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Chevy HHR Brake Problems



  • I know I'm outside my bumper to bumper. Ironically, the only two cars I've had significant problems within this few of miles are Chevy's. I think I've learned my lesson. It's saying something when I'm selling it fairly cheap just to get rid of it before something ELSE goes wrong and no one wants it. Doesn't do me much good to keep a car with so many problems with many people experiencing the same problems, yet no recall on it so they can still profit. Everything (except this squeal/brakes), luckily, has fallen in the warranty, so I didn't have to pay other than a complete inconvience (like being told the ignition locking wasn't under recall or warranty and I'd have to pay $250... saying I was basically a liar when I called them on the problems within the ignition, only 500 miles outside my warranty). Now I have to drive 45 minutes to have it checked out and fixed. Again. Knew I should have listened to my dad bought that Focus instead. My daughter has had 3 of them, great cars. Going back to Ford and Nissan. :mad:
  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    Go figure?

    I received a letter directly from G.M. Canada in Toronto telling me that the ignition unit on my 2010 hhr could and should be replace "no charge" because a recall had been issued for this.
    Yes it is a expensive job, that's why I had it done on mine even if I hadn't experience any problems with it. What I don't understand is that 3 of my friends own HHR's and also had the letter I'm talking about and got their ignition unit questions asked.
  • Hello, yesterday I received a letter from the Lemon Law lawyers saying that 2009-2011 HHR's are all having problems with the Shifter. I DID NOT receive anything from GM. That is what brought me here to this site. I read your post and have the same front end shaking as well as the squeaky windows (both front), shifter trouble when trying to get it out of park, and when I first bought the car had to have my brakes fixed several times before they actual did something to "patch" the problem. Now it just shakes when I'm stopping. They ended up doing something to the rotors when I took it in several times, BRAND NEW.... I have a 2010 with only 24K miles on it. Bought it new and the Rotor issue was right off the lot. What gives? When does a car officially become a LEMON?
  • I have not received any letters from GM. Does anyone know if there really is a recall on the HHR for the shifter problem? When I took my car to the dealer the last time they replaced my steering column, windshield squirter, fixed the brakes, and the gurgling sound in the dashboard. I picked it up and the signals and wipers did not work at all and had to take it back. It's been a about a month and now my blinkers don't work right again, and it has started making noise in the blower motor. It just turned over to 25000 miles and my warranty is up in April 2013. If there is anything that anyone can suggest that I have checked out before my warranty is up PLEASE let me know. Oh and. I will be having my squealing windows fixed. They screach so loud it hurts your ears. They must leak somewhere because they freeze shut really easy.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,201

    We'd be happy to check into your vehicle's information to see if there are any open recalls if you wanted to email us the last 8 digits of your VIN at (or if you wanted to check into it yourself, you can set up an Owner's Center account at

    In regards to the other concerns you're having with your HHR and your dealership visits, we're happy to look into those further as well. If you contact us via email on that, please include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN, a brief recap of the situation, and the name of your dealership.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I have an 08 HHR and over the last few days when I press on the brakes the front passenger brake grinds. It does not happen every time, but enough to be alarming. It doesn't seem to effect it's braking ability and I don't notice it when I first initiate the brakes.

    When it randomly happens, it is always when the car is almost to a complete stop...almost seems like it is squeezing to hard at that point. When the car starts moving again, the pads lightly grind for a few rotations then the grinding stops.

    I have also noticed that when I turn when braking, I believe it can either initiate the problem or make it go away....but it is so random I am not really sure this has anything to do with it.

    I think I have an idea what it could be, but I would like your unbiased opinion before I engage my less then spectacular mechanic skills. Thanks.
  • I guess the first question to ask is have you checked both brake pads on the passenger side to see if there worn out and need replaced. Maybe it is the wear indicator coming in contact with the rotor. The second thing, would be to check and make sure one of the pads does not have any debris between the pad and rotor. It sound to me that one of the pads is worn out. That the wear indicator is so close to the rotor that turning or any movement at all would make it come in contact with the rotor. Also, you should be able to look at the rotor and if you see any strange lines, then you know you have something coming in contact with the rotor. Need to get it checked right away before it damages the rotor. The rotor should be smooth on both sides.

    Hope this helps!
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    edited February 2013
    I have a 2006 HHR. 118,000.00 miles on it. I sell things so its typical for me to have in it up to a ton of stuff in it and drive all day around Southern California. Its a 2.4 Liter LT without onstar or sunroof but everything else, and its automatic.

    First things, Brakes, You need to upgrade HHR brakes from the factory rotors if you got anything but the SS model. Any Chevrolet Dealership will easily put better cross drilled rotors on there for about $400.00. The original were downright a rip off. Its better if they had sold the thing with no brakes.
    I changed the struts with aftermarket struts(Monroe) 2 years ago in place of the originals and this week, I am getting new ones installed by the Chevrolet Dealership.
    I am changing rear shocks, the ones back there are worn and leaking fluids, but it’s been 7 years and lots of load, and also some tie end rods and worn bushing mounts.
    Minor repairs (This week) include a broken rear washer hose replacement, some loose things under the exhaust system need tightening, tie end rods, plus the door weather strip rubber.
    This is my first Chevrolet after 6 Toyotas, including 4 in Africa and 2 Hondas plus a Mazda.
    The thing is, when you use cars, things break. You have to be reasonable. Save for the front rotors, my HHR has been perfect in the sense that I only have had to replace normal tear and wear things.

    If you expect to go and buy a Toyota and find automotive nirvana, or Honda, or better warranty or customer service, I say peace be with you, (for now).
    I have to say, this is the most trouble free car I have ever owned, and believe you me, my typical car does a lot of miles every two or three days. I drive at least 60 miles or a normal work day. This HHR will still run to the speedometers end after 118,000.00 miles within 18 seconds, (in a safe closed course of course) and will embarrass a lot of cars off the line. The interior and exterior is like show room, nothing is broken.

    The whole bill for this work, including the ordinary service is coming to about $1,300.00 in a Chevrolet dealership.

    Would I have work done at a mom and pops, Honestly, No, I do not want the drama or headache.
  • power4upower4u Posts: 1
    Going on my fourth set of rotors and pads. These brakes must simply be under designed for this car. I go through a set of rotors every other oil change. I am going to try performance brakes next, drilled and slotted, to see if this helps.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Sounds expensive. Recently, I had suspension work done on my 2007 Uplander with 80k miles. Struts, rear shocks, inner and outer tie rods, stabilizer bar, and 4 wheel alignment; total bill was $1,427 (taxes included, Canadian dollars). I went to a auto chain store (Canadian Tire) and not the dealer. The local dealer quoted close to $700 for just the tie rods. Shocks, struts, brakes, and suspension work can be done by most auto repair chains at prices much less than the dealer. Good luck.
  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    I do the same...after the warranty is over it's Canadian Tire, Midas, Mr. Muffler, Monsieur 4 Roues, Les experts sur Roue...
    Anywhere except little private corner garages and Car Dealers.
  • I had the same problems, until I switched my rotors to the drilled. No more problems.
  • tlm325tlm325 Posts: 1
    I purchased my HHR in October, 2010--it is a 2011. No problems until July 15, 2012 when I took it to a Pep Boys location in Pittsburgh, PA (it was a Sunday.) On that day they supposedly did a brake inspection and then informed me that I would need new brake pads. Work done and off I went. On December 7, 2012 took car back to same Pep Boys location because I noticed the front end "jimmying/shaking/vibrating"--whatever you want to call it. They supposedly did another brake inspection and then informed me the car would need new pads and possibly rotors if they were not able to "machine" them. As it turned out they did "machine" the rotors and put new ceramic brake pads on. Again off I went thinking well this time should be different. Not so because in late June/early July, 2013 noticed again that the front end was "jimmying/shaking/vibrating." Took it back to Pep Boys AGAIN!!! And this time Pep Boys supposedly did another brake inspection and this time informed me that the car would need new brake pads AND new rotors and calipers!!! Because of the prohibitive cost I decided to go to an independent garage. When I called this garage to see if they could do the work the manager/owner told me yes as long as I brought the parts with me (it was late in the afternoon at this point and I had to plans to go out of town the next day.) I purchased the parts at an auto parts store near my home and took these with me to the independent garage. An hour and half later I once again was on my way thinking for sure now things should be good. Not so, AGAIN!!!
    Last evening as I was coming home from work I came to a stop sign and of course, stopped. When I went to accelerate to move forward and I kid you not, the car made such a HORRID sound that I honestly believed the whole engine dropped out of the car. This morning I had it towed to the dealership where I purchased the car. The guy who towed it said he knew what the problem was when he had the front end up in preparation to tow it. The caliper on the passenger front wheel had "FALLEN OUT!!" After speaking to several people (the auto parts store; the guy who towed the car and the service person at the dealership) I learned that had this happened while I was driving down the highway (I take PA 43 to work everyday) 65 to 70 miles an hour the wheel would have "SEIZED UP." The person at the dealership even went so far as to say that had the caliper fallen out in this situation--and IF I would have survived it most likely would not have been a "pretty sight!!!" This whole scenario just makes me sick!!!
  • I have replaced my rotors and brakes and the problem comes back. Coming home from Big Bear this pass Spring the HHR started to shake and rattle. I felt like the car was disintegrating. This is suppose to be my family car. I cant take trips with my family in this car. It is not safe. This is a serious issue and I cant believe there isnt a recall. I have come to the conclusion that Chevrolet knows and dont care about safety. Sure I can take it to the dealer but I know for a fact they will not resolve my issue plus my warranty is up. I will never buy a Chevrolet again. Now I am stuck with a car that I dont feel safe in. There has to be an engineering flaw. Oh I forgot to mention the annoying rattle in the steering column.
  • You CAN'T GO TO THE DEALER and get this fixed. The only way you are going to fix it is to buy some slotted rotors and pads and install them. The GM rotors are junk. You can get these online at Ebay, etc. for about $125 for the set. I did this two years ago and have zero problems. The slots will dissipate the heat much better. Trust me, it works.
  • I totally understand your frustration. I had my brakes fixed in April and I need new ones already. I only drive nine miles to work and seldom drive on the weekends. I took my car to the dealer in April. I told them AGAIN that the front end feels like it is going to fall off. They replaced the steering column,brakes, struts, blower motor, and fixed the windows that were squealing. Here it is only 2000 miles later and everything that I had fixed is broke again and of course the warranty is up. Its a piece of crap with 36000 miles on it. My daughter is turning 16 and has her permit. I am afraid to let her drive my car. I agree that there should be a major recall on these cars. makes you wonder why they don't make them anymore? Once again the consumer getting it stuck to them!!
  • I have exactly the same mileage on my HHR and no problems whatsoever.
    Just went for a semi annual check up and my brakes are at...
    Front pads at 8 mm. and rear shoe at 4 mm. (mind you that they are the originals).
    I adore my HHR and to bad they stopped the production with the 2011 because I'm planning to trade mine in 2 years and would have bought another car I ever owned in 38 years of driving...buying my cars new and trading them every 5 years. Must have gotten a "cream puff" right of the line.
  • Have the universal joint on the steering column checked. There is a dry lubricant they use on this u-joint and when it wears down it causes heavy vibrations and a chunky rattling noise in the column.
  • debsnmdebsnm Posts: 1

    I also have a 2006 HHR. Mine has 109,000 miles on it, and the only problem I've had is the brakes. I've had the same problem with the steering wheel shaking when I step on the brake, but it only seems to be when I'm slowing down quickly (like from 65 to 45mph). I was first told there was oil in my brake line. This last time when I took it in, they said the wear on the rear brakes was at 30% - the exact same as the time before that. They started looking, and found that a part that diverts the brake fluid to front & rear brakes was clogged - the rear brakes are not getting any brake fluid, and therefore, aren't even being used.
    - I'm wondering if this is a systemic HHR problem? Has anyone checked their rear brakes specifically to see if there's a problem? BTW, my rear brakes are disc, don't even know if that makes a difference.

  • inultusinultus Posts: 1
    edited September 2014
    FYI, I have been working on cars for 24 years. From what I gather on this vehicle there are two major problems. First, the brakes were designed for the Cobalt, which is a much lighter vehicle. Secondly, this vehicle gets the vast majority of its braking power from the front, which puts undue burden and heat on the front brakes. Chevy directs their mechanics to turn the front rotors and replaces the front brake pads for this problem. That is only a temporary fix. To really fix the problem slotted and drilled rotors must be installed otherwise they will just overheat again and you will have the same problem in a few months. You can find slotted rotors at a very reasonable price (as recommended by another mechanic friend) at the Prime Choice website.
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