Product Liability - Written by Beasley Allen on Thursday, October 6, 2011 11:27 - 94 Comments

The Chevy HHR Is A Subject Of Safety Concern

The Chevy HHR has become a subject of concern in safety circles. NHTSA has received complaints about a potential design defect in the Chevy HHR (Heritage High Roof). The HHR problems reportedly include difficulty turning the vehicle off. Chevy HHR complaints have been filed with the NHTSA by vehicle owners, who say they incurred high costs repairing their vehicle. The complaints typically have involved HHR owners having trouble turning the vehicle off or the key becoming stuck in the ignition, which can potentially lead to highway crashes. The vehicle has not been recalled despite these reported safety issues. In order to rectify the problem when the HHR would not shut off, some HHR owners reported:

• disconnecting the vehicle battery to shut the engine;

• remaining in their parked Chevy HHRs until their vehicle runs out of gas, which can take several hours if not a day; and

• removing a fuse from the engine.

So far, model years affected by the ignition problem include the 2009 Chevy HHR and 2009 Chevy Cobalt. Various reports from Chevy HHR owners indicate that this is a known problem among car dealers and garages. So far, /General Motors has not addressed the problem. Reportedly, some customers, who have had to have their vehicles towed to a dealership while still running, have been informed that the repair is not covered under their warranty. It was reported that those customers paid up to $600 to repair the HHR ignition.

Some 2009 Chevy HHR vehicles have been recalled, but for completely different reasons. General Motors Corporation recalled 2009 model year versions of the HHR along with a number of others—including the Cobalt and Buick Enclave—due to a potential defect in the shift lever that could cause the vehicle to roll away. That recall took place in March of 2009. At the time, a GM spokeswoman said that no injuries or crashes had been reported as a result of the shift lever defect and that dealers had been tasked with inspecting the vehicles and replacing shift cables when necessary.

Source: Associated Press


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Lee Kuchenbrod
Oct 27, 2011 12:47

I have a 2011 HHR and the only problem I have with this car is when I am making a sharp left turn at 15mph or less the transmission slips and the RMPs race. A few moments of the engine rpms running high the transmission will engage to the lower gear. This only happens on slow sharp left turns and has never happened while taking a sharp right hand turn at 15mph or less. The dealership I bought the car from said there is nothing wrong with the transmission, it is just down shifting. Well I told them that when I pressed on the gas to pick up speed, the transmission was not engaged as though I was in nuetral. They said that if there was a problem with the car the computer would log the problem. This i think is a bunch of crap. I have been in the electronics and automotive field for about thirty years and I know this is not the way a transmission is supposed to work. Any help would be appreciated.

Ron Baxley
Nov 11, 2011 17:57

The problem you have described is characteristic of not having enough transmission fluid. As you make the turn, the fluid in the pan sloshes to one side and the transmission fluid pump draws air instead of transmission fluid. This effectively takes the transmission out of gear due to inadequate fluid pressure on the actuator for the appropriate clutch. I am not familiar with the HHR’s transmission, in specific, but if it is one of those that doesn’t have a transmission dipstick and fill tube under the hood, it has to be filled through a hole in the side of the transmission pan, which is a royal pain to do correctly. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt that this problem would appear as a diagnostic in the engine computer.

Dec 27, 2011 10:33

Just happened to my 2009 HHR Christmas Eve. Ironically I had the 2006 Cobalt which power steering kept going out trying to kill me on the interstate so I am well prepared to handle GM’s B.S. I recorded the entire fiasco and will post the video on youtube on the next day or so. I’ll return to share the link with all the frustrated GM owners out there. Shame on GM for not recalling cars with issues- this is quite the habit they’ve developed so on blast they shall go….

Feb 20, 2012 16:12

I have a 2009 HHR and have had the ignition issues you have talked about here (car would not shut off and dealership was closed) I was able to pull the fuse that in return also ran the battery down. I have also had the shift issue (would not shift into gear had to be worked on twice). Door locks have been an issue and would not unlock ( worked on twice). Other issues have been dash gauges going out while driving down the road ( dealership found no reason for this. Battery goes dead. All this was under warranty and fixed.

Each time causing issues of a loner car from the dealership. During this time I was taking my mother for cancer treatments I could not leave my drive way to take her and had to beg to get a car to take her for her treatments.

My car has less than 26,000 miles on it and it is a shame to have to worry about breaking down or being locked out of my car or it getting a ticket because I don’t know how fast I am going.

The car as a whole should be recalled. What qualifies these cars to be a lemon??

Mar 6, 2012 22:35

They should have implemented some additional graphics in order to make it look better; there is nothing new to watch in this car.

