Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

Chevy HHR: Problems & Solutions

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
Run into a problem that you just can't get a handle on? This is the place to ask your fellow HHR owners for help with any issue you may be having.


  • vinney1vinney1 Member Posts: 7
    Hi I'm new to this board and I just got a new HHR LT sport red mettallic with automatic, 2.4 engine, alluminum wheels and foglights. I just noticed the tachometer makes a ticking noise as it moves up and down and it will do it too while car is in park and you rev the engine. I sat in another car at the dealer and it didn't do it. Should I wait to see if it goes away or should i take it in. Does anyone out there have this? Also, when turning on the A/C you can really hear the compressor just below the console. Its a little louder than most cars I've owned. Is this normal? Does yours sound a little loud when using the A/C? Any input will be greatly appreciated. :)
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    There seems to be an issue surfacing with regard to HHRs that do not have running boards. It seems that road crud is causing paint damage to the rear quarter ahead of the rear wheel well despite the installation of the scratch guards by the factory on non-running board vehicles. Rumors have it that there have been enough complaints by owners that GM realizes there is a design problem and may offer a resolution of some sort in the near future to avoid a potential loss of sales due to the problem. That is all I know at this point but if you have no running boards on your HHR you may want to contact your dealer or GM directly if you notice any pitting of the paint in the area in question. The more complaints that are registered the sooner a resolution may be offered. Apparently installation of running boards will remedy the problem but I don't feel that the owner of the vehicle should have to foot the bill for them if they were not ordered on the vehicle to begin with. There are also those who do not like the looks of running boares who may want some other solution. As for me, I would accept running boards but have no desire to pay for them since the problem originated at the factory.
  • smogdungsmogdung Member Posts: 349
    Nice info....keep us posted.
  • rbowen1063rbowen1063 Member Posts: 4
    I recently discovered that while driving at different speeds in my HHR, when you roll down the rear windows, you get a very loud (unbearable) noise and wind vibration inside the car. The faster you go the worst it gets. I confirmed this with another HHR owner. They have the same problem and complained to the dealer, who tried the "eye brow" wind deflectors. They did not solve the problem. They have a sun roof (I don't), which reduces the problem somewhat, when opened. If you haven't experienced this problem, try opening your rear windows (while driving, naturally) and see what happens?
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    The air buffeting is far from unique with the HHR, it happens on many many vehicles. Its due to the way air moves around (and into) the vehicle. Best solution is to crack front windows enough to eliminate the effect. Sorta feels like whole car is vibrating and/or brain rattling around via your ears ;)
  • npgmbrnpgmbr Member Posts: 248
    I concur; you'll find that problem in many automobiles. It is NOT a defect.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    concur..not a design defect...I have the same issue in my 04 Malibu Maxx....
  • rbowen1063rbowen1063 Member Posts: 4
    I realize there is buffeting on several cars. I will research it some more. I have a Lexus that I will try it out on and we'll see. But, today I took the HHR out and at 45 mph I opened one back window and the buffeting on the ears and a siren-like sound (no, it was a cop behind me)were not tolerable, even cracking the front window. I usually don't drive with the windows open, but this problem was brought to my attention by another HHR owner, so I tried it. I was quite surprised at the intensity. That's all I am trying to relate. I think it's more noticeable on the HHR, that's all.
  • novanova Member Posts: 135
    My wife drives a RX300 Lexus and it makes the same wind buffing noise as the HHR
  • rbowen1063rbowen1063 Member Posts: 4
    Guess I owe you guys an apology. I drove my wife's ES 330 today and the same noises occur when you open the back windows. So, I have concluded that problem must exist on many of today's cars. I have been driving vans for the last several years and of course, the back windows don't go down, just the rear window vents will open. I still think the auto industry could design something better to solve the buffeting/noise problem, other than driving with the windows closed.
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    My panels are getting worse by the day. The GM help line arranged a meeting between myself and my dealer rep (which I could have done myself) but refused any help in fixing the problem. My dealer rep was very nice but also refused to help,first offering to install boards for $685 and then referring me to the district service rep. A follow up call to the GM help line indicated that the district service rep has the final call on any repairs. I am waiting for a call from the rep to meet to discuss the problem. I still think GM owes me -- and all HHR owners -- runing boards to remedy the design defect. I wouldn't recommend that anyone purchase one without the boards.
  • tomshhrtomshhr Member Posts: 5
    I can back up geemac's issue with the rear corners. 5000 miles and my doors and rocker :mad: are silver on my Orange HHR.
  • vinney1vinney1 Member Posts: 7
    I have noticed a metallic popping noise coming from the front axles. Does anyone have this and is it normal? It does it mainly when going from drive to reverse and vice versa. also when accelarating after changing gears from reverse to drive etc.. My A/C compressor is still loud and whiny and GM doesn't want to replace it. any comments will be appreciated.
  • firewatcherfirewatcher Member Posts: 2
    I am having the same problem. I contacted GM and my dealer. It has been checked extensively and the dealer is waiting to hear back from GM. Out of all the Chevy's in my family, this is a first. Every US automaker offers some type of New Englander package so that the vehicle is okay to use here in the cold, snow, etc. GM should make the running boards standard on the HHR if you live in an area where the climate can be cold and roads are treated with sand and salt for ice.
  • npgmbrnpgmbr Member Posts: 248
    Typically, installing wind deflectors for the sun roof will help reduce the problem. Not sure if deflectors on the doors would help as I've never used them.

