really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,204 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Comments

problem #19

Dec 072016


  • miles


Key sticks in the ignition, unable to remove when in park position. I work a dangerous job in bad areas and cannot depend on the key being released from the switch after parking. Whatch puts me in a awkward situation in regards to safety.

- New Iberia, LA, USA

problem #18

May 012016


  • miles
While driving my car for the past year now I have noticed my RPM gauge sticking and revving on its own. It is starting to happen more consistently. When I'm driving downhill the RPM gauge will rev high and stay stuck high. Then when I put the car in park it will rev high on its own and stay stuck and eventually come back down. Something new I have started to experience is when I'm at a complete stop the RPM gauge will start revving up and down on it's own while my car lights brighten and dim and my warning light comes on that I'm sliding which is impossible since I'm at a complete stop. I have also noticed the transmission has started to feel jerky lately with everything else. I just purchased this vehicle almost 2 years ago and I only have 58,000 miles on it.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #17

Jul 172016


  • 44,000 miles
Car shakes very bad when driving and approaching a stop.

- Mckeesport, PA, USA

problem #16

Jul 152016

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 200,000 miles


GM part number 95027313 outlet duct connecting the air box to the throttle body has shredded in 30,000 miles of use. This problem causes the engine to run lean (odb2 error code P0171) resulting in significantly reduced fuel economy, poor acceleration, rough idle, and potential failures to a number of costly sensors and components, as well as allowing dirty, un-filtered directly into the engine. A quick google search reveals 26,000 search results including forums and message boards where countless Sonic owners report the same issue. This is a widespread product defect and GM needs to provide a repair solution for owners of this model vehicle. The part had deteriorated to the point, where the check engine light illuminated. The consumer noticed the fuel economy of the vehicle dropping steadily from the advertised 29/city/40 highway to an average of about 25 mpg highway.

- South San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 012013


  • 80 miles
I purchased my car from a dealer, who set me up for an upside loan. Putting me into another Chevy with now 2 car loans to pay off. The car has stalled on me at different times while owning it. There have been issues since shortly after purchasing it with acceleration. It jolts and jumps when trying to accelerate. The check engine light is one, sometimes it goes off, then will come back on. I have not taken it to the shop yet assuming it would be a huge expense for them to fix and find it. Took it to a private garage and they could not find the issue either. This car is crap, I owe twice as much as its worth and I do not know what to do with it. I drive an hour to work every day on the highway and I am terrified I am going to crash every single day. It happens on the highway, on the street. In the morning when it start up it jolts and sputters. If you use the heat, it smells like its burning and there is a high squealing noise coming from the passenger side.

- Kunkletown, PA, USA

problem #14

May 062016


  • 45,000 miles
My Chevy Sonic has had a clicking noise since I purchased it. It goes dead when gas cap is removed and will not crank back. I had it worked on at a dealership $306 later it is still doing the exact same things. I purchased vehicle with 21 miles on it. I am on the road for my job. This vehicle has been a headache since purchase. I cannot afford another payment. Sure cant afford the bill from the shop when it doesn't fix any of the problems. The vehicle has had to be jumped off to start. I purchased new battery even when auto parts store tested old battery and stated it was good and alternator was charging. I am furious. What is a honest person to do"???"when dealership doesn't hold up to correcting the problem. Nothing to them it ruins your credit, not their name. I have had to be towed due to vehicle not cranking even when being jumped off. Help!!! dealership/GM should be honest and fix the problems. Apparently they don't value repeat customers!!!

- Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #13

Oct 012015


  • 48,000 miles


The contact owned a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that when the ignition was turned to the on position, the engine revved continuously. The following day, the contact stated that while driving at approximately 25 mph, the brake pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to stop. The contact crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags did not deploy. The contact sustained injuries to her head and neck that required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to an unknown location. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 48,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #12

Apr 202015

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 51,025 miles
On my way to work noticed the car lacking some power when accelerating to get on highway. Over the next 2 weeks car started sounding different. (like driving with air breather off) while changing oil today noticed air intake tube is cracked. Which could allow dirt and moisture to bypass filter and go into engine causing damage. Now the car has 52130 miles on it 2013 Sonic ls. Air intake tube should last longer then 2 years.