Mar 16, 2012 21:23

Just dealt with this SAME issue on 2009 Chevy/GM HHR with less than 17k miles. Key was stuck in ignition w/car running. Tried Fixes as per Onstar (Overall NO HELP! –they can apparently turn your ignition “on” remotely, yet can not turn it “off” remotely):

1) While pressing down Brake pedal
2) Shift vehicle into reverse
3) Shift vehicle into park
4) Attempt to remove key – NO HELP

1) While pressing down Brake pedal
2) Disengage Steering Column Adjustment Lever
3) “Move Steering Wheel Up AND Down AND Side to Side (Good Luck doing this if you are alone in the car, because you need AT LEAST 3-4 hands: 1-for turning/jiggling the key in the ignition, 1-for lifting the Steering Wheel, 1-for moving the Steering wheel side-to-side)
** Eventually “we” were able to jiggle the key to release, but it was only after we removed the steering column cover for apparently no reason as there IS NOT “Button” to depress as we were instructed in Option C, and after we disconnected the battery cables, even with the key removed and the battery cables disconnected, the vehicle motor is still running!!–THIS IS MORONIC!!)
Option C:
Per Onstar–
1) While vehicle is in park
2) Locate Button under the Ignition Key on bottom right side of Steering Column (Good Luck as there IS NO BUTTON! –The Imbeciles! The Owner’s Manual shows a diagram on page 5-25; However for this model vehicle there IS NOT A BUTTON!!)
2) Locate the correct size “METRIC” wrench nut thing
3) Remove multiple Steering column screws to gain access to under the Steering Column Cover (learn that there are screws all around the Steering Column so you are out of luck as you can not access those screws at their existing “odd angles”)
4) Remove small hole cover that comes off with removal of screw directly between your thighs and on the underside of the Steering Column
5) Search with a flashlight into small 2 inch hole looking for a stupid button that does not exist!!
6) Stick fingers into exposed small 2″ hole under Steering Column (desperately “feeling” with fingers for a “Button” that does NOT exist on this model vehicle, but which is shown on page 5-25 in the Owner’s Onstar Rep keeps insisting for 5 minutes exists, with the tone that you are just too stupid to find it)

1) While vehicle is in park
2) Locate your vehicle battery –( which is located in the vehicle trunk, under the floorboard)
3) Disconnect the positive battery cable (which you need a ratchet in order to accomplish)
4) When vehicle engine does NOT turn off, disconnect the negative battery cable
5) Wait in fear of your vehicle getting broken into and stolen, and experiences lots of frustration while your vehicle engine continues to run and eat up your very expensive 3/8th’s full tank of gas!!

david mccord
Mar 30, 2012 6:09

i have a 2010 hhr bought in june of 10 with 6633 miles on it.i have had the ignition switch fixed,and this has been the only problem i have evey had with this car,today it has 40104 very happy miles on it.i love this car and would buy another if i could!

Apr 25, 2012 9:21

I have a 2010 HHR. Overall I find the car enjoyable and affordable to drive. I have been reading about what to do to make your car “turn off”. Which mine would not do last night. I finally, in looking for the D&*& battery, found the fuse box where I looked for the first abreviation that involved “ignition”, removed that fuse, wa la. Could have saved myself some time on the net. Anyway, I have also had the stuck in “Park” issue that cost. I am hoping not a sign of things to come (just over 50,000 miles), as overall I find it okay (by the way my first Chevy)…..

May 27, 2012 16:32

I have a 2009.HHR and just experienced the samd problem. Key is stuck, would not shut off. My husband pulled the battery cables with no success and then found the fuse to pull. This is BS!!!!!! It should certainly be a recall!

Shondraj Raye
May 29, 2012 10:13

Just purchased my 2009 HHR last week after renting it a few times. Like the vehicle only has 17,000 miles, however yesterday (on a nice beautiful holiday) my key did become stuck in the ignition. I guess Onstar has had several complaints regarding this issues and did not even attempt to help me get it out, however provided me with towing services rather quickly. I was told by the dealership this morning that a recall has been put out for this issues within the last few weeks. Mind you….I just got the vehicle so it should have been fixed prior to me leaving the parking lot instead of my holiday plans being totally screwed up, not going to work today and being without a vehicle! They assured me i would be back on the road today….we will see.

Bobby Brooks
Jul 2, 2012 18:47

I had this problem with my hhr key stuck in the ignition engine running I could find this magic button either
so i took off the steering column bottom cover and disconnect a green electrical connect bottom center of
the steering wheel this will shut the car off this easier then pulling #26 fuse or disconnecting battery.

Muriel hogan
Jul 6, 2012 16:08

Already had the recall of the ignition fixed after it would not shut off or give me the key back.. Fixed by a Chevy dealership.

