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Chevrolet Cobalt Transmission Issues



  • Terry V Reece /
    P O Box 304 Elizabethton, TN 37644
    2008 Chev Cobalt / 2 dr Vin# 1G1AL18F187278900 Appointment set 11-05-11 at Champion Chevrolet-Johnson City TN (423) 218-0328 8:30am
    Tech= Mark Leonard
    Miles = 62k

    Please help with the Flutter/Shutter Issue
    TCC Valve.
  • coccococco Posts: 2
    my 2005 cobolt stall when im stopped. im at a redlight and it stalls when stopped. the idle falls below one half and it dies. sometimes when i accellerate and it goes to shift (automatic) it stalls too
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Good morning, Terry,

    Thank you very much for the information, and please keep us updated on your progress towards resolving this concern. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email Christina.

    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    If you were to bring your HHR to the dealer, just know that Customer Assistance is available to you. Email Christina with your information!

    GM Customer Service
  • coccococco Posts: 2
    not only does my 2005 cobolt stall frequently but the headlights and turnsignal lights burn out constantly. my mechanic says there is an electrical problem but he can't pin point it...any ideas. my new bulbs last from a week to a day.
  • The Torque Converter Clutch [TCC] "Lock-up" sequence can cause problems, to test if the TCC is the problem try this.

    1. Fully warm the vehicle and enter the time the shudder occurs.
    2. Without releasing the gas pedal, engage the brakes lightly, this will dis-engage the TCC
    3. IF the shudder stops, a THEN re-occurs upon releasing the brake pedal, the TCC is at fault.

    Cause, "generally" the fit between the Torque Converter shaft and the bearing in the transmission is too wide, often a torque converter fixes the issue, other times it takes BOTH the bearing and the torque converter to remedy the situation.

    Early TCC engagements had ONE lock-up speed, this resulted in "hunting" or continuous locking and unlocking of the TCC , newer vehicles have spread the speed of the lock and unlock by several MPH to avoid this.

    "INDUSTRY" has an average memory of Seven years before making the same mistake again.
    Perhaps the computer on the Cobalt is set too close on this action.

    Otherwise the valve body may cause the transmission to shift up and down erratically.

    A competent aftermarket Transmission shop can usually correct these issues by changing spring pressures or drilling out fluid passage restrictions.
    Look for a High Performance Transmission Shop for this issue.

    Another route is to contact GM Customer Service.
    Even if a vehicle is OUT-OF-WARRANTY, problems specific to a vehicle are often fixed for free.

    Ask your Parts Man for TSB's regarding your vehicle, this may incur a small cost, otherwise look in the back of your owners manual for Service Manuals / TSB's [Technical Service Bulletins]
    When asking the parts man for a favor, always bring a bag of Apples or Donuts for bribery :)

    Here's GM's contact info if the former provides no joy.

    GM General Motors Corporate Office Headquarters HQ
    300 Renaissance Center
    Detroit, MI United States
    GM Corporate Phone Number: 1-313-556-5000

    GM Mailing Address
    P.O. Box 33170
    Detroit, MI 48232-5170

    Most Sincerely
    40yr + Wrench
  • drvettedrvette Posts: 99
    edited November 2011
    Does the engine shudder prior to stalling, or just quit ?

    Ignition modules often fail under heat and start up again upon cooling.
    If yours just quits and restarts, I suspect fuel flow problems, however with your lighting issues, I do wonder.
    If the engine shudders prior to stalling, I suspect a TCC [Torque Converter Clutch] issue, see previous post

    Frequent Lamp failure usually occurs from one of four issues.

    1. "Low-Voltage"
    an alternator is a 3-phase generator, it can show full voltage when lightly loaded yet drop drastically when fully loaded, one or two of the phases may be faulty.
    Operate the fan on full, lights on bright, AC on, wipers, rear defroster EVERYTHING at one time,,, THEN check the voltage, should be no less than 13.1~
    Low Voltage causes High Amps, High Amps causes excess Heat.
    Also the battery cable to the starter & load centers is now copper coated aluminum, the one going to the starter/load center may expand and lose partial contact, usually in Hot weather, to fix, install new lug [soldered on].