    This is in reference to the wind noice issue, not the running boards.
  • golferswifegolferswife Member Posts: 7
    I to am having the problem with the back panels. I called GM and they set up for my area rep to look at it, he first said he would not fix it because it was caused by debris on the road and insisted that I must live on a gravel road which I do not the HHR had never even been driven in gravel. Only snow where there was salt on the road. He then said he would fix if I put running boards on it at $750 dollars. He asked why I purchased it without them. I insisted that he fix it and I shouldn't have and couldnt afford to put the running boards on at this time. I also told him that if is going to be the problem with all of them without running boards why not make them standard. Appartenly the same thing happened with the Trailblazers when they came out so running boards are no standard.He also said that he hadn't seen many without running boards but apparently you guys are out there. They are going to fix my paint at a one time only thing, but hopefully others will complain as well and more will be done
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    I am getting the same crap from GM. I am still waiting for the district service rep to contact me. It seems that some Canadian purchasers are getting boards installed at no cost by the dealers but not those of us stateside. I am starting to have second thoughts about having purchased an HHR, even though I otherwise love the thing. In addition to the sandblasted rear quarters I also have a chip in the windshield. I have a 1992 Mercury Capri with better than 120K that is holding up better than my HHR. I took a closer look at a PT Cruiser recently and notice that the design below the belly line seems to have taken into consideration the matter of road debris damage.
  • golferswifegolferswife Member Posts: 7
    Funny you should mention a chip in the windsheild. Have onw of those too but I just took for granted that a rock hit it and that happens. Never considered a defect. Where did you get info about candian buyers, just curious. It took me some searching to even find anyone complaining about the HHR. We to love the look and everything but the problems. I think now I should have taken my father's advice and not bought a car the first year in distribution. ">
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    www.hhrclub.org has a number of forums relating to the HHR. You will find the posts there, under technical information, I believe. The windshield chipping seems to be something of a problem due to the way the glass is constructed. The aftermarket windshields are apparently made differently and are less prone to chipping. Plus, they have a nice tint band across the top which adds a custom touch to the car. I hope mine begins to crack so that my insurance will replace it. There is another HHR site that has some good forums on it but I can't remember it offhand and I am at my work computer right now so I don't have the site in my history.
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    The other forum address is www.chevyhhr.net. Your dad may have a point, but I think there is more good than bad about the HHR. I love mine and it is the first brand new vehicle I have ever purchased. It has been fun to drive around in something that other people haen't seen yet. I was asked recently if it was a new PT Cruiser model.
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    My local dealer offered to paint the rear quarters of my HHR and install running boards for $300. He called other dealers as well as GM and no one was addressing the problem at present. He further agreed to refund the $300 if GM eventually agreed to pay for installation of running boards on HHRs. Since the damage isn't too severe -- yet -- I decided to accept their offer before the car is damaged more than it already is. At least my local dealer is willing to do something top stand behind the vehicle, even if GM isn't.
  • golferswifegolferswife Member Posts: 7
    Well you got a better price than me. But i guess at least my paint is getting fixed and I am going to pay for the splashguards myself.. As many complaints as I have read surely they will do something more about it soon. At least I hope!!
  • long_tall_texalong_tall_texa Member Posts: 4
    I have the same issue. I had my blue 1LT for 1 month when we got a 2 day ice storm in Dallas. They sanded all the roads for the ice. I only drove in the sand for 2 days. Once everything dried out and I washed my car, I found out I'd been sand-blasted. Rear fenders and kick panels had a frosted look. My local dealer did not hestitate to say it was a problem. Immediately offered to repaint for me. They did some investigation with GM and no official word from GM on it. My dealer is installing the molded splash guards and repainting at GM's expense. I am having them leave the plastic guards off of the rear fenders. I am going to take it straight to the local vinyl shop after it gets repainted to have them put clear vinyl on the rear fenders. At least that will protect the paint until GM officially decides what to do for a permanent fix. Vinyl shop quoted me about $35 to cover the fenders and kick panels for me. At least when that gets messed up, it can be peeled off and new vinyl put on. I checked on Running boards at the dealer and they quoted me $697 for parts only. I would install myself. I am very happy with my dealer's response. Hope GM will eventually step up to the plate for us though.
  • long_tall_texalong_tall_texa Member Posts: 4
    Update: Just picked up my HHR from the dealer after the repaint. Looks great. The body shop said that I need to wait about a week before puting vinyl over the freshly painted fenders. The service manager said that if I decide I do want the vinyl, let him know and GM will take care of that too. They even gave me a rental while my HHR was being re-painted. I have to say, I have great dealer support. Hate to hear that many of you do not have the same luck.
  • idykaridykar Member Posts: 2
    I just had my windshield replaced, I thought somthing hit it ... maybe not! I just walked into the garage one day and there was a semi-circle crack in it. Other than that I have had no problems, I love the car, easy ride and comfortable.
  • idykaridykar Member Posts: 2
    I'm looking for an "easy on" snow traction solution for my HHR LT, any one have any suggestions? I was looking at the Z-cables, spider spikes and go-claws. I want something fairly easy to put on! Any experience? and/or suggestions? Thank you
  • sara17sara17 Member Posts: 1
    Just bought my 2006 HHR one week ago. I have heard a Loud Clunk 3 times. It happens randomly.. Once after turning a corner. Another time just got in the car and shut the doors-started engine and CLUNK...(did not put on seat belts yet or shift into gear)
    Has anyone had this problem.. I will be taking it to the dealer but wanted to be prepared talk to him if others have had this problem. After reading this forum I am glad I have a running board and will be watching for chips in my windshield.
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    Got my HHR back today with the rear panels painted and the running boards installed. Cost $318 total. They did a very nice job and left the vinyl stone guards on for extra protection. Since GM is still not offering anything except free paint (which doesn't actually address the problem) I am very satisfied that my dealer was willing to work out a compromise. At least this is one issue I can put to bed . . finally!
  • tomshhrtomshhr Member Posts: 5
    Went to my dealer for the second time and they now will repair the damage on the fenders and install the runningboards for no cost to me, I asked for the flaps when they are installing the boards. They are calling as soon as they arrive.
    One of the sales wifes had the same problem and they are ordering runningboards for the 2 HHRs on the lot before they sell them.