Today used the remote start, came out inserted my key in to engage and the entire electrical system shut down and the key would not come out once again. No electrical power in the car at all. No Onstar, no engine, could not engage the gear shift, nothing. Waited 15 minutes, used remote start again, and same thing. Went back out 10 minutes later, car had started on it’s own. It is still under warranty so it is now at the dealership. So far they cannot find anything diagnostically wrong. Will keep you posted but curious if anyone else has had this experience (note ignition recall was already fixed, this was different).

Roger Harris
Jul 10, 2012 16:59

Key stuck in 2010 Chevy HHR ignition on July 9, 2012. Was informed July 10, 2012 that Chevy is aware of the problem and fixed the issue. According to my invoice the recall is Perform Campaign 12046. By the way invoice read $ 0.00.

Keith Cook
Jul 13, 2012 13:14

I have a 2009 HHR and have these two problems that have just surfaced 1) the service the air bags came on and 2) the power steering motor just shut off while I was in the middle of a turn (which should be a recall) and I almost hit the vehicle next to me. Once I was through the turn with my heart racing because I barely escaped hitting the vehicle next to me., I pulled of the road into a parking lot, I popped the hood and began looking for the power steering unit, to no avail. I was close to a automotive supply store and went to the counter and asked the associate if he knew where it was at, he explained to me that there is no pump and that it is a motor located at the base of the steering column and he said that he has had other HHR owners come in with the same problem. I called the dealer that I bought the vehicle from and he made it sound like it was a new problem that he has never heard of, at which point I told him I am on the internet as we speak and there are complaints all over about the same problem. He said that I should bring it in so that they can locate the problem. I asked him if it was a free estimate and he said no and that it would cost $120 just to look at. In all my time I have never had power steering go out, you keep the fluid level where it is supposed with routine maintenance and you are good to go.


This is my first Chevy and possibly my last. It has given me more problems than my 2001 Ford F-150 and this truck has given me no problems in all the years minus routine maintenance.

Jul 13, 2012 23:41

I have a 2010 HHR. Overall I find the car enjoyable and affordable to drive. Tonight i had the unfortunate problem of my key getting stuck in the ignition while still running. I finally found the fuse box where I looked for the first abreviation that involved “ignition”, removed that fuse, but my car battery is dying. I’ve never heard of this problem until now when i decided to Google it. this is crazy that this hasn’t been recalled by Chevy long ago.

Jul 19, 2012 10:03

Keith – I have had the exact same problem with the Power Steering going out in the middle of a turn. I commute almost 35 miles one way to work every day and it has become so troublesome, I am afraid to drive. I have an appointment with a mechanic this Saturday to correct the Power Steering issue. Who ever heard of an “electronic” power steering? That engineer should have his head examined! My husband couldn’t believe it when he went through the owners manual and discovered this. I am also getting the ignition switch problem and thought it was related, until I got home last night & received a letter from Chevrolet that they are fixing this at no charge.

Jul 25, 2012 13:22

I have not had the ignition issue, however I have had the door lock problem. There are only 2 ways to get into my 2009 HHR…the drivers side door lock and the remote. My original battery died 3 weeks ago and I couldn’t get into the car to replace the battery. The lock wouldn’t work and the remote wouldn’t work. I called the dealership…where I purchased the car…and the service rep told me that when the battery goes out neither the fob nor the key will open the lock. He then told me to put WD-40 in the lock and hope for the best. I ended up calling the 1-800 Chevy # and they sent an independent service contractor who opened the passenger side door with the window tool…the drivers side apparently doesn’t respond well to being forced open. I replaced the battery and all was good…for a few days! I have since had at least 2 times per week when neither the key nor the fob will open the door lock. This is a ‘perfect storm’ waiting to happen! Hopefully there will be a fix before a young child or pet gets locked in the car.
Does anyone have info on this issue?

Jul 25, 2012 20:53

So glad I found this site. I have a 2010 HHR and I experienced the ignition problem tonight. No matter what we tried the key would not turn off. Had to call AAA who had us unplug the battery fuse, but now the key is still stuck in the ignition and we can’t lock the doors. We just bought this car in Feb. 2012 and it only has 36,000 miles on it. I am very surprised to hear that chevy is aware of this problem, and probly the dealership that sold it to us, and we were not made aware etc… When I call the dealership tommorrow morning it better get fixed free of charge.

Kathy Robertson
Jul 30, 2012 1:19

I had my ignition switch problem on my lunch break ,had to pull fuse to stop engins.thefore took car to chevorlet dealer,they said it was a recall.I ?

Amy Hartman
Aug 6, 2012 12:03

Ignition switch problem… when car would not turn OFF, it also started over heating. Thanks to a mechanic nearby, pulled the fuse under the hook & unhooked the battery. Father in law dropped it off at a dealership this morning & they just called with the “good news” that its under recall, so we will pay nothing. PTL! I just hope it isn’t a sign of things to come . . .

