HHR Transmission Questions

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
Having an issue with your transmission? This is the place to talk about it.


  • jsburnjsburn Member Posts: 3
    My dealership had to replace the engine in my HHR last month, it kept blowing out the oil seals. Well, I haven't even put 400 miles on the new engine, when I went to leave for work this morning, put it in reverse, and I was startled to hear a horrible grinding noise. No gear would work. Had to call the dealership, they towed it in, and haven't heard from them yet.
    Not too happy about the situation right now.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    I wouldn't be either, hopefully dealer will get it fixed quickly for you. Let us know how you make out.
  • aransonaranson Member Posts: 2
    I bought my HHR Oct '07. In Jan the dealer replaced the shift assembly. It would not come out of park after starting the car.

    In August '07 the shifter assembly was replaced again. After starting the engine with the remote, unlocking the car, putting the key in the ignition switch, it would not turn to the on position. Also when starting the engine a loud clunk would come from under the car
    Once again the clunk noise is happening again from time to time. The dealer service manager has no explanation for the shifter problems. Anyone else have these problems?
  • smogdungsmogdung Member Posts: 349
    My shift-interlock button got stuck...result was drivable...but it could be moved between gears without the button having to be pushed. Was given a YUKON to drive while part ordered....sucked gas!
  • ust2luvhhrust2luvhhr Member Posts: 1
    We just bought our 2006 HHR used with only has 26,000 miles on it. We have not even driven it 3000 miles yet. My wife just got back from shopping and pointed out a big puddle of transmission fluid in our drive way. Upon inspection, fluid is streaming out with no visible signs of having hit anything. Sounds like a similar problem one of you posters had with a "blown seal". Hope not. In 30 years of driving, I have NEVER had a car have this type of problem for no apparent reason. I am waiting for Roadside assistance now. Will update later. :lemon:
  • commojcommoj Member Posts: 1
    in fact it just started with me yesterday. the car will not stay in park, and the key will come out of the ignition even though i can not turn the ignition all the way off, the dealership is telling me that it is a now common problem with HHR and the chevy cobalt. keep checking recall list for HHR so that you can get a refund on maintenance parts. its going to cost approximately $600 for the dealership to replace the gear box and the ignition switch. my HHR only has 39,000 miles. I did not get the extended warranty because I am not use to cars majorly breaking down within a 75,000 mile limit. the bad thing is I got 2 HHRs but at least my other is still under factory warranty.
  • rustie62rustie62 Member Posts: 1
    Same EXACT issue here; I bought a used '07 in May of 07; had 25,000 mi but also had the 100,000 warranty, so I thought I was safe. About 3 weeks ago, I couldn't get the key out of the ignition! After extensive reading of the owner's manual, I figured out how to jimmy the key out by reaching inside the steering column.
    Yesterday after work, I went out to start the car; the engine turned, but I couldn't get it out of park. It was towed to the nearest dealer, who is trying to tell me it isn't covered by the warranty, even though there's only 37,000 mi on it now! The dealer who sold it to me is willing to make it right, but it has to be towed there, and get this-
    THE FIRST DEALER IS TRYING TO CHARGE ME for juicing the battery and ripping the cover off the gear shift before it leaves his garage (I did not authorize him to do ANYTHING to my car if it wasn't covered under warranty!)
    Can't wait to give this info to him tomorrow; he thinks that because I'm a woman he can intimidate me! He actually had the gall to tell me that it was my fault-that I'd spilled a coke in it (I've never had a soda in the car...) It is OBviously a design flaw!
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    I don't know if it is the manufacturer of these ignitions or what, but there are a few new cars with this problem. Even Toyota who sources some of their parts from the same place as GM has had some similar issues but I am not sure how frequent.
  • rooscowrooscow Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2006 LT2 with 53,000 miles. About four weeks ago on my way home from a 600 mile vacation drive, the traction control light came on. With this warning light there also came sudden shifting. Not the smooth progression I was accustomed to, sharp up shifts after a higher than usual rpm before the change in gears. Along with this, the check engine light is coming on. I took it to the dealer and after $100 of mechanic's time I was told there was nothing wrong. I got back into the car and on the way home, the same symptoms showed up. I left it alone and in the morning the next day everything worked well. After a couple of short trips, on my way dropping my wife off to college, the same symptoms showed up again. Now, this is the only hint of a problem I have had over the past almost three years of ownership. Anyone have any insights or suggestions to convey to the next mechanic?
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Transmission sensor likely, torque convertor?
  • schleicheriischleicherii Member Posts: 1
    Have you ever found out what the problem was? I am having this same problem now about a few weeks ago it came on once and then all of a sudden this week it has been coming on everytime i have been driving only coming on after I have been driving for a few minutes. I would hate to waste 100 dollars for them to tell me they think i have no problem.