- Mt Orab , OH, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Oct 072014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 45,814 miles
While driving home, the vehicle started to smoke. The windows were rolled down, the air conditioner was off and it is about 86 degrees outside. This isn't the first quirky incident to happen in this vehicle. I just bought it about 7 months ago. All the standard maintenance has been done to this vehicle. Not sure why it is smoking. After it being in our care for 4 months, the check engine light will also not go off, and the remote start doesn't work anymore. The driver side door has become loose as well. No one has been hanging on it, just simply opening and closing the door. Also the plastic cap on the shift has popped off. I will be getting it checked tomorrow and possibly getting rid of it sooner than later. This is a very poor GM model car.

- Shreveport , LA, USA

problem #9

Jun 172014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 16,487 miles


This has happened more than once since I bought the car in October 2013, but it is happening daily now. I put the key in the ignition and it will not turn at all. It is stuck. I take the key out and put it back in and try to turn with no luck. Today it took 15 times of trying to turn the key and taking it out and putting it back in before it would start. I have even videoed myself trying to start my car so I can show the dealership. I am supposed to take it in tomorrow.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #8

Jun 132014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 16,340 miles
After haselwood Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership fixed the transmission seals I noticed that the engine is idling rough when at a stop light I notice this every once in a while.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

problem #7

Jan 062014

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
When in park, the engine idles very roughly. As a result of the rough idle, the fuel economy is not as good as it is supposed to be. Twice, the car has stopped running when at a stop sign/traffic light. When I reported to my dealer, the dealer informed me there was a tsb on the issue and the solution was to run tier 1 gasoline in the vehicle. The dealer indicated that GM does not have a "fix" for the problem. The car has the 1.8 L gasoline engine with six speed automatic transmission.

- Cornelia, GA, USA

problem #6

Jan 282014


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The contact mentioned that after numerous attempts, the vehicle was able to start and function properly. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- San Pablo , CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 212014


  • 680 miles
When car is stopped, it begins to make a rattling noise, at times it can be quite loud, it also starts to vibrate and almost cut off. The noise sounds as if it is coming from the engine. The noise has been sporadic. I took the car into the dealer and they could not find anything wrong. This is quite concerning.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #4

Jan 072013


  • 7,900 miles
Jan.7/2013 heard suttle/scraping/rattle sounds, thought I rolled over something on dark road in construction zone. Moved my car to left then really scraped on something. By next morning some oil leaked out. Had car towed to G.M. dealer. They had main engineers trying to figure out what was causing oil to spread in engine &Sonic was insanely smoking black smoke in, around.like in black cloud with sparks coming out back of car. I got terrified, as I had just picked it up, was told they had fixed the oil leaks. Dealer still has car. 3/3/13 they told me it was fixed, but it reeked with toxic fumes, I became nauseous, throat was scratching like before. Told GM that Sonic was not fixed. Requested new car from them. They are offering me a repurchase. I don't know what that means. They have refused to extend my rental to Transport my family of 5 safely.

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Jul 012013

Sonic 4-cyl

  • 3,400 miles
2013 Chevy Sonic loud vibration noise from engine bay area when vehicle is parked or in the drive position when stopped, it also occurs with or without a heavy load (meaning radio on/off, ac on/off). As a consumer I was told this is normal operation, normal operation would mean either at the time of purchase or something that arises after high mileage on the auto. Per tech notes "case [xxx], advised a normal operating characteristic of 4 cylinder engine. Compared to similar vehicle made the same sound. Was able to deaden noise by applying pressure to front bumper.*** - tech comments: Normal operating characteristic - internal" information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- St Charles , MO, 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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