Robert Lee
Aug 10, 2012 14:39

Amy has it correct. There is a fuse box under the hood on the drivers side you remove the relay that goes to the fuel pump this kills the engine. Then you need to unhook the battery since the electronics are all still active and they will drain your battery. I would keep the relay out until you are ready to drive it to the dealer. otherwise anyone could hook the battery up and drive off with your car. Yes they will restart.

Darrell Williams Sr
Sep 3, 2012 17:22

Just started having problems with the power steering. Chevy needs to tighten up and do whats right!!!!!

Sep 4, 2012 23:28

I purchased a 2010 HHR Chevy from enterprise with many issues, but the latest dangerous one is the ignition lock down with my four year old strapped in the back child car seat. Thank God we were not in a garage with the fumes running and the door will not work! somebody is going to have to do something before someone dies. I have contacted a lawyer!
The second week I owned this car with 44,020 miles the catylitic convertor went out , then a stuck valve sensor. Too much to list. I feel helpless and feel like someone should do something. Scared shitless! single mother.

Toro Adeyemi
Sep 6, 2012 19:13

This JUST happened to me ! I drove to a local gas station to seek help from a technician and he told me that I should get the cylinder changed ($150-$200)….Driving home (partly on the highway) was pretty scary considering he disconnected the engine from the battery (he showed me how to do it) and the engine was no longer running on full power (probably because the vehicle is reading a problem considering the car was turned off with the ignition still on..) I found this video and will try in the morning when it is light out.

Sep 10, 2012 11:37

I have a 2009 HHR, bought it with 22000 mile on it from a dealer in August of 2011. One month later, In Sept, I too had to drive it to a dealer beacuse my key was stuck in the ignition and I could not remove it to turn the vehicle off. They fixed it at no charge to me. In the last month I have had door lock/ fob problems where my fob will not work and my doors will not lock or unlock. Manually or otherwise. I have also had to have a jump since my battery was dead. As of this morning I am locked out of my car and will need to call the dealer for service. This should not be happening on a three year old car!

Roberta Jarvis
Sep 17, 2012 4:05

I have a 2009 HHR and I could not get my car in gear this morning 9/17/2012. Started it up and tried to put it in gear to no avail. Everytime I pressed the button on the gear shif there was clicking noise in the dash above the steering wheel. After about 15 minutes it finally went into gear. I’ll be calling my dealer today. : (

Sharon phaeton
Sep 30, 2012 8:28

I too have 2009 hhr key got stuck in ignitions my friend turns the car by unplugging something the front I work night shift I was scared to death because I could not turn the off aaa took the car to dealership 800 doller later, dealerships said they is no recall but aaa said he seen that alot in hhr now my gear is getting stuck I don’t have another 800 dollars to fix it. I am never buying a Chevy again I am going to sell the hhr so if any body want to buy a 2009 hhr let me know

Julia Dean
Oct 3, 2012 19:30

2010 HHR 38,000miles. When I turn my car off the steering wheel goes upsidedown.
Diagnostics dosen’t show any kind of problem.
Had 2 front end alignments this week. Now it’s worse when I drive.
Everyone I talk to says they have never heard of such a problem.
Lots of suggestions that have no guarantee it will fix the problem.
I’m going to trade my car in. I’m really afraid to drive it now.
Up until know I have loved my HHR.

Deb Bernier
Oct 11, 2012 22:33

I am so confused! I have a 2010 HHR I have had it since Feb of 2011 I have never had a problem with it until now.
I replaced my batteries in my key fobs- now, both fobs will not lock my doors nor does the panic button work. I can unlock them but not lock. I now need to lock it from the inside using the lock itself. Well the new issue is- the alarm will start sounding off whenever it wants. (Car alarm) I am so beside myself I am not understanding that is going on… has this happened to anyone else? My key will open the door however, by locking the doors from the inside automatically sets the car alarm so when I use my key to open the doors- I cant shut the alarm off. Can anyone help me with this issue? Or hsed some light ass to what I need to do?

Oct 23, 2012 17:25

I have a 2007 hhr with 46500 miles on it I too had the key problem also had to get the dealer to replace the steering linkage my steering would shake shudder like it was loose aside from that my hhr drives smooth and feels like it not even running fun to drive and great mileage luv HHR I wish I had waited till 2008 i would bought a HHR Super Sport anyway later drive on

Oct 27, 2012 7:36

I had the ignition problem where my 2010 HHR would not turn off.