    2. "Poor Grounding"
    Vehicles with front end wreck damage often have the ground connections on top of painted metal, on high demand times, these heat up ;and fail, temporarily.
    Very Hard to troubleshoot, look for new paint under ground lugs, rust, old paint, partially broken wires etc, also look for signs of heating in and under the fuse/breaker box.
    You can run an alternative ground wiresdirectly to the battery for lighting to test..
    Also the battery grounds to several points.
    The Chassis, usually on the firewall.
    The Engine Block, usually near the battery to save wire, check for corrosion, black buildup indicates long term failure & heat causing a non-conductive coating..
    Modern battery cables are copper coated aluminum, these can heat up and lose partial contact when hot.
    Colors that cause contact failures to look for are;

    3. "Invisible Corrosion"
    A term I coined regarding any failure to transmit voltage with no obvious reason.
    Clean-Up shops spray Silicone Tire Shine all over the engine, Silicone is an enemy of very low voltage connections. A sharp eye can sometimes see the shiny and sometimes amber coating on connections.
    New vehicles have "weather-pack" proof connections, Silicone can penetrate these and wreak havoc.

    The fix, using a wire toothbrush, abrade and clean with Electra-Clean, top off with an electrical conductivity spray like CRC 2-26 or 5-56

    On very low voltage connections, a simple skint place in the wire can cause corrosion & faillure. While working on a Roadmaster the Air Temp Sensor showed bad, a new one did not fix it.
    A close inspection of the wire showed a very tiny break in the insulation, the copper wire was green causing the failure of the 5v device.
    Electricity flows on the OUTSIDE of the wire surface, not the inside, this is why a small bit of corrosion on an otherwise solid connection can fail.

    The signal voltages to your engine components can vary as low as 3.0vdc is why I made this mention.

    4. High Voltage,
    a seldom problem however the voltage regulator in the alternator can go bad sending high voltage to components. The battery voltage indicator should indicate this but only during high engine speeds, usually while you're looking at the road. At idle it may show correct voltage, 14.0~

    Bottom Line
    1 Low Voltage, most likely culprit
    2. Poor Grounds next
    3. Invisible Corrosion
    4. High Voltage

    Fixing cars is a tedious and often maddening task, I feel for your wrench, however FAIL NOT to bite the bullet and take it to a reputable dealer before spending good money after bad..

    I'm so sorry to be so wordy however this issue is multifaceted and required a more complete explanation.

  • See my test for shuddering transmission issues. Post No 74

    Also note that GM Cust Ser is answering many of these postings, perhaps they'll institute a TSB [Technical Service Bulletin] for this issue.

    Note, TSB's are unlike "Recalls" where the mfg contacts YOU.
    YOU must contact THEM with a complaint to get resolution.

    Also, depending upon the dealer/service writer, you may have to be aware of a TSB regarding your issue to force their hand.

  • I failed to put GM's Customer Service email addy in the previous post, sorry.


    GM Customer Service
  • what a load of crap!
    The cobalt is so flawed; the entire car should be a recall. The only reason they haven't done that is because they'd go bankrupt. The Cobalts for the first few years AT LEAST are a disgrace to the GM fleet. What a LEMON! I'm done wasting money on a chevy -- push pull or drag sale for a 6.5 yr old car is pretty bad! the only way to get a penny back for it. :mad:
  • I own a 2008 Cobal 4dr sedan and have experienced many of the same issues posted in this forum... and I've only owned it for 3 months! Now I know why the previous owners got rid of it!!!

    My car experiences hestitation and stalling with jumping RPMs several times daily. The power steering (which was recalled two years ago), just got replaced but the Chevy dealership clearly did not pick up on the engine/transmition/??????? problem.

    I was concerned before, but after reading hundreds of the same complaints by other Cobalt owners, I am literally terrified to get back behind the wheel of my 2008 Chevy.

    The fact that there ARE SO MANY complaints - serious, safety complaints - about this vehicle, and it is still allowed on the road is appalling. What is MORE SHOCKING is that General Motors and Chevrolet are fully aware of this issue and are failing to do anything about it.

    I am disgusted, fearful, angry, and utterly beside myself.

    Has ANYONE been able to CLEARLY define what the problem is with the stalling/jumping engine and RPM issue?! It seems like there are dozens of theories in this forum, but I have not found a success story...

    Looks like I'll be getting rid of this car ASAP and will hope that it goes straight to the JUNK YARD!!!!!!!!