  • rooscowrooscow Member Posts: 2
    I am sorry to say that I have not found a resolution yet. And yes, my intuition leads me to believe the problem lies in a sensor, or maybe even a computer chip/program problem. I've been searching technical service bulletins and paying closer attention to the onset of the TC shutdown. I can drive for about 10-15 minutes and the TC Off dashboard light comes on. I get to my destination where I shut the engine off. When I restart, the TC Off light is off. Then another period of normal operation until the TC Off goes off and the shifting between gears is sudden. The symptoms suggest it is heat related. With the AC off, there is a longer time elaps before the problem reoccurs. Any suggestions will be very appreciated so that I have some direction for the next mechanic.
  • red05gtred05gt Member Posts: 1
    I've had a similar problem on 2 cars that took forever to find. Have them check the speed sensors at each wheel. If 1 goes bad it "thinks" there's a traction problem tries to compensate but other input to the computer just confuses it because you are not losing traction. Also, have they tried to re-flash the computer?
  • butchrbutchr Member Posts: 1
    Rooscow - I had the same problem at 49500 miles with my 2006 LT2. I read the error codes and it popped up several areas to check, O2 sensor bank A, mass air flow sensor, fuel injectors and fuel delivery (pump). I first tried the O2 sensor and it worked for about a week and then the problems came back. I then decided to go to my local Chevy dealer for help. The had the same codes and replaced the mass air flow sensor and the other O2 sensor with no luck. They then decided the problem was my fuel injectors. They ended up replacing all four injectors and to my suprise they covered it under warranty. All was well until I hit 53000 miles and now I have an issue with the RPM's while under load jumping up and down and the car missing. There are no inactive or active errors codes and they said until it pops a code they can not help me.
  • redgeminiparedgeminipa Member Posts: 74
    I was starting to think I was the only one having a problem like this. I had an '06 LT2 I purchased new in October '05 (one of the first ones made) with basically the same problem that started around 2100 miles. My TC Off light came on while the car was running and sitting in Park for a few mins. When I started driving I also had rough shifting for about 10 mins. The problem would seem to stop and when I restarted the car, the light was off. Mine would only happen about once every month to month and a half. The dealer could never find it. The day I finally get it into the dealer with the light ON, they finally pulled codes and scheduled me for the next day to start getting to the bottom of it. The next morning, the service manager called me to say the district service manager would no longer authorize them to work on my car since I didn't buy it in that district. The next day I called a Lemon Law Attorney and took it from there. I loved the car, but was completely tired of the electrical problems. With 11,000 miles, I won a partial refund under Lemon Law and got an extended electrical warranty plus part of the law suite said the local dealer MUST work on my car. Needless to say that after about 8 months of dealing with this problem and a stereo that had quit working twice and remote start that rarely worked, I was completely ready to give it up. The day after the deal was done with the Attorney, I traded it in. Moral of the story is: if you can get it into your dealer while the TC OFF light is on, they should be able to finally pull codes. My dealer pulled 4 codes that day before the attempts stopped there by demands of the district service manger. Best of luck to you all ... the HHR is a nice car, but the headaches weren't worth it for me. Mine was a total electrical :lemon: :(
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    That is crazy that they said they couldn't work on it because it wasn't in their district. It doesn't matter what district it is, a dealer would still get reimbursed by GM Corp. I know if it was purchased in Canada and brought over here that would be different and they don't have to service the vehicle but that is a different story.