Bruce Scott
Oct 28, 2012 18:18

I own an 09 HHR 77,000 Km and we love it. Dealership recalled to replace ignition at no cost. Air bag service light came on and again replaced a melted connection under pass side dash at no cost. Both fobs became inoperative, being mechanical myself, I changed button batteries and noticed loose solder connections so resoldered and back in business. Was told by mechanic to watch for rear coils to break. Easy to replace Ontario Canada

ed bowman
Nov 2, 2012 14:58

I was just informed by my local Chevy dealer that the $550.00 front wheel bearing that my 2010 HHR needs is not covered by GM 100,000 mile warranty, the car has 60,000 miles on it and I was told that the 2009 model HHR warranty did cover wheel bearings but it does not cover it on 2010 models. What kind of bull is GM trying to pull now?

Nov 4, 2012 11:54

anybody know where the s.d.m. fuse is located on a 2009 hhr .and where it is in the fuse box?

Nov 9, 2012 10:56

I own a 2011 HHR and I love my car! I have had no problems with it at all! I have put some presonnal money in to it, but its been very nice. Its great for my family and my dogs love riding init. I have only one concern on my car and that is that when I m driving even when its nice out, it will sometimes say ice possible even if its nice. That is kind of scary. Not really sure how to feel about that. I love my car overall and its been great for me my family and our dogs.

Carolyn Davis
Nov 9, 2012 14:49

I had the pleasure of not being able to turn my car off because the key was also stuck in the ignition, but the key came out and car kept running. So I went to the Chevrolet Dealership and the service guy said it would cost at around $500 or more and they weren’t able to repair until the next day and it would take around 2 to 2 1/2 hrs to do. So he showed me the fuse to pull and disconnect battery cable. I called a lock smith and he travel 30 miles to come and fix my car in less than 30 minutes for a cost of $135.00. Thanks Donahue Chevrolet in Whiteville, NC for nothing much. Oh by the way I am still missing my headrest for the back seat you continually promised I would get, since March of 2011. Never will I go there to purchase anything again. But I still like Chevrolet Products.

Carolyn Davis
Nov 9, 2012 14:51

There was a recall done on the ignition, it had to be taken care of by 5/21/2012. Even if you paid for repairs they are suppose to reimburse you! Good luck!

Nov 13, 2012 7:08

Well I sold this car to a friend and she just emailed that the heated seat caught on fire and melted the steering wheel has anyone else heard of this problem? It also had the power window go out on the drivers side. Its a 2011 loaded car I am so sad hate selling stuff to friends or anyone else that has porblems like this. Hopefully GM will stand behind it and fix the car its just over the 36000 miles go figure!!

Nov 27, 2012 17:35

I’ve had this issue. THere is a micro switch under the gear selector that trigger tha tthe car is in park and the key may be removed.
By taking the coin tray out then the selector cover you can either buy and new selector assemby ( pricey!) or you can merely bypass the switch shunting the two wires together.
Caution: this will allow the selector to be moved without the ignition being on. THis was the intent of GM design…they just used a cheap ass part…..but that’s never happened before…
p.s. be sure that you bypass the right micro switch..there are two..but you can see that this one is engaged when you move the selector into park

Nov 27, 2012 19:11

I have a 2011 hhr and it is a piece of shit it does not like to start the front end makes horrible noises and the gas gage does not work. It is low milage and taken care of. I have had it into the dealer many times and they tell me there is nothing wrong with it. Then they charge me for service that should be covered. I well never own another chevy again. I do not feel safe in this car at all.

roger bryning
Dec 14, 2012 22:43

unrepairable 2009 hhr, 78k, has 20amp+ current draw by (a) computer module for 1 year+ . Drains battery in 4 hours. car must be turned off twice, inside & at battery. dealership basicly says get lost but is willing to take my money. HEY! AWAKEN! -HELLO- ANY MECHANICS OUT THERE!!!!!!!??

Dec 17, 2012 10:02

I have not had the problem of the car not shutting off but I am having trouble with starting the car. I can remote start the car but when I put the key in it will not turn. It takes several tries of playing with the steering wheel to get the key to turn. Sometimes I have to walk away and try again several minutes later. Has anyone else had this problem ??

Dec 18, 2012 23:11

i have a 2010 HHR and reticently having issues with the sensor thingy on the break that releases the shifter… anyone else having issues with this? any suggestions?

Dec 20, 2012 12:02

I am like Deb Bernier. I am having problem getting in my car. The fobs will not lock or unlock my doors. Even when I push the lock button on the inside of the car, the bell dings 3 times and sounds like it is locking but I have returned to find the car unlocked a couple of times. If anyone has an answer for this problem please let me know. Thank you!!

