Chevy HHR Brake Problems

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
edited January 2018 in Chevrolet
If an issue is coming up when youput your foot down, this is the place to discuss it!


  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    Ok, So its not really an engine problem, just seems like the best place to mention it.

    Winter temps have finally arrived here in Ct and with them I get a brake fluid warning and red brake light warning plus 'ding ding' to make me look. Problem is really a false indicater of fluid level (in my case, DO NOT ASSUME ITS FALSE) and there is a fix available and dealer is ordering new part to correct. It only shows up when temps are in low 20's or less and only when brake peddle is firmly pressed and held for 20 secs or so. I am just posting this in case someone else should see it and wonder.
  • kathiky1kathiky1 Member Posts: 19
    I bought an HHR (the higher end one) recently and it now has a little over 5000 miles on it.

    The other day, I was driving and saw the vehicle in front of me slow to turn off. When I pressed my brakes, I heard a horrible grinding noise that reminds me of when you try to wind up a toy in the wrong direction. My pedal would not depress and the car would not even slow.

    Since that day was cold and there could have been a bit of ice, I pumped the brake to see if the ABS had just locked up. Mind you, I live in KY, so there is rarely ice on the road... but I'm originally from OH, so I did it instinctually. The brake pedal felt like it was locked in the up position. Luckily I had been about 6-7 car lengths behind and by the time I got up in his rear, my brake pedal released (still with resistance) and I was able to slow enough not to hit him.

    I took it into the shop and they said everything was working fine. Fine? I asked what they did to come to that conclusion and they said they took a computer read and nothing unusual had happened. I asked if they were able to tell when the ABS had been engaged (because this would have been the only time) and they said the computer doesn't track that. They explained that since the car was stopping fine for them, everything worked properly.

    Does anyone have any advice to share here? I don't have any warm fuzzy knowing the car dealer dismissed the fact that I almost rear-ended a pickup truck while going 45 mph. I saw a another posting about "something" rotors, but I don't know enough about cars to even know if that could be related.

    I'm also a bit leary of this dealer because after I signed the papers to buy the car, they informed me that while they were a Chevy dealer, they were not recognized by GM and could not give me the special financing. Does this mean they don't meet GM standards? They've been the only car place in town for ages.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    I looked around here and there and only found one instance similar to what you are describing ('brakes not working'). In that case I believe ABS light was on and they replaced sensors (presumably code was set)
  • kathiky1kathiky1 Member Posts: 19
    After my post, I found an identical complaint filed with ODI ( It was ODI10178165.