    The service manager said GM is comming out with a bulletin soon. :)
  • golferswifegolferswife Member Posts: 7
    If you don't mind saying what state are you in?
  • long_tall_texalong_tall_texa Member Posts: 4
    I have the same issue in the south. I had my blue 1LT for 1 month when we got a 2 day ice storm in Dallas. They sanded all the roads for the ice. I only drove on the sanded roads for 2 days. Once everything dried out and I washed my car, I found out I'd been sand-blasted. Rear fenders and rocker panels had a frosted look. I only had 1500 miles on my HHR then. My local dealer did not hesitate to say it was a problem. They immediately offered to repaint it for me. They did some investigation with GM and no official word from GM on it. My dealer installed the molded splash guards, repainted the rear fenders and rockers, and provided me a loaner from Enterprise at GM's expense. I suggested that they leave the plastic guards off of the rear fenders and cover them with the clear vinyl paint protection similar to the clear bras. I have been told by several sources that the vinyl would be more impact resistant than the paint or those plastic protectors that GM installed initially. They said they didn’t think it would be necessary after having the mud flaps installed, but said they would do it if I saw the need after trying the mud flaps. As I expected, the mud flaps did help deflect debris from the rear fenders. However, after extensive testing, (washing my car and intentionally running through puddles at a high rate of speed) I found that there was still going to be a problem with debris hitting the fenders and chipping the paint. The spray pattern only covered about 1/3 of the way up the fenders now, but was still there. So, I contacted my service manager again. He gladly added the clear vinyl to the rear fenders and rockers. Their vinyl cutting software did not have a template for the rear fenders of the HHR yet, so they did a custom job. They covered the entire fender from the point it flares out all the way to the wheel well. They covered a much larger area than the pre-cut sets you can get at www.invisiblemask.com and others. Can’t even tell it is there. Looks great. I just hope it holds up next winter when I run through sanded roads again. If not, I will be going back to them again…