Dec 31, 2012 11:04

I have a 2011 and yesterday the steering went out around a corner and we wrecked the car. The front end is demolished and not one air bag went off. This car has very low mileage, but have had nothing but problems. I replaced my hub assembly at 20,000 miles and my traction light has been on right after I bought the car. Nothing but bad reviews for this vehicle. What my question is, why the hell would my steering go out?

Dec 31, 2012 13:52

I wanted to comment on the Chevy HHR I purchased, used, but low milage 2006 a few years ago. I was going to buy a “foreign” car but since many are made here in the USA now, I’m not sure if they are truely “foreign”. So I selected the good old USA Chevy HHR…only to find out several days later that it was “made” in Mexico, along with the Ford Fusion and who knows what else? In the 3 years I have owned it I have changed the sway bars links twice, the front brake rotors each year (warped), and I don’t brake hard, I coast to the red lights, and no hills in northern Ohio. The turn signals turn off about 50% of the time after I complete a 90 degreee turn. The left door lock switch, the right front wheel hub, the remote fob for the remote start to work, twice in 2 years at $250 a pop, the thermostat and it’s temp sensor on the engine, the oil fill neck broke (cheap plastic). The rattling in the front I’m told is the steering sub-assembly. $600 to replace, and now I have the infamous “key won’t come out issue” yesterday. Another wonderful Chevy choice of materials that will break, and you will have to pay another $600 for a replacement gear selector unit, NOT JUST REPPLACE THE .25 CENT PLASTIC ACTUATOR ARM THAT BROKE OFF WITH A longer lasting METAL PIECE. Not sure what to think or say at this point but my co-worker has 152,000 miles on his Honda Civic and changes tires, oil, and brakes….that’s it…no other parts added. Hopefully this gets published, just trying to be factual and offering a bit a reality.

Jan 2, 2013 0:21

Reply to Dorothea…yes, I too have had trouble w/ the key fob not unlocking my doors; plus (at the same time) the key not unlocking the door either. Is there a recall and will Chevy replace/repair or address this problem. Does anyone know?

Jan 24, 2013 9:48

Original owner of 2008 HHR with 45,000 miles on it. Key nor fob worked when I left work yesterday evening. I have to invest in a new actuator. Was informed by my mechanic that in previous years the actuator can be replaced by itself but with my HHR it is connected to the door latch. Will cost $265.00 to repair – $100.00 more than if I could replace just the actuator. Called the dealership and they were going to charge me $375.00. There should be a recall for this item. The LEAST Chevy could do is put a keyed door lock on the passenger side so it the actuator goes out I can get in the car.

Jan 26, 2013 10:34

I like my HHR. I used to love my HHR. But I just forked out $1,100 because my check engine light came on and was told it had been on for 23,000miles..because I guess I’m blind and didn’t see it. And the small screen in my car doesn’t actually send you messages when something is wrong if the check engine light is on all the time. It only reads certain messages, not all of them…which only came on when my car suddenly slows to 20mph then the small box reads…’traction engaged, slow engine, service traction…’ along with 2 other messages. When I received the phone call from the service department telling me there were actually 15 errors with my car, but they were only fixing 4 because the others might be malfuctions due to the initial problems and the cost was going to be over a thousand dollars I was upset. Imagine how I felt when I was told to expect other issues very soon by the Chevy service department…that really makes me want to buy another one of your cars and wait for oncoming issues to give you more and more cash…

Feb 20, 2013 11:34

Just last night ive experienced this KEY STUCK IN THE IGNITION problem. I dont know what to do. This is very inconvenient. Does anyone have an 800 number that I should call for this type of problem? If you do, PLEASE let me know.. I have a 2011 HHR.
Before this though, all my lights and dashboard lights as well went crazy, constantly going on and off for a whole day. Finally the battery totally died. Last night i tried jumping it, and no luck, this is when the key got stuck in the ignition. Still to this hour has not come out.

Feb 23, 2013 23:53

2006 HHR, can turn off, but cannot turn switch far enough to remove key. Repair is $300+. I removed a plastic plug from bottom of steering column, use your finger to feel for a small “trigger like” spring loaded button, push button, turn key with the other hand. After a while it gets really easy to find it

Feb 25, 2013 17:44

Ok..I thought I would comment.I have a 2009 HHR, with nothing but problems. In July of 2011, the left front axle became dislodged, or rather “just came out” while my wife was driving. She lost contol, and hit a parking lot light. Thank GOD she was in the parking lot, pulling into the stall. Since then, I have had new axles installed, new strutts, brakes, and I still have front end noises. Of course the dealer says there is nothing wrong with the car. But here is new one…I think…some how the battery went completely dead, and lock me in the car. We had to force the doors open. Called a buddy that does car recovery, and told me this is pretty common. We had to disconnect the battery, to allow us back into the vehicle. Some refere to this car as looking like hearse, I beleive they are a coffin on wheels!