    I decided to file a similar complaint ODI10179551 so someone knows it has happened more than once.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I've moved your post on your missing problem to the HHR Engine Problems discussion and you may continue there.
  • smogdungsmogdung Member Posts: 349
    During a snowstorm I slammed on the brakes to test the ABS, it was an unsettling sound that's made....but it did seem to be anti-lock braking? Sounds like a box of rocks between the pads and rotor and the brake pedal sort of does it's own thing can feel the pulsing up-down.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    Hehe is a little unsettleing feeling and sound, but it does let you know ABS is in play and working. Just have to get over the thoughts of taking you foot off pedal because you think there is something wrong
  • jenmikejenmike Member Posts: 11
    I have a 2006 HHR that we gat a month ago and I was just wondering about when I put my foot down to brake it is not a smooth brake but it feels like the brakes are pulsing and I can feel it in the steering wheel..Is it normal? or could it be the rotors?
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    If it happens on dry road during normal braking I wouuld guess rotors. If you have ABS and it happens on slick roads it could be the ABS working (pulsing felt mostly in pedal)
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    rotors may be warped...should be turned under warranty and insure the wheels are hand torqued back on..not use the impact wrench to tighten them ..GM rotors are notorious for this......
  • lorileygalorileyga Member Posts: 1
    I have a 07 HHR. Have had since 9/06. It is in the shop for the 3rd time due to braking issues. Terrible vibration in steering wheel and you can feel it in the seat when brakes are applied. 1st time in shop they turned the rotors at approx 5000 mi. 2nd time in shop at about 9000 miles replaced rotors. I now have 14,500 miles and am having the same issue. Everyone is nice at the dealership but I am ready for lemon law.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    the wheels should be hand torqued on and not tighten with the impact wrench...GM OEM rotors are infamous for warping if the wheels are mounted this way.......had the same problem in my 04 chevy malibu....ever since I began hand torguing them on.....havent had the problem...
  • smogdungsmogdung Member Posts: 349
    I don't get it, what would the tightness of the lug nuts have to do with the rotors warping? I put way over a 100,000 miles on a 90 Bereta GTZ & never had to do anything to the brakes...not even pads....
  • hhrprobshhrprobs Member Posts: 13
    I got 7000 miles on my 2006 hrr and now when i go to put on the brakes it shakes really bad,and the car jerks.Feels like the moter is goin to come out of it.anyone had that problem?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    does the steering wheel shake...sounds like the brake rotors are warped..probably needed to be turned..should be done under warranty......and insure the wheels are torqued to specification with a torque wrench vice an impact wrench when they are remounted...
  • jenmikejenmike Member Posts: 11
    i just had my 2006 HHR with under 4000 miles in for the rotors being warped...The service guy blamed it on the heat and the hills here...bull crap. He also said I just made it under "a window" to have the rotors fixed. I dont understand how a car with under 4000 miles just makes the so called windowto get fixed. Arent they covered under the 3 yrs warranty?
  • hhrprobshhrprobs Member Posts: 13
    they should be 3 yrs,What was your hhr doing when it was the roters?mine when i apply my brakes,jerks and feels like the moter is coming out ,and i live in nc,where there are no hills.I feel like i got a :lemon: .I never had so many probs with a new car.
  • jenmikejenmike Member Posts: 11
    When I would press down on the brake..the stering wheel would shake and the was alot of vibration in the front of the car. This is pretty much the only problem we have had with the car. The one other problem was a driver side mirror defect that was fixed quickly. I really love my HHR and I am glad we bought it.
  • bertvbertv Member Posts: 6
    Same issue on my 06 HHR. Had rotors turned at 25,000km and 50000km. Now at 73000km (out of warranty) and they need to be replaced. Design is obviously crap! Called the GM Customer Service Center - same old BS....they really don't have a clue at times.....
  • hheroldhherold Member Posts: 2
  • barbannabarbanna Member Posts: 6