    :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • I have found resolution to my problem. I took my 2008 to the Dealership and told them that I had a TCC flutter issue and I needed them to fix it. The Tech looked at me and by expression knew what I was talking about. This fix is also covered under the 100k mile powertrain warranty. Since it was covered under warranty they even opted for me a rental car since it was a covered issue. The fix takes a few days for they have to pull transmission to get to the TCC Valve. This was done back in December and I have not had the same issue so I am taking it is now fixed. There are GM bullentins also about this issue but Chevrolet has not did a recall. Hope this helps. :) :)
  • nrichternrichter Posts: 1
    My step father Lawrence who lives in Manitoba, was driving down the road outside Winnipeg. When he went to apply his brakes he said there was nothing there... no brakes nothing.. total failure. Thankfully, Lawrence had the place of mind to use his AT to brake the vehicle. He geared down until the Colbalt 2008 vehicle came to a stop. Realizing he had missed his turn, he backed down the road approximately 150 feet or so. To his surprise the brakes started working again, as if nothing had happened before. When he got to his destination he later returned to the car only to find he could NOT get his key out of the steering column. He tried for two hours. As well he fopund that the COLBALT 2008 electrical system was stone dead ... nothing...not a bit of juice. Two hours later his nephew offered to try to get the key out. He worked at it and discovered he needed to push a button located under the steering column to remove the key. Meanwhile, the electricity returned to the car. Lawrence took the car into be checked. They removed the wheels to check the brake pads and found they were in mint condition. As well, the battery was fully charged and their was nothing wrong with the car's mechanical side anywhere. Two mechanics worked on the car for three hours. Is anyone else having these kinds if experiences with their 2008 Colbalt or 2008 Cavalier because Lawrence is now "scared to death" to drive the car anywhere. GM is telling his dealer they've never heard of these problems. We need to find an answer before someone is killed in a COLBALT 2008 or CAVALIER 2008.
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Good morning nrichter,

    Has your stepfather had the chance to contact GM of Canada? They provide customer service for our Canadian owners and can be reached at 800-263-3777 (Hours: M-F 7:30am - 11:30pm, Sat 7:30am - 6:00 EST).

    Hopefully everything will be sorted out soon!
    Take care,
    GM Customer Service
  • dispencer2dispencer2 Posts: 299
    OK - First off a Cobalt or any GM vehicle except for a truck in my opinion can't go 155,000 miles without a number of things going wrong. As a paper delivery guy you also drive in town making MANY stops and starts and excessive brake wear would be a natural. If I were delivering papers I'd buy a year or two used base model economy car - Accent, Cobalt, Civic, Yaris, Corolla, etc with about 20k miles on it to avoid immediate depreciation and drive it to about 100k miles then turn it in for another used car with low mileage. You need something that is dependable if you deliver papers. I'm not crazy about Consumers Union and their bias toward Japanese cars but their reliability is better than most domestic cars. Dump your Cobalt before you waste any more money and frustration on a car that isn't worth much of anything. Most cars will go 100k miles without a lot of repairs. Dump them after that.
  • chromed1chromed1 Posts: 1
    I Read all the trans shutter comments and my car is under warranty, so I took it in to the dealer last week and explained the scenario, they changed torque converter and valve body, turbine shaft and support, I just picked it up an hour ago and made it 15 miles, Its still doing it and maybe worse. Now what? Ill be making the call in a few. We'll see what happens.
  • My 2008 Cobalt is in the shop again. The previous TCC valve fix only lasted for 15,000 miles. The tranny is fluttering between 3rd and 4th gear AGAIN for the last 15,000 or so miles. Again, I had difficulty with the service advisor repeating the issue. I had to grab the previous service advisor and ride shot gun to explain how and when the tranny acts up. Between 30 - 45 mph under no acceleration, the fluttering happens. The tachometer will jump up and down bucking the car as the engine shifts repeatedly from 3rd to 4th gear. Irritating! The dealership is ordering a new valve body and torque converter while I drive a new Impala loaner car. I'm on day 5 and the car is not expected to be fixed until Tuesday or Wednesday next week so another 4 days. This will be the second torque converter but first valve body. The valve body is the key. I had to get it into the shop before the 100k warranty expired. This problem is hard to duplicate if the mechanic has never experienced this problem. Don't be shy demanding to ride shot gun with the service advisor. My dealer is pretty good with me. They know I can be a a**hole if pushed too far. I had the ignition cylinder replaced too. I've had problems either taking the key out or putting the key in and attempting to turn on the car. The recall came in the mail and I took care of it while the tranny was being worked on. Good Luck :)
  • My Cobalt has 140,000 miles and I recently experienced a horrible shuddering sound. It seems as if it isn't shifting gears. I see others have experienced some similar issues. Is there a solution? How much do the repairs run?