    Hopefully you still stayed with an American brand auto.
  • disappointedHRdisappointedHR Member Posts: 1
    just bought an 2008 hhr 18000 miles on it drove it home then went to go out and now the IGNITION KEY WON'T TURN. key just goes in and out. the 800 service people no help just said jiggle keys and keep turning the steering wheel to get the key to turn... any answers out there??? think they need a recall after reading so many problems the HHR INGITION SWITCH has...
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    The selling dealer had to of known about the issue.
  • DiverDanDiverDan Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone out there know where I can buy "Blue Dot" tail light lens? :confuse:
  • todorkotodorko Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone have an idea where I can find a front stabilizer bar for HHR LS 2006? Do the pads for the stabilizer bar can be bought separately?
  • DiverDanDiverDan Member Posts: 3
    Did your front Stabilizer break? I had a clunking noise umder my HHR and can't find. :confuse:
  • egadgetguyegadgetguy Member Posts: 7
    My key has been sticking and it won't work until I jiggle the shifter lever.

    Now I am having that intermittent "T/C off light + hard shifting" problem. It goes away if I shut it off and returns sometime during driving.

    totally unrelated, the aux input sometimes sounds 'tinny' regardless of which device I use. it happened today at the same time [about] as the T/C light reappeared.

    I am planning on a trip to the dealer and I hope he can fix it.

    I have been reading that MANY people are having this problem. It sounds like a recall is in order!
    :sick: :confuse:
  • vwronvwron Member Posts: 2
  • vwronvwron Member Posts: 2
  • rdesantisrdesantis Member Posts: 30
    Any one having issues with engine RPM going up and down whicle is in motion when traveling 45KPH (25mph)?. My 2008 H has developed a nasty little twitch. It feels like the transmission wants to shift and accellerate with out my approval, however I do not want to. If I travel at 40 kmh, the twitch does not occur nor if i travel at 50kmh. But at 45 kmh a rocking motion occurs, Vvvvv, Vvvvv, Vvvvv, Vvvvv until I decrease or increase the speed, by 5kmh. My foot is as steady as can be on the accelorator however, The up/down RPM motion does not occur if I ingage the cruise control, only when I use the gas pedal. It may not even be the tranny,

    Any Suggestions??

    Also, i Truly appriciate my H. For you HHR fans, I just returned from the 2009 Auto show in Detoit, and the 2010 "Orlando", will be replacing the HHR , and is a real catch in my opinion. The Windsheild is larger for increased visablilty and a third row, yes third row of seating is now available. Only The Euopean models will have a diesel engine (option). Pretty neat eh!
  • harryhotrodharryhotrod Member Posts: 1
    I think GM fixed my problem. Yes, I too, had the T/C light come on with rough shifting then maybe (or maybe not) the check engine light would come on after a few miles. Then I'd stop/park and when I'd restart the T/C light was off but check engine light would stay on. Then ALL lights would be off ... then all of a sudden T/C light ... then the check engine ... same $hit all over again. Here is how my problem was fixed.
    1st time! I paid 100.00 to reflash my EBCM, PCM and TCM modules. They said they were receiving a bunch of corrupt data which is why they recommended it. Just before I got back to work the T/C came back on and engine light. So I took it back.
    2nd time (the charm)- They said my Exhaust Cam Actuator was inoperable. They replaced it for $200.00. I drove the HHR for a couple days ... HOT DANG!!! I think it's fixed!!!
  • 87silver87silver Member Posts: 9
    2 methods of repair:

    1) Simple adjustment of the shift interlock mechanism.


    2) Replace the shift control assembly.
  • redgeminiparedgeminipa Member Posts: 74
    I had a similar problem with mine that started at around 2,100 miles, but no check engine light and my TC Off light only came on when it was in Park sitting at idle. My dealer worked with me as best they could. The key is to get it into the dealer while the TC Off light is still on. DO NOT turn off the car. I got mine into the dealer with the light on, they pulled 4 codes, but service work stopped there and was told the District Service Manager refused to allow them to work on my car anymore since I didn't buy it in this district. That's when I proceeded with Lemon Law and won a partial refund since I was under the 1 year 12k miles under PA Lemon Law terms. Best of luck to you. I would still have mine today if my dealer could've fixed the problems. But, I was tired of dealing with it and traded it in after I won the settlement. :lemon:
  • egadgetguyegadgetguy Member Posts: 7
    Please let us know if this was the repair. I am having the same problem still.
  • egadgetguyegadgetguy Member Posts: 7
    #29 of 31 Re: Traction Control System & Check Engine Light [redgeminipa] by harryhotrod Mar 04, 2009 (7:40 pm)
    Replying to: redgeminipa (Nov 30, 2008 8:49 pm)