    SAME THING! I bought a new '07 HHR-LT in early May. The VERY NEXT DAY the steering wheel began shaking violently whenever I braked from any speed higher than 40 MPH. Brought it back to the dealer and they said the rotors were "out of round" - this is a NEW car! Six weeks and 2,400 miles later the shaking returned whether I was braking or not. It was like the front wheels were not balanced. The same service mgr. apologized for the recurrence, stating that the original repair person was not terribly experienced (wow, what a confidence builder for me to trust THAT dealership!) He said they turned the rotors again and the problem was fixed. The car drove fine for about 24 hours, then it developed a distinct clicking sound whenever I applied the brakes at any speed. I'm fed up. I'm getting rid of it!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    much of the wraping problem has been linked to over torgueing the wheels.....dont know what its a problem..but had the same issue with my 04 malibu and 03 sorento.....once the rims where hand torqued on...after they were removed...I have experienced the problem....again rotors turned and the wheels hand torqued back on....over 50K on both cars since it happened....
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    It's unfortunate that it appears that they aren't following proper procedures. I know someone that had the same issues but even worse so after their Pathfinder was returned after having new tires put on and it wouldn't drive straight. Turns out the wheels were over-tightened with the air wrench and the rotars were indeed warped/bent.
  • pennyopennyo Member Posts: 1
    I have Had my HHR in the shop multiple time with the same problem, I was told by the dealership that on the third shop visit that they changed my rotors. Few months past and shaking again. I am at 39,000 miles now and they called to tell me the car needed new rotors. Found out they didn't replace them after all just resurface them. The car has been shaking since it was 2 wks old. They say I must pay for them since car not under warranty! My car shift system also went out at 6mo old. I need help with GM! :lemon:
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Unfortunately it is common for OEM brakes to wear out faster then aftermarket brake pads. Quite a few auto manufactures buy from the same company supplier at a cheap price. Manufacture warrantees do not cover brake wear because it is considered normal wear and tear, and who knows who drove the car and how it was treated. If your problems as you say are shaking or vibration that started during the warranty period then this should likely be covered or a reasonable explanation in what is wrong should be given. If this problem started after a tire rotation or some other service that required the wheels/tires to be removed, they are at fault.
  • hhrprobshhrprobs Member Posts: 13
    yes im in .I think chevy should take the hhr's bk and start a new line because mines been nothing but trouble ever since i got it.I got mine in june of 2006,and it has 11000 on it. :lemon:
  • cassie8cassie8 Member Posts: 1
  • hhrprobshhrprobs Member Posts: 13
    I agree the car looks good.but i dont even want the car anymore.Mines 2006 hhr and i have had your problems and more.I've had it in the shop for roters,witch they turned.In witch its done it again since then.and get now its got this thing when you crank it makes a crazy sound.I've had to call the rd side service 10 times,Because the car wouldnt crank.Took it in and they said it was the swith,and ordered one.the car is a lemon anf i think they should take them all back.and start over.The cars are suppose to be american but there built in mexico.My car has 13000 on it.i cant listen to the radio with out it cuting off in less than 5 mins.Im argry and i wish i had never bought the car.i could go on and on but i will stop.Sounds like we all got ourselfs a :lemon:
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Some PT Cruisers come from Mexico as well. Many cars do nowadays because of economics.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Ok, I never realized that. Thank you for setting me strait. I will see you back on the Toyota forum.
  • dyoungmdyoungm Member Posts: 2
    We have a 2006 we love with 30K miles and the rotors were turned last fall. Last week the shudder of the braking started again and the rotors were turned again. Now there is a audible roar when braking even gently at anything over 30MPH. We did not do hard braking or mountainous driving before either event. The dealer tried to get me to pay for the second turning but I argued that my son in law is a GM dependant and has had 6 Chevys in the last 10 years and never once had to have his rotor turned or had the shudder when braking. Why should this car be any cheaper built than the Tracker he once owned? They thought it over about 3 minutes and agreed to shove it under warranty. Tomorrow I take it for the roar.

    So far the only complaint other than brakes was that the fools at GM tried to sell me a roof rack without cross bars. When we got the car home we looked for the cross bars all under the seats and in the boot. The dealer said they were extra. I asked for the section of the user manual that explains how to use it without them and they could not tell me how to put a small boat up there or anything else. I told them I was bringing the car back as defective and they gave me the cross bars. ;)
  • leolion39leolion39 Member Posts: 4
    have a issue with my hhr
    is the brakes.. made very funny sound grind then klunk... after making way home slowly... taking the front wheels off .. discover that the inside pads of front rotors are gone on the passenger side.. and on drivers side are 1/2 the thickness of the outside pads... it appears that the calipers are not engaging properly...
    any one know of this
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Haven't heard of that issue being common. I am assuming yours is still under warranty and this doesn't sound like a normal wear and tear issue.
  • acmechacmech Member Posts: 2
    I purchased my HHR in Feb 2006. 1 week later I had it in the shop for surging when braking. They ground the brakes and all was well for a month.
    When it started again I was resigned to the belief that they (the brakes) were just to light for the vehicle. Mine is a LT2, so I have 17 in wheels. At about 26k my wife took it back and they ground them again and all was well again.
    It started to wander on the freeway around 32k so I went back again to have the alignment checked, and was told that the tires were half worn and that was the problem. I was born at night.... you know how that goes.
    I wanted new tires anyway so off to Sears for Goodyear Assurance treads. Great tires by the way.
    At 41k they started to surge again and finally exiting the highway I experienced a violent shaking. Back to the dealership to be told that the wheels were over torqued by Sears. Now I'm an aircraft mechanic and I kind of know maintenance and I know a line of crap when I hear it. The only problem is I’m out of warranty at this point, and they want $500 to correct the problem.
    I believe the problem is caused by over generation of heat from larger wheels and the inability to cool due to the design of the rotors.
    Other than the brakes I love the car, so I'm going to invest in cross drilled and slotted rotors that are treated with corrosion inhibitors and ceramic brake pads, and I believe this will cure the problem. I'll get back to ya!
  • tim08hhr1tim08hhr1 Member Posts: 7
    There is a TSB for that problem. The number is #08-05-23-003. That will take care of your brake problem.

