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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,470 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments

problem #18

Mar 012016


  • 7,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would begin to shake and make a loud pop noise from underneath the front-end. The vehicle would than stall causing the contact to have the vehicle towed. The traction warning light was illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the air duct was fractured and needed to be replaced however, the failure occurred again. The contact returned the vehicle to the dealer and replaced the vehicle's battery, fuel pumps, and the fuel injectors. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 7,000.

- Balley, AL, USA

problem #17

Apr 112016


  • miles
Once again my check engine light is on. I have had this car since 2013 with 16000 miles on it. The first time the check engine light came on the dealership try to tell me it was the gas I was using. Come to find out it was the air intake hose was cracked....that was a little over a year ago and now it is on again!!! the first it was barely covered under warranty, I dont think it will this time. I am pissed.....I paid 17000 for this car and have had in the shop so many times it isnt even funny. I even had it in for the sway bar link that was broke which shouldnt have been at 42000 miles.

- Covington, OH, USA

problem #16

Mar 302016


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. While reversing the vehicle, the passenger side lower control arm fractured. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was not yet determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 130,000.

- Stanton, CA, USA

problem #15

Jul 232012


  • 22,272 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. While driving 5 mph, the front driver side stabilizer shaft link joint was lose at the bar. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician replaced the stabilizer shaft link three times. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 22,272.

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #14

Jul 232015


  • 38,000 miles
1. car loses power when accelerating/hesitation - sometimes almost feeling like the car will shut down. It's random but happening more often. Car was repaired once already for this, was better for about 3-4 months and now is doing it again. Extremely dangerous when merging onto highways or making right turns on red or switching lanes. 2. wiper fluid was not working, recall issue, but not on my car. Repaired once and now not working again! 3. something's wrong with electrical system, stereo changing stations, turning itself on and off, very loud screeching sounds occasionally, repaired with an update but still happening. 4. very strange sounds coming from suspension, it started when backing up I was told they could not find a problem 2 times, however, now it's happening while driving, in reverse and it's getting worse! 5. steering is very difficult on a windy day when on the highway. Very hard to keep the car in the lane. 6. car feels like it's trying to accelerate when stopped at a light or stop sign with foot on the break. 7. electrical system/interior lights all dimming when wipers are turned on. Service told me the wiper motor is a big drain on a small engine? now my car is out of warranty and I still have all these issues!! I do not feel that this car is safe or well built. It took me over 10 years to get to a point where I could afford a new hello, went with Chevrolet to keep it "american". I feel like I made a huge mistake purchasing this vehicle....updated 10/20/15

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

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problem #13

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 #12

Aug 062014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 69,200 miles


All ten (10) airbags failed to deploy when my car was struck by a driver attempting to pass me on the left as I was turning left. That driver was speeding, crossed the double-yellow line to pass, did not have insurance nor a driver's license. My driver's door took the initial impact strike and was deeply creased as the other car continued forward into mine, then the front left wheel was struck; the wheel and a rod connected flew off, my fender was obliterated, engine components were smashed, and my car spun around at least 200 degrees. The other driver was going so fast, it continued forward more than 150 feet before the driver could get his vehicle to stop after striking my car. The insurance company deemed my car a total loss. During the accident, my head violently struck the door frame and I was knocked unconscious. It is a miracle from god that I wasn't killed! my husband is livid to think I could have died... and to think that the 10 airbags were a big selling point for us when purchasing the vehicle. We thought we were getting a safe vehicle. We feel lied to and abused as there is nothing that can be done about this--so says an attorney--since I was not seriously injured nor killed. After my insurance company pays, I'll still owe about $4000 on my new-ish Chevy Sonic, and I am still required to pay the balance to ally (holding the loan for this GM car) for a product that didn't perform as it should have to keep me safe. How is this not a crime" isn't this robbery" GM should provide some kind of assistance since it advertised untrue statements about the vehicle. If we would have known the car was unsafe, we would not have bought it. There's too little justice in America these days. GM, if you will make this right, I will place a full page advertisement in my newspaper telling everyone you took responsibility for your fault.

