covered under warranty. We don't have that kind of money for repairs like this.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #5

Oct 192013

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles


During an continuous left had turn in a parking lot the steering locked up not allowing for the steering wheel to be brought back to center causing loss of control and collision with a curb inside of a parking lot. Once impact with right front tire was made and damage sustained, minimal steering was regained allowing for car to be maneuvered to a safe location.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #4

Jul 112011

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that he could hear a grinding noise whenever making a turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the failure might have been cause by a defective suspension. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who offered to send a lubrication kit to remedy the problem. The failure mileage was 12,000....updated 10/19/12 updated 10/25/2012

- Killingworth, CT, USA

problem #3

Feb 252012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
We bought the Chevy Sonic brand new, off the dealers lot. When driving at 55 mph or above we found that the car drifts excessively and is very hard to keep in the lane. On a few occasions driving at posted highway speeds we were forced to slow down because of radical swerving. Our first complaints to the service department were answered with "it's the new electronic steering, you'll get used to it" after driving a few more weeks with no improvement, we took it back in to the service department to have it looked at. A notice concerning the belly pan causing steering problems on cars built before January 2012 was recognized and it was removed from our vehicle which helped only a small amount. Upon two more visits to the service department, nothing else was found. Both my wife and I have driven a variety of new vehicles including small cars with a combined driving experience of 70 years and this is the first time we've had an issue with a new vehicle. The steering on this car is dangerous and needs to be resolved before someone gets hurt.

- Marion, MI, USA

problem #2

May 162012


  • 670 miles
We purchased a new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic sedan. The first time that we drove it at highway and interstate speeds we noticed that the vehicle was very difficult to keep in the driving lane. We returned to the dealer and after a new set of tires, then later a new set of larger wheels and tires there has been some improvement in handling. I am 55 years old and have driven many different cars and trucks and this is the worst driving vehicle ever. This car is dangerous to drive and something needs to be done about it. It is the worst on concrete roads that have been ground but handling is always bad. I hope you will take a serious look at this car before someone gets killed.

- Malden, MO, USA

problem #1

May 082012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 706 miles
The steering wheel started "hunting" (shaking left and right) and resisted attempts to steer the vehicle. Although the car was still controllable, it was difficult to handle. This happens both while stopped and while driving. The problem is intermittent and is not thermal (will happen both at cold start-up and when vehicle is up to operating temperature. It is not effected by ambient temperature). The dealer reprogrammed the electronic brake control module with sps 155 WT40, stating the current programming was incorrect. The invoice reported a code: "C0710 symptom 4B sensor not learned relearn steering sensor". the problem returned after approx 100 miles of use. Additionally, onstar notified me (approx 25 May 2012) that the backup battery for its system was faulty and required immediate service. I mention this because I do not know if the backup battery for onstar is common to any backup systems for the Sonic's computers. I am returning the vehicle to the dealer for additional investigation and service.

- Hales Corners, WI, USA

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