    FYI also the is a TSB for the Front of the vehicle to protect the radiator. You need this done ASAP because you could get a rock that will damage the radiator.

    RECALL on the headliner for each side of car.

    Check this out.....

    Hopefully this will help you

    Because you have had this problem several times in the past........ the dealership should take care of this. If they do not.... and you have records in the past that this has been done with the brakes. CALL GM. They know this is a problem
  • tim08hhr1tim08hhr1 Member Posts: 7
    There is a TSB for that problem. #08-05-23-003

    Also have them check for the Radiator guard. If you do not have one... YOU NEED IT. A stone will come in below bumper & damage your Radiator.

    Also have them check for the RECALL in headliner.
  • tim08hhr1tim08hhr1 Member Posts: 7
    There is a TSB out for this. #08-05-23-003 Take your HHR back to the dealership & have them run that number & do the work

    Also there is another one out there for the Front of the Radiator. It is a Stone Gaurd to protect the radiator. You have a 07 & it does not have it.

    Have them check the RECALL out as well. Headliner for non-airbags
  • tim08hhr1tim08hhr1 Member Posts: 7
    There is a TSB out for this #08-05-23-003 This should fix your problem.

    There is also one for your from radiator. It is a Radiator guard to protect it from stones.

    If you do not have side airbags there should be a RECALL on your vehicle as well.
  • hheroldhherold Member Posts: 2

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  • barbannabarbanna Member Posts: 6
    I traded in a two-year old 05 PT Cruiser for a new 07 HHR in May of last year. Shortly thereafter (the next DAY) my new HHR developed the troublesome front-end brake vibrations like those described by several others in this forum. Over the next two months I brought the HHR in THREE times to have the brake rotors repaired under the warranty.

    The dealer here in CT said the problem was warped rotors but had no clue as to why the problem kept recurring. He said they had heard nothing from GM. (A customer of my small business is an out-of-state Chevy service manager. I trust him. He, too, had not heard anything from GM about this problem.

    When, once again, the front end of my HHR started vibrating when braking for the FOURTH time, and after reading about the HHR owner who was told it would cost him $500 for another brake fix because his warranty was expired, I finally decided to get rid of my HHR.

    I'm now back happily driving a new PT Cruiser again and I do not have to worry about if (when) my car's front end will start shaking violently. The irony for me is that the day GM issued their TSB regarding the warping rotors on HHRs (5-23-08) was the same day I traded in my HHR.
  • saiyan1saiyan1 Member Posts: 1
    I'm sorry tim08hhr1, but what is a TSB. I am having the same violent shaking in my braking also. Thanks
  • clevageclevage Member Posts: 2
    I have a 08 HHR SS Turbo with 200 miles on it. my brakes have failed to stop.
    I start the engine, put in gear and it will start to move with 2 feet on the pedal.
    Just as it comes to a stop the ABS kicks in and it will than slow to a stop,with a rock hard pedal. no warning lights or codes.
    After a fey hundred feet of driving the problem has gon away.
    Dealer hasn't found any problems and they are ready to give it back to me.
    this has happened 3 times in 50 miles.

    Thanks for any input
    MARK ASE Certified Master Tech
  • clevageclevage Member Posts: 2
    The dealer called me back on the "NO BRAKE" problem and they say my brake problem was due to the turbo taking away vacuum that would supply the power brake booster. They say I need to idle for a little while befor taking off.
    THIS SHOULD BE A RECALL !!!! Let the world know now.....