Patricia Karabelas
Apr 6, 2013 14:09

I purchased a 2008 HHR in June 2011. within 1 month the entire electrical system broke down. It was parked and there had been thunderstorm in area. When I called insurance company I, honestly AND stupidly it seems, said I thought the problems may have been result of storm. It was only an assumption because there was absolutely no evidence of lightening strike. Geico paid approx $9000 to have it fixed. The dealership attempted to fix but I was in there every couple months having electrical problems “fixed”. A couple of months ago I lost steering, along with problems they had previously fixed. They said the has to be actively “misbehaving” in order to fix. well I haven’t driven it since cause it’s a death trap. I’ve contacted every safety organization but they are unable to fix. My attorney says class action lawsuit only way. Please help. They towed it and left it in my yard!

Apr 8, 2013 19:13

I have a 2011 and since November my gas gauge works off and on, my engine light is on, my abs light stays on, it takes forever to pick up any speed, and now it doesn’t to start half the time. I have had it to the dealer since it is supposed to still be under warranty and they tell me there is nothing wrong with it and that my phone charger is most likely draining to much power from the battery. All that and they want to charge me a diagnostic fee. Recently I have had to start hitting the dash to start the car and thankfully my GPS is working good because my speedometer has stopped working now. I have never had a vehicle do this before and I keep up on the service of it. Not sure what I need to do next since my local Chevy dealer does not want to help.

Apr 9, 2013 10:38

We have a 2010 Chevrolet HHR and it has the same ignition problem as the 2009 – the car will not turn off. Since the Chevy dealer seems to feel their hands are tied, due to the fact that the manufacturer refuses to institute a recall, I am simply going to get it repaired, request reimbursement and if I don’t get it, I will sue them. Let’s see if reimbursement isn’t cheaper than fighting a lawsuit.

Sharon Hopper Givens
Apr 13, 2013 21:03

Under steering wheel right UNDER the key slot there is a cover you can remove and push button to remove key every time . I just leave the cover off

May 9, 2013 22:20

Yes, Sharon, we were aware of the button… however, it didn’t work. Took it to Chevrolet dealer, and were advised entire ignition system had to be replaced. BEST NEWS: THERE IS A RECALL FOR THE 2010 CHEVROLET HHR SO IT COST US ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Dealership paid for it!

Jun 5, 2013 15:44

i too had the key stuck in the ignition problem car kept running this was on a sunday no dealerships open had a friend very knowledgable concerning cars removed ignition fuse to shut off car attempted to disconnect battery but still the car was dead in the morning thank goodness i had roadside assistance ( in my driveway i might add battery was so dead had to have towed for complete charge then i went to where i bought the car had gold protection plan but still had to bring to cm dealership for complete fix when i picked up the car everything worked stopped to eat when i got back in car no displays were working after 20 minutes digital displays came back on when i was at gm asked if there were anymore recalls on car he said no but after reading all these lists i will be very careful when making making turns or locking car very scary

Jun 13, 2013 16:26

2009 purchased 2 years ago with 35,000 miles. Car worked great until last year check engine light and ice light plus no traction came on and there was no ice. Took to dealership found out there was many issues and the head had to be replaced. Was under warranty and was given a rental. They kept car 3 weeks because head was put in wrong. They corrected. I took to Jiffy Lube for oil change 3 weeks ago and they did not reset the oil setting and my tire setting went out of whack. They fixed oild setting but said they don’t reset the tires although they put air in them. Now the service air bag light comes on but then goes back out. Not sure if water is causing the problem and why I am getting water. It has rained here a lot but we have had rain before.

Jul 3, 2013 14:03

My experience with the 2008 HHR have been the locks not working, remote not opening doors, and having to take the vehicle in 4 times to get it fixed because they could not duplicate the problem. Finally one of the mangers who was trained in electronics took a look and had the mechanic replace the main lock module unit. Lock and remote problem fixed.
Now it is the gaugs. The gaugs were sticking and not moving. The speed was stuck at 70, cold car and temperature was reading 194 degrees, fuel gauge was 1/2 a tank but I knew it was 1/4 or less. Took the car to the dealer and once in the shop the gauges are working and they could not find the problem. I am traveling 82 miles on country roads at least twice a week and hoping it does not happen on one of the trips. Had similar problem with a Maza and it turned out to be the ignition switch and module (the vehicle shut down on the freeway with three small children in the back seat and 124 degrees outside, unable to open doors or windows, finally got one of the doors open).
Car has 43,000 miles on it.

Sep 21, 2013 12:14

this is total bunk.
having the “key stuck in the ignition…” leading to “…highway crashes”!?!?
If you are trying to turn off the key on the highway, you have some personal problems of your own!