    I think GM fixed my problem. Yes, I too, had the T/C light come on with rough shifting then maybe (or maybe not) the check engine light would come on after a few miles. Then I'd stop/park and when I'd restart the T/C light was off but check engine light would stay on. Then ALL lights would be off ... then all of a sudden T/C light ... then the check engine ... same $hit all over again. Here is how my problem was fixed.
    1st time! I paid 100.00 to reflash my EBCM, PCM and TCM modules. They said they were receiving a bunch of corrupt data which is why they recommended it. Just before I got back to work the T/C came back on and engine light. So I took it back.
    2nd time (the charm)- They said my Exhaust Cam Actuator was inoperable. They replaced it for $200.00. I drove the HHR for a couple days ... HOT DANG!!! I think it's fixed!!!
    Please let us know if this was the repair. I am having the same problem still.
  • huffmanshhr1huffmanshhr1 Member Posts: 14
    I have just purchased our 2007 2.4l HHR and we adore this car! Hearing the same defect car after car IS scaring me though!!! If I am not mistaken though, just about every car has its problems.
    My questions are 1) I heard something on this forum avout our radiators getting holes punched in them easily and some kind of cover we can buy to prevent this!? Now I ccant find where I read that. Can anyone help me with that?

    2) A neighbor told me that CHevy makes a 100,000 mile spark plug!! I told him he was full of it and he said if I dont believe him to call the company and ask. Well wouldnt that be somewhere in the manual if it were true? Has anyone else heard of such a thing!?

    3) Mu BIGGEST complaint is Im not getting near the gas milage as everyone else in this forum. Im getting 18-20 at BEST in city, and have never seen better than 26 on the highway. Could something be wrong with MY HHR? We JUST bought it 3 weeks or so ago so I want to be sure while it is still "new" off the lot.

    Thanks to everyone in advance for any help they can give us. We are proud of our car and if we can fix this gas problem will be HHr owners for a long time to come :shades: .

    Mrs H
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    I replied to your mileage issue under the mileage catagory along with comments about 100,000 mile plugs that are produced by a couple companies.
  • egadgetguyegadgetguy Member Posts: 7
    I finally took my HHR in for the T/C light problem. IT'S FIXED!!!

    I was having it more often. First the traction control light, later, the check engine light, then no T/c light, later no engine light, then the whole thing would start over.

    The code was Exhaust Cam Actuator. They replaced it for $141, [I paid $100 deductable] and it's been a week with no problems. Since it was happening every day, I believe it's fixed!

    Thanks guys! :D
  • wizard83wizard83 Member Posts: 1
    I recently experienced the same problem.
    I did this, I found that the tire pressure was not the same in all tires, I put them all to 40# and haven't had the TC light come back on and it shifts fine again. The check engine light is still on but have been told that it must be reset??? I will take it in and have it checked out but expect that I will be told that nothings wrong. The parts store had a device to reset lights, wanted $75 for it, don.t think it,s worth it.
    Some parts stores will do it free to sell you replacement parts, will check this out also.
  • egadgetguyegadgetguy Member Posts: 7
    After dealing with this problem for several months, and thinking it was solved, only to have it return within a few short days, it has now been gone for almost four months. The fix I reported in my previous post, that being 'Exhaust Cam Actuator' did the trick.
  • hhrsshhrss Member Posts: 1
    I am having a recurring problem moving my automatic transmission shift lever from Park to any other gear. I live in Arizona and my car is a 2009 HHR SS. This problem just started when the weather has turned colder (it was 39 this morning and it took me over 30 minutes to be able to drive the car). I read the instructions in the owners manual and followed them which eventually seems to work but not always.
    Is this a weather-related issue (cold vs warm) or something else? I never had a problem in weather above 75 way up to 110.