    I had traded in a 06 HHR LT2 I purchased late 05. fully equipt . Chrome, 17 wheels,2.4L DOHC,6 disc CD, burgondy ( matches my Harley) ,pin striping...very sexy car. Never had a single problem. Lots of power!. I couldn't be happyer.
    But I wanted the 265 horse power.
  • crdavecrdave Member Posts: 3
    Say, tim08hhr1, on that rad guard, do you have aTSB number for it. The local dealer says nothing shows(I'm in Kanuckistan- formerly known as Canada), but I'm not too happy with these guys. I tried getting into the GM tech/service page, but a connection to a dealership or shop is needed to access the good info. I have an 07 LT- so far so good- only has just over 3,000 miles on it. Sure is a fun vehicle.CR Dave
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    TSB for radiator guard is 08-06-02-001. The part number is 25829960. I think the part is around $25 LIST PRICE, GMPARTSDIRECT retail is $13 (plus shipping of course). I can't find it listed yet for other gm parts places online.
  • vtm1937vtm1937 Member Posts: 1
    I have had the same problem with the brakes. The 1st time with about 15k they pulsated extremely bad resurfaced rotors and did not replace pads and the 2nd time at 30k took to shop on 6-17-08 they did resurface the rotors but wanted to replace the pads at a charge of $140.00 that I told them no. If your already removed the rotors what's the big deal in replacing the pads in about another 15 Minutes. I have owned about 40-50 GM cars in my life and never had a brake problem. I called the GM customer assistance line on 8-4-08 and was told then do not have any technical knowledge they go by what the dealer tells them if that is not useless what is. I also asked where is all the testing info of the pre built models but guess what they have no Idea. Do they work for GM! yes but they do they know anything only the standard answers.
  • chevman3chevman3 Member Posts: 1
    Guys, excuse me for venting but it is a beautiful Saturday here yet I am one angry HHR owner. I have a Chevy HHR 2006 with 31,000 miles and several weeks back I went to my local Chevy dealer in Wheaton/Glen Ellyn, Illinois when I noticed that the slight brake pulsating that I always had from day one with this vehicle had grown into the violent shaking that has been described in this column. They told me my brakes were "shot" and that my brake warranty was expired because brakes on all Chevy's are only for 12 months or 12,000 miles. When I explained that I always got 45,000 - 50,000 miles out of my brakes with every car I ever owned, they told me that the brakes were "really shot" and that they have seen this on many HHR's. The bill to fix this: $500.00+.

    Was I pissed off? I am a former Chevy mechanic from the 70's and I could not believe that these brakes were "shot," so I told the Service Writer to take a hike. Today I finally had time to look at the brakes and lo and behold, the front pads and rear shoes have at least 20,000 miles left on them. They're not "shot" and putting a dial indicator on the front rotors indicated that the left front was really out of round. The right front wasn't too bad, but since I have everything apart, decided to have both the front rotors and rear drums cut and replace the pads and shoes.

    I am in the middle of this project on my day off and I now see that there is a bulletin on this warped rotor issue. Can someone tell me what this bulletin says and any ideas why my Chevy dealer was not aware of this bulletin? Do I have any recourse on getting my money back for the brake parts I purchased today along with the machining of the drums and rotors?

    You know, I am from the Chevy era when they made former mechanics like me work on the worst pieces of junk; the Chevy Vega and Chevy Chevette. I purchased this HHR because I started to believe the hype that GM had really gotten their quality back up to the Japanese. Don't believe that crap for a minute. This issue has me so mad I am tempted as the previous writer to get rid of this thing and stay off GM for the rest of my life. Buy American? Yeah, I did and got it thrown back in my face...and they wonder why their sales are down.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Actually the Chevette was a descent car. We had the first year model 1976 that we inherited from my grandmother in California and brought it back to Illinois. The car was still running when my sister and her husband got rid of it at 18-years because it was wore out. I used it as my winter car and it got very good mileage. The only issue with this car was the one barrel carborator needing replacing once or twice. Very reliable. I knew other people who had later models with no issues.

    I knew three people with Vega's with no issues other than being way under powered. Nice looking sporty 2-door.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    I agree with you. only thing I didn't like was at highway speeds it was quite noisey. I had a Citation (X car) and those had a bad rep but ours ran and ran.
  • eddiep130eddiep130 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 2007 hhr premier edition it is a great car when it not shakeing me out of the drivers seat because of the junk rotors that gm uses. thay were cut at 4000 miles again at 8500 miles and needs it again at 13500 miles my dealer claims its my driving habits.but according to this forum i don,t think thats the need to step up to the bar and make this problem right
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