Sep 27, 2013 14:38

Marianna, I too have had the door lock problem with my 2009 HHR. I have had to call either the Chevy assistance line or my insurance company to get me into the car. It has happened about 7 times in the 4 years that I have owned the car. The first time I called for help, the guy said that he had already done two HHR door lock rescues that week!
I am looking into getting a door unlocking kit.
Have you heard of any help from Chevy about this issue.
In the meantime, I leave one of the windows down far enough to get a hammer in and pull up the lock with the claw end. There have been times when I felt like using the other end. This does not work on the driver’s door…only the other door locks.
This is so wrong!

carl carlentini
Oct 3, 2013 18:00

Many weird things.First everything just went dead,then my engine light went on, I was on a trip,then the key stuck in the ignition.then the car went dead again I came out of the store try to open with my keyless entry–Dead.The last straw– I’m driving in town the right blinker comes on and won’t shut off,I try the left blinker and now I am blinking left and right.The prior week it cost me $231.00 to have the air bag wiring fixed. I told them I am not getting it fixed! I drove up the street and traded it in. This was the stupidist vehicle I have ever owned. Chevy you suck!!!

Oct 20, 2013 13:52

On my 2007 HHR out of nowhere my power steering went out and the power steering comment light came up on my dash. I had to turn off the car, turn on car, and traveled another 1/2 to 1 mile before this happened again. This of course is a safety hazard as certainly I thank my lucky stars this did not happen on the interstate. I was on a highway, however, and not a good thing. I have read where the same problem and part number has been recalled on the Cobalt. . I read above where someone got an estimate of $1200.00 to have this replaced. Why would they not recall the same part on the HHR yet recall it on the Cobalt? Mine is being taken to our automotive person’s shop tomorrow. (We just called him after church and he also knows an excellent hydraulic repair person.) I am sure he will call Chevrolet or will know the person to call (dealer, etc) and I will be sure to keep the receipt if we have to pay for this. (Sure don’t have $1200.00 with Obama care on it’s way.) Since we were just going to sign up for insurance my husband was laid off as all insurance is going up 39% so they laid off 2 shifts. This car only has 47,000 miles on it and we are on our 7th year of ownership. It amazes me after all I have read about these cars that Chevrolet would not replace the exact same part, exact same serial # just because it is not on a Cobalt.

Nov 10, 2013 1:17

I just experienced the problem with key stuck with car running. I’ve had my car for a few year and just not had this problem. I tried every thing to get key to turn to off but would not move. My husband disconnected battery to get car to shut off. Why have they not delt with this problem.

Dianne Brown
Dec 16, 2013 14:36

I have a 2010 the I the ignition switch is stuck and the car won’t turn off car is at dealer. another problem is I have hand controls and the dealer is moving them and refuses to have them inspected after repairs are done so if they don’t put it back together correctly I’m screwed. I will let you know how McFarland chev dealer in Maysville Ky handles this shit.

Feb 22, 2014 21:14

Im reading all these reviews about the key being stuck and the car wouldnt shut off.I have a 2010 hhr and and the key got stuck afew times.I just moved the steering wheel,all was fine.Otherwise i have had no problems other then the compresser going out.warrenty covered it.Guess i was fortunate enough not to get a lemon.Hope im not speaking to soon.Love my

Feb 26, 2014 20:26

I just got a call from my wife and our 2007 HHR has had the “Power Steering” problem. She has turned it on an of a few times to get it home. I have found the part at GM Direct and ordered the part. I hope they get it to my house soon. My wife is tired of bumming rides from her coworker. Oh, she also can not turn the car off completely. She can shut the ignition off, but is not able to turn the key completely off. I will try the little button trick the next time I get home. If it works, I am going to negate the switch under the shifter by wiring the switch out. I also have replace both front door handles. I am just about to the point of selling this piece and buying another car. I was a dedicated Chevy guy. Not anymore….

Mar 3, 2014 16:20


Mar 3, 2014 16:22


Kevin K. Slatten
Mar 4, 2014 19:26

I purchased a 2010 HHR in September of 2011 in order to transport my elderly parents in some sort of comfort to their dr’s appointments an hour’s distance away from where we all reside. Although I love my car, I can say I am becoming weary of having to pay for repairs that appear to be somewhat common to everyone here.

My first experience was two months after I purchased my 2010 HHR from a local Independent Dealer. The key got stuck while engine running and would not turn off. Carried it back to the Independent Dealer who, THEN, referred me to the Chevrolet Dealer down the street. I had to disconnect the battery to save what gas I had in the vehicle. Paid $378.02 for parts and labor to repair the issue.

THEN, on January 13, 2013, I carried my 2010 HHR to a reputable repair shop only to have my driver side HUB bearing replaced as it was making a humming