    I have 9800 miles on HHR. Is there something the dealer can do to help? I have not been to the dealer yet.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    Hhmm I don't think it would be weather related. Are you using the overide thing to get it to work? If so it may be an issue with Brake Transaxle Shift Interlock. Are you parking on any kind of incline without using the parking brake before putting into park (could cause pawl in tranny to be sorta locked)?
  • jodilynmjodilynm Member Posts: 1
    What was wrong with your car? I have an 06 LT2 with 53k also and it just started the other day. it always happens when I drive over the same bumps in the road...weird.
  • jesusjrjesusjr Member Posts: 1
    Once I have my 2006 HHR's AC on for about 10-20 minutes, whenever the automatic transmission shifts gears, there is a kick when shifting to another gear. The strongest kick is from 1st to 2nd. When I turn my car off for a while and restart my car, often the problem goes. Often it stays. I took it to the dealership and they just drove it a while and did not find a problem. I'm going to Baltimore (9 hours away) in about 4 days and do not want to run into a problem. Thank you for your valued assistance!!!!!!!!
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    On my 06 and at least a few others there was an issue related to A/C being overcharged with refrigerant. Mine is manual tranny, but what I noticed was very noticeable sudden engine performance degradation when A/C was on max (perhaps I had it on recirc also). This would happen after it had been on for a period of time. I suggested it might be an overfill when I took it to dealer and they did whatever they do and hasn't returned since.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    Hello Jesusir,
    Have you taken your vehicle to a different dealership for a second opinion? Do you have any codes pop up when your vehicle shifts hard? Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • hhr6hhr6 Member Posts: 1
    My 2006 HHR has been good for 105900 miles. Yes I have had the brakes done five times. Both front and back with drums and rotors turned. The last time the service depart. decided to install their best stuff with a lifetime warranty. We'll see!!. Now the engine light comes on intermittently and the heat goes from normal 185 to 190 then the transmission shifts with jerks . We are saying its dirty sensors. I will return for an possible engine flush which was decided after 6 visits.
  • oldpopsoldpops Member Posts: 2
    Have you tried JC Whitney? They have a web site now and have alot of old stuff.
  • oldpopsoldpops Member Posts: 2
    After driving about 40 miles on interstate, stopping at stop sign and try to take off, my car runs very rough, doesn't seem to done shift but tries start off in OD. Can someone share any information on this?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    I am sorry your experiencing concerns with your vehicle. Have you spoke with your dealer reguarding your concerns? If not, I would recommend starting there. Please keep me updated on your situation.
    GM Customer Service
  • jenkies70jenkies70 Member Posts: 1
    I have a used 2006 HHR that I've only had about 2 years. It's never really had any problems until the last couple of months. When I first start driving, it kicks really hard going into gear, and then again going into 2nd gear, after that it's smooth sailing. I talked to my very trusted mechanic, who, unfortunately does not work on transmissions, and now my next step is the transmission shop. I'm hoping I can get some feedback as to what the problem might be. I really try to do my homework before purchasing a vehicle, and thought I found a good one...til now. It only has 64,000 miles on it and of course is not under the manufacturer's warranty. Any info is greatly appreciated.
  • aldoraldor Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2009
    Hello Sir, did you find the problem with your HHR trasmission?
    Im having the same problem and I would like to get some info before I take it to the dealer.
  • aldoraldor Member Posts: 2
    Hello Sir, did you find the problem with your HHR trasmission?
    Im having the same problem and I would like to get some info before I take it to the dealer.
  • jmonahan43jmonahan43 Member Posts: 1
    I wish to tow the HHR behind my motorhome. I read that it can be towed flat with an automatic tranny. Is this true? No modifications? I will buy a manual tranny if the auto can't be towed. I hope someone can answer this.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    I checked the 2010 HHR manual on how to tow this car behind a recreational vehicle. It looks like you can either tow it with all four wheels on the ground or with the front two wheels on a dolly. The only note I see on what NOT to do (at least for the 2010 HHR) is that the vehicle should not be towed in reverse.

    If you had a specific model year in mind, let me know and I can make sure that this is true for that model year as well.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
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