- Teague, TX, USA

problem #11

Aug 052014


  • 1,200 miles
Current mileage is 26,985 1. car seems to lose power when accelerating and hesitates (almost shutting down), it happens randomly while driving as well and is now happening more and more often. It' very dangerous when crossing intersections or making a right on red and especially dangerous when accelerating to enter a highway. 2. rear suspension makes strange noises upon backing up/stopping; 3. very bad odor coming from A/C vents....disgusting, almost smells like plastic burning or burning rotten eggs; 4. I hear strange noises in the back brakes, not constant but random and getting louder when it does happen; 5. wiper fluid not working, I've been told this is a recall issue; 6. the automatic dashboard lights are constantly changing, most especially when turning the wipers on/off. It doesn't seem to matter if you're in complete darkness or daylight. 7. sometimes the car will not lock until you put the key back in the ignition, restart the car, take it out of park and put it back in park. Sometimes I have to do this 2 or 3 times, each time getting back out of the car to try to lock it. 8. steering this car on the highway at highway speeds is difficult...the car swerves and if it's a windy day it's beyond difficult to keep this car in the lane. Very dangerous. 9. the radio turns itself on and off as it pleases. It took me years to be able to finally purchase a new car and now there are not only 6 recalls on the car but I also have all the additional problems listed above. There's a 45 day wait to have the recalls repaired and event with that I am now going to have to take a day off of work without pay to get this crap all fixed! I feel like I have wasted my money. So much for expecting reliability and quality.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 102012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
The car has a popping noise when backing over a curb or turning slowly. Ferman dealership in brandon, fl. Could not find anything wrong. 2012 Sonics have had many complaints about the popping noise under car. Seems to be a suspension problem. Dealer said they have not heard any complaints. They are not telling the truth.

- Wimauma, FL, USA

problem #9

Sep 302013

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 21,765 miles
I brought my car in because there was something wrong with the steering. I asked that an oil change be done and when I picked it up the car had white smoke coming out of the engine and had a strong burning smell. There was a lot of smoke I was only gone 10 minutes from the dealer before I had to bring it back. Brought it back dealer said they smelled burning and sprayed a deodorizer in vents to mask it, but they did not address the smoking that is still happening. Filed compliant with GM requesting a buy back of vehicle. I bought the vehicle the first year it was out, and have also had multiple issues with the front end, air conditioner not to mention that the dealer dropped car off rack and caused damaged.

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #8

Aug 282012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 3,600 miles


The rumbling/rubbing noise began on the passenger side of the front end of the car. With only 3,000+ miles on the car it was still under warranty and was taken to the service department. They found a leaking rf strut and noisy mount and replaced both parts. The replaced part seemed to remedy the rumbling problem but the front end still seemed unforgiving when it was driven on rough pavement. We began hearing a groaning/ rubbing/ grinding noise when the car was turning corners or while turning on an incline especially to the right and at 8,000 miles we returned the car and the service department said it was operating okay. The noise continued and at 13,000+ miles we returned the car and the service department found the mount to be binding on turns and replaced the rf strut mount. Again, the problem remained and finally a service technician rode with us and heard the noise and agreed that it was not supposed to be there. So at 15,000 miles the car was in the service department for two and a half weeks. They replaced the rf strut and mount because the strut was not setting flush in the mount. During the time the car was in the shop the technician called and said they were able to fix the issue but there was still another noise they heard and they needed more time to work on it. We requested a ride along with the service technician and the noise was absent on turning right at a slow speed but very apparent now in the front end of the car when turning in to park at the service department. At that time we requested to speak with the service manager and are in the process of negotiating a deal for a different car as this seems to be an on-going issue. We loved the great gas mileage and sporty look but the suspension seems to be troubled.

- Collinsville, OK, USA

problem #7

Jul 032013

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 3,642 miles
Having heard rattling in the front of her Sonic my daughter took the car to the dealership where purchased. The main complaint was rattling from the front of her vehicle only. After much run around(from a supposed 5 star service department) they told her that it was intermittent and that they would not be able to find or duplicate the problem. So they sent her on her way. Last week she was driving home and heard a loud bang. She thought she hit something or something hit her. No damage was displayed on the vehicle or in the roadway. A mystery bang for sure. I drove the car and heard nothing. Not saying that there is nothing wrong but my daughters, as is everyone's, safety is at risk here. I am taking my daughters car back to the dealership and with recalls in hand will request inspections of every part on the recalls.

- Calverton, NY, USA

problem #6

Apr 092012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 30 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, she noticed a loud rattling noise coming from the front end of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer five times for diagnosis. The technicians were unable to diagnose the failure. The contact stated the last time the failure occurred, the front passenger's side tire blew. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 30.

- Edgewater, FL, USA

problem #5

May 192012

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 13,386 miles
First time the strut mount was replace with strut. I never heard the rubber tension/binding noise. The strut started making a popping noise before I took it to dealer at 13386 miles. It was finally duplicated at 19885 miles to have mount and strut replaced. 65886 mile replacing strut and mount again. 75922 stabilizer bar end links (per recall) 84869 only strut mount was replaced again 87000 strut mount has begun to make rubber tension/binding noise again. GM has been notified and I am working with local dealership and district specialist.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 212011


  • 100 miles
My vehicle is unsafe I purchased the car in September have control issues at highway speeds my car sways all over the road dealer will not help me.I am not the only one complaints online everywhere please investigate this car before someone gets killed for driving and unsafe car.

- Bridgeview , IL, USA

problem #3

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 #2

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 #1

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

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