    Thanks in advance for your input
  • nikkikettnikkikett Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with flutter at low speed and it lurches forward. Service guys act like this is not a Cobalt problem oh but it is because several people have stated the same issue. My car is under warranty until some time in June I hope they figure it out or I will be there every other day. I also have noticed there is a electrical issue with this car. Blinkers and clickers don't work any more nor do the front speakers. I was told to replace the front driver side speaker and all problems will be resolved. Now if they can just figure out what is up with the transmission fluttering and lurching also recently not shifting into the last gear so my rpms are real high.
  • ahodaahoda Posts: 2
    I own a 2006 Cobalt LS, coupe, 5 speed manual, with 75,000 miles. Recently I have been experiencing what I believe to be a transmission/clutch issue. I am a mature adult driver (no hot rodding), however I am the second owner of this vehicle. I am very competent mechanically and have owned many manual trans vehicles, including multiple GM 5 speeds. The following is the issue I am currently experiencing:

    When accelerating from a complete stop, the car starts jerking/shaking from 1st to 2nd. I have noticed that it does more so when there is additional weight in the vehicle (i.e. 3 average size adults, rater than just the driver only).

    When this happens the whole car shakes and rattles. It doesn't seem to matter what speed the clutch is released/feathered. I have also experimented with different shift patterns and RPM ranges, only minor changes if any? It feels as though the clutch is being 'dumped' in a low RPM, but just enough to keep the car from dying. From a bystander's view it looks as though the driver is first learning to drive.

    I am not aware of any other mechanical issues. Also, just to note this doesn't occur when the car is accelerating from a rolling start. Only when there is the initial force to overcome. As I stated it is amplified by extra weight. I do not experience this in any other gears.

    I thank you in advanced for your help and I pray (literally) that this doesn't mean I need a new clutch or transmission.
  • Do replace the driver side speaker and that will fix that issue. On the other please read the rest of my posts so you know what to tell the tech when you take your Cobalt back to the service dept. This is a power train issue that should be covered under warranty up to 100k miles. I will also look back at post to find the correct verbage so you know. Do not pay anything for this is a GM problem that I discovered and they will not acknowledge. I will get back to you. Keep the faith!!! I had mine fixed over a year ago after much mcuh research!! :)
  • Please look at post 91. and also read my early post. I will get back with you as well. :)
  • The Torque Converter Clutch [TCC] "Lock-up" sequence can cause problems, to test if the TCC is the problem try this.
    This is a power train issue and is covered under 100k warranty but GM will fix due to faulty issue. Do not pay for this fix. Keep smiling!!!! :)
  • ahodaahoda Posts: 2
    Yes, I have read every post on here. But as far as I know there are no TCC on a manual trans. I may be wrong but can't find any resources that say it does.

    Only post #36 come slight close to what I am experiencing. And I believe no one ever answered.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello ahoda,

    I'm really sorry to hear about this issue you are having. Could you please send us an email to In the email please provide us your name, address, phone number, vehicle identification number, and current mileage.

    Thank you,

    Jessica L.
    GM Customer Care
  • mine is doing it at 48,000! my cavalier started that at 215,000, so i thought, what the heck the cobalt will be good too! boy was i wrong, the cobalts are junk and the service people lie and say nothing wrong or its a cobalt thing! lemon laws!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251

    If you would like for us to follow up on your visits to your dealership regarding the transmission concerns you're having on your Cobalt, please email us at with more details (including your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and the name of your involved dealership).

    Sarah (Assisting Amber)
    GM Customer Care
  • I have the same issue about my 05 cobalt shuttering between 3-4 and it runs 3-4 rpms if I'm going 40-50 constantly what should I do? I have 111000 miles on it
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