    I am very happy with my dealer's response. I have to say, I have had great dealer support. I hate to hear that many of you do not have the same luck. To my knowledge, they didn’t go through the district GM rep at all. They just did it and charged it to GM as a warranty issue. I hope GM will eventually step up to the plate across the board for us though.
  • mapperhdmapperhd Member Posts: 2
    Not to digress too far from this subject, but be glad you don't own a 2004 Volvo wagon like my buddy. We were driving down the freeway when he opened the sun roof for the first time. You should have seen the entire roof start to buckle up and down from the wind. Talk about design flaws!
  • mapperhdmapperhd Member Posts: 2
    So, I want to be preemptive about this issue. What is recommended? The running boards, the vinyl protection, both? This is my first brand new car and I'd like to try and keep it looking that way as long as possible.
  • geemacgeemac Member Posts: 28
    From what I have gleaned from the forums you should at least have the running boards. The mudflaps alone do not appear to do the job. People with running boards claim that they have experienced little or no damage. Both the boards and flaps would insure no problem but it is a matter of taste if you want both. Personally, I kept the factory-installed vinyl stone guards when I had my running boards put on but I haven't logged enough miles to know if the running boards alone are the solution. From what I have read they should suffice. I just know that after 4300 miles the rear quarters looked like they had been sandblasted and something had to be done. I didn't add mudflaps because I don't like the looks of them. Some people remove the stone guards when they add running boards because they feel it makes a cleaner look without them.
  • biscotttibiscottti Member Posts: 3
    I now have 12,000 miles on my HHR. Love it. But now the engine light comes on, followed by "Low Power" in the instrument panel message board and then the traction control light comes on. I have taken it to my dealer twice. They ended up finding two wires rubbing under the carpet on the passenger side and fixed it. Yesterday. Today the TC and Low Power lights are back. They don't have a clue what is wrong with it. Suggestions? It usually happens after I have been driving for about 20 minutes. BTW, the traction control thing is not helpful when you are stuck on a snowy patch and need to "rock out". :confuse:
  • biscotttibiscottti Member Posts: 3
    ALSO I forgot to mention:
    1.Low power means it will only go 35 mph when the light comes on.
    2. the first time in (I had it towed) they diagnosed a sticky rear brake for the TC problem and and emission control leak for the low power issue.
    Isn't it a bit strange that the two would coincide?
    3. Why do cars never act up for the mechanics? Pixies? Demons? Is my car possessed?
  • long_tall_texalong_tall_texa Member Posts: 4
    The running boards alone should eliminate the problem. I take a close look at every HHR that I see. The ones with running boards are free from scars on the rear fenders. Every one without them has the sand blasted fenders. Some wose than others, but it is still there. By all means, get the running boards when you buy one. If you find one on a lot that you like and it doesn't have running boards, make the dealer order them and charge you for the ordered option price (installation included) rather than the after purchase price from the parts dept + installation.
  • beavisbeavis Member Posts: 2
    very good advise to anyone that has not finalized the sale on a HHR , it's like fighting the U.S. goverment if you bought one without r/b's
  • tomshhrtomshhr Member Posts: 5
    NW Wis and MN, Superior and Duluth area
  • yourhighnessyourhighness Member Posts: 4
    I bought my HHR in Aug '05w/out the running boards, had it about 1 week and decided it looked more retro with them, so I went to the dealer bought running boards and molded flaps. I have NO damage, I did however have them take the chip deflectors off, IMO I think it's looks silly with the deflectors. They only charged me about $500.00 for everything and labor. A $500.00 well spent!!!!!!!!
  • rstruthersrstruthers Member Posts: 29
    We have a 2001 PT cruiser that makes the same thundering noise it the rear window is down even and inch.
  • redgeminiparedgeminipa Member Posts: 74
    Ok, Folks. Please let me know if any of you have experienced this problem...

