really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,237 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.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments

problem #18

Sep 112016


  • 38,000 miles


Automatic shifter button remains in depressed position, even when vehicle is in park, 1) preventing removal of key and 2) allowing free movement from park to reverse, drive, neutral or vice versa. Stationary, whenever I park. After some minutes the button may pop out, but problem is getting worse.

- Carson City, NV, USA

problem #17

Aug 012016


  • miles
When shifting gears, the button mechanism will not release once the lever is in the desired gear, making the shift itself prone to sliding between the different gears and putting the driver at risk for accidents. There is also a specific issue with the shift when the lever is placed in "park" position; the key cannot be released by the ignition.

- Lemoore, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 072016


  • 29,300 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. While the vehicle was stationary, the button on the shifting lever became stuck and would not release when the vehicle was shifted into park. As a result, the ignition key became stuck in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to be repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 29,300.

- Craftsbury, VT, USA

problem #15

Jul 102016


  • 50,000 miles


Vehicle shift knob button is sticking. Allows the car to be shifted with little force and caused the key to lock in the ignition.

- Woonsocket, RI, USA

problem #14

May 022016


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. When the vehicle was placed in the park position, the engine turned off and it was difficult to remove the key from the ignition. The contact stated that the button on the shift lever seized. The contact stated that the shift lever had to be tapped to disengage the button and remove the key from the ignition. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 56,000.

- Monticello, KY, USA

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problem #13

Dec 012015


  • 26,000 miles
The gear shift button gets stuck in depressed position, preventing removal of the key from ignition when in park position and allows the shifter to shift between gears and park positions with little-to-no intervention. Inability disengage button and to remove the key from the ignition also creates inability to securely park the vehicle and turn the vehicle off. This appears to be a common problem are there are plenty of forums online about the topic. Here is a video of someone else having the same problem I'm having: Https://www.youtube.com/watch?V=tmuxp0bxtvi this is extremely dangerous and I don't undertand how GM hasn't recalled it. The car becomes literally impossible to park. It happened to me when I got home one night and I almost to leave the key in the ignition overnight because it wouldn't come out, which would had probaly killed the battery. Thankfully after minutes of turning the car on and off and shiftting gears it finally came out.

- Hallandale, FL, USA

problem #12

Jul 072015


  • 22,000 miles


I was going up hill approaching a parking space in the garage where I work. I went to turn into the parking space and my turbo engine sped up and slammed me into the garage wall. The air bags were deployed. There was a malfunction on this Chevy Sonic. If I had parked on the top floor, I would probably have been killed since it would have crashed down into the street. I my arms and my one leg was burned by the air bags.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #11

Jun 272015


  • 52,500 miles
I took the car in for an oil change where a transaxle leak was noticed. I then made an appointment to bring to dealer as per transmission warranty. They replaced the seal, 3 weeks later when they got it in, I left only to find my engine light still on, I then brought it to a parts store for a read and it came back oxygen sensor. I later was looking under hood and found that the air intake hose is cracked as I pulled it off I found it to be cracked with hole in more than one place, I will now replace that and hope the engine light goes off.

- Akron, NY, USA

problem #10

Feb 242014


  • 5,000 miles
When stopped the vehicle would lunge forward without warning. Vehicle was taken to dealer for service and they replaced the 1-2-3-4 clutch. The problem first appeared in 2013, vehicle currently has 31460 miles and is starting to exhibit the same symptoms of the original problem two years later.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #9

Jan 072015

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 17,900 miles
Vehicle is loosing coolant and a small puddle of coolant developed under the passenger side of vehicle. Coolant temperature light came on indicating overheating while taking vehicle in for service. Dealer determined that a faulty seal was causing the water pump to leak coolant.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #8

Jan 202015


  • 37,000 miles


The shifter button would get stuck when shifting and can change into park or drive or reverse with out holding the button in.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #7

Jan 212015


  • miles
Our 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is an automatic and when we were driving in it the button to shift it fell off. It had to be put back, which was difficult, while stepping on the brake. It sticks and I am afraid it will stick and shift and cause a serious accident.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #6

Jan 202015

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 30,921 miles
I was driving down the highway at approximately 50 mph. I shifted from 4th to 5th and something didn't feel right, like the transmission didn't engage. I then realized I could not move the shift lever on the transmission out of gear. I attempted to take the next exit but the ramp was only suitable for around 30mph. I tried to keep the engine from stalling as best as I could. As I got around the ramp I pulled to the shoulder and nearly hit a guard rail because the shoulder ended and I barely stopped in time. I called Chevy roadside assistance for a tow vehicle and they dispatched one. While I was waiting I google'd my problem ("Chevy Sonic stuck in gear"). alas, another person had the same exact issue with the same exact vehicle. According to this message board poster a small plastic clamp slid out of place causing the shift cable to be removed from it's housing, essentially rendering it useless. I took apart my console and found I had the same problem. When I reinstalled the plastic clamp that holds the cable in place everything worked normally, I was able to shift in and out of gear. I believe a recall should be issued as this is a very dangerous situation to be in when traveling at highway speeds.

- Parkville, MD, USA

problem #5

Sep 112014


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that there was an intermittent leak in the transmission. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The technician diagnosed that the seals and gaskets needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact inquired if the engine needed to be repaired and neither the authorized dealer nor the manufacturer was able to confirm if the component needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 152014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 14,897 miles
The transmission seals had to be replaced because they were not properly sealed at time of manufacture.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

problem #3

Mar 122014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 28,700 miles
On March 12, 2014 around 8:00 P.M I had an accident with my vehicle at my home. My car is a manual transmission so when I went to turn it on, only half of my body was in the vehicle to turn it on. Before turning it on I did notice the E-brake engaged and the car was in first gear. I proceeded to turn it on knowing that I could still take it out of gear before engaging the clutch again. At the moment of ignition though, the car took off forward and took me with it. From the panic that I had, I held onto the steering wheel and pulled it to the left and the vehicle ran into another parked vehicle to the left front of me. The impact of the vehicle led to the door of the Chevy Sonic to close on my right leg and the door stayed shut on my leg since the car had ran onto the right side of the other vehicle. Upon impact onto the other vehicle, I noticed an odd smell that seemed like brakes. The car had stopped due trash cans that were at the front of it. When the car impacted the trash cans, the vehicle stopped moving yet the car was still wanting to go on ahead as if someone was accelerating the vehicle. During this time while this happened and I was still pinned between the door of the Chevy Sonic and having the door kept shut on me due to the side impact with the other vehicle, I smelled something that seemed like brakes to me. After several attempts to shut off the vehicle, I finally managed to turn it off. I then put it to neutral and disengaged the E-brake and had family members roll the car back. Upon being unpinned from the other vehicle and having my leg freed from the Chevy Sonic, my first thought was to try out the E-brake to make sure it was working properly. The E-brake did not fail to engage or disengage. I have repeated this same situation over and over. The only result has been the car jerking forward about 2 feet then stalling due to the E-brake being engaged.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 272013


  • miles
The A/C does not work good while the car is at idle. When driving the car the A/C will begin to cool. When driving on the highway and I have to break it starts to blow warmer air. When stopped at a red light, stop sign, the A/C will stop cooling and blows warm air out of the vents. I went to the dealership and do not know how to fix the problem. Told me that the mechanic/technician could not find anything wrong. The dealership is no help and I just want my 17000 car ac to work normal/ right. 2013 Chevy Sonic 2lt model with a 6 speed auto transmission. Please help thanks!

- Bay Harbor Islands, FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 152013

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 50 miles
This condition happens during first drive of the day or after the vehicle sits for a while. While accelerating through the automatic transmission the car surges/jolts at or near the shift points. It almost feels as if I started moving the vehicle in the wrong gear, if it were a manual transmission. This condition also exists if you start moving the vehicle forward and then remove your foot from the accelerator pedal and coast. This vehicle is the rs model equiped with the 1.4 liter turbo.

- West Springfield , MA, USA

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