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:
32,671 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 232015


  • 37,000 miles


While driving at highway speed on a two lane road at night, applied brakes to avoid animal in road. Conditions were clear and road was dry. There was plenty of time to slow to avoid animal so this was not a panic stop. Upon application of brakes, headlights went out. Dash lights stayed on making it impossible to see out of the vehicle. Applied brakes with more urgency and all four wheels locked. Vehicle skidded straight until the right tires made contact with the right shoulder. The car then spun counter clockwise back onto the roadway, across both lanes, and came to rest on the shoulder of the oncoming lane (approximately one and one-half revolutions). Skid marks on highway confirmed the wheel lock and the spin. Car was shut off and re-started and all systems worked fine. Unable to duplicate the problem.

- Casper, WY, USA

problem #4

Dec 222014


  • 39,000 miles
I have had multiple problems with this car, but the latest is the engine light, reduced power light, and the gas cap. While driving the engine light, and reduced power light came on. The car immediately slowed down which almost caused an accident because I was going 45 mph. Took the car to [xxx], and they couldn't find the problem. They decided to replace the computer system on the car because it was still covered by warranty. The light came back on five days later, but this time I was on the interstate in the tunnel. I barely made it out without causing an accident. Lastly, I went to the gas station and couldn't get the gas cap off. I had to use a wrench to get the gas cap off. Bought another gas cap and it did the same thing. I only have 40,000 miles on this car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #3

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 #2

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 #1

Oct 242012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 10,357 miles
This car has so many problems. I have had it to the dealership on 4 separate occasions and it is getting ready to go in for the 5th time. Each time so far I have been told the same thing...."it doesn't throw any codes and we can't get it to duplicate the issue so there is nothing to be done but just keep driving it and bring it back if it keeps happening"....{whatever did mechanics do back in the day before cars had computers?} - anyway, the transmission is automatic and acts like it is grabbing and doesn't want to shift up through the gears so it feels like hard shifting (started before it even had 10,000 miles on it) - it doesn't do it all the time, but often enough that it is a problem that I worry about (it's even done it when on cruise control a couple of times). Now, at less than 30,000 miles the car is idling rough and when I press the brakes it makes a noise in the shifter? the autolights adjust themselves even when there is no change in lighting outdoors (pitch black night and the lights will dim down for no reason at 45mph running down the road with no other vehicles around, etc.) and the radio adjusts its volume the same way and it even turns itself off randomly. The traction control and stability trac lights come on sometimes, stay on for awhile and then go off. Now that it's getting hot and I'm running the ac, it is acting up also - blowing full blast then dropping down, then back up again.... - dealer insists, no codes thrown, won't replicate problem when they have it, therefore no problem exists - this car has problems - I would not recommend a Sonic to anyone. Please investigate transmissions and electrical issues in these cars.

- Chelsea, OK, USA

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