    This problem started with less than 2,000 miles on the car. (a couple of days after I rated the car a "10.0" on the reviews).

    After I drove the car for about 15 minutes, I put it in Park and left it running. Got out and pumped gas. When I got back in, the "TC-off" light was on. When I put the car into Drive, it banged into gear (felt like a broken engine mount). I played around with it for a couple minutes ... turning the car off and back on again. Eventually, I decided to drive it with the light on ... almost 10:00 pm, not much of a choice. As I was driving home, for about 15 minutes, the transmission shifted extremely rough with nearly every shift. Then, all of a sudden, the trans was back to normal shifting. Once I got home, I turned the car off then restarted it, and the light was no longer on. The next day, everything seemed normal again.

    One of my dealer's service techs shops at my store. About a week later, he stopped in. I asked him if he's heard of anything like that. He said it wasn't familiar, but at this time, I had the only HHR in the area. The tech told me if it happened again, to make an appointment and have it checked ... it might store a code.

    About a month or so later, on a Friday, I drove to my parent's house. I left the car running while I ran in for a few minutes. When I came back out, the mysterious "TC-off" light was on again once more. So, I immediately called the dealer and set an appointment for Monday morning.

    When I took the car in, they kept running diagnostics checks and came up empty. The service manager called GM Tech Center for help. They told him the BCM wasn't properly programmed from the factory, and it needed reprogrammed. So, that's what they did.

    About another month goes by, and umm ... it happens again while I'm waiting in line at the car wash... on a Friday afternoon again ... I called and had to wait until Monday to take it in.

    This time, they checked everything possible ... even ran an Evap Test ... and came up with nothing!

    I started asking Service Managers at different GM dealers if they've experienced this problem with any of the vehicles they've serviced. And, of course, none of them have.

    A helpful Service Advisor at the Saturn dealer told me to ask my dealer if they had a VDR (vehicle data recorder). He told me they're great at finding a problem when the dealer can't duplicate it.

    I asked my dealer's Service Manager if they had one. He said they did, and he could install it to see if it may finally find the problem.

    First, the program for the VDR wasn't updated for 2006 models. Second, once it was updated, my car rejected it.

    So, by this time, I placed a call to Chevrolet Customer Service to report the problem with the car. I was told on a follow up call that since the dealer can't duplicate the problem, that I basically just have to live with it. But, if it happens again, I should call her back.

    I know the dealer I'm working with is doing everything possible to help with my problem. I'm one more attempt away from pushing for a replacement or refund under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law. I just want a new car ... MY HHR ... free of electrical / mechanical defects... just like everyone else here who purchases a new vehicle.

    I'm starting to think I got a true lemon. :lemon:
  • beavisbeavis Member Posts: 2
    this may not help the complete problem but these newer cars the gas cap is very fussy ,it can screw up a cars computer real bad , leaving the car running when gasing up is a no no , or starting the car before replacing gas cap ...both of these really mess things up , i'm surprised the engine light didn't come on . i'm not a certified auto tech. just my my opinion.....
  • redgeminiparedgeminipa Member Posts: 74
    Thank you for the tip, but I know that's not my problem. I was only pumping gas once when it happened. Plus, the HHR will display "check gas cap" on the driver information center instead of tripping the engine light as does earlier GM models.

    Again, I truely appreciate your input ... as I'm running out of ideas. I guess I'm going to hang in there and hope for a final solution to come in the near future.
  • luminalady97luminalady97 Member Posts: 15
    Hi! Has anyone experienced any sudden squeeking noises coming from the steering wheel on their HHR?
    Mine started doing this just out of the blue 2 days ago. It's not coming from under the hood as though it was out of power steering fluid. (my car only has 2500 miles on it)
    I checked, and it is definitely an interior noise coming directly from the steering wheel.

    The sound reminds me of the noise that comes from cleaning a window with Windex then wiping it off with a paper towel.
    The sound has been coming and going for the past 2 days.

    Does anybody have any suggestions? Thanks!
  • redgeminiparedgeminipa Member Posts: 74
    Not exactly sure about the squeeking noise, but are you sure your HHR was out of power steering fluid? The HHR has electric power steering ... there is no place to put power steering fluid ... there is no hydraulic pump.

    I would suggest taking it to the dealer and have them check the steering column.
  • luminalady97luminalady97 Member Posts: 15
    Ooops! I didn't do a good job explaining my problem. :confuse: When I said "I checked and it is definetly..." I meant that I checked the inside of the car where the steering wheel is located to find the noise. You were right to think otherwise. My sentence read as though I checked the power steering fluid.

    Thank you so much for the info about the electric power steering. That certainly explains why the noise wasn't coming from underneath the hood!

    I have owned brand new Chevy's for the past 20 years, and this will be the first time I have had to return a car to the dealer for a problem so soon after purchasing it. On the other hand, my Caprice, Lumina, and Malibu, were not first-year models. Hopefully its just a computer problem....
  • mlwlkmlwlk Member Posts: 10
    If anyone has experienced this problem with their HHR, and been able to get GM to fix it properly, would you please share your victory with me at onedesertfalls@comcast.net.

    We bought our HHR in January. We have had it in 3 times for "radio off" static followed by loud crackling & popping immediately after turning the rasdio on. GM couldn't figure it out the 1st time. The 2nd time, they "re programmed" the radio. The 3rd time, they replaced the radio. But, the problem still exists.

    Please let me know if you have the answer.
  • joesblackhhrjoesblackhhr Member Posts: 2
    There are topics one other HHR boards about problems like this.. Seems the fuses in the fuse box under the hood MAY be loose, try pushing down and re-seating ALL fuses in the fuse box UNDER THE HOOD
  • iowabjiowabj Member Posts: 2
    I have just under 3,000 miles on my HHR. It had been a demo model so had 2,000 miles when I purchased it. It has been in the shop more than I have had it out. The TC off light kept coming on. Might be sitting, might be driving down the Interstate. There seemed to be no duplication of behavior on my part that would cause it to happen. Anyhow, they reprogrammed the BCM as you mentioned. And so far, 200 miles later, it has not repeated.

    But, my main problem is with the security door lock system. Sometimes when the TC-off light would come on (above problem) the doors would lock and the security door lock light would come on. Sometimes it would come on without the TC-off light. Now that the TC-off light problem is supposedly fixed, I am still experiencing the security door lock problem. They replaced the "module"? I think that is what they called it, and found themselves locked out of the vehicle with no way to turn off the security door locks. They called Chevrolet TEC help and were told that the installation instructions need updating and they needed to do step 1, step 2 and step 3. So, they ordered me a third "module" and put it in. I have now driven about 200 miles and sure enough it came on again. Was driving about 35 mph when the doors locked and the security door lock light came on for about 10 seconds. They are not going to be happy when I have to call the dealer's service department this morning to tell them it is STILL not right. Anyone else have this problem?
This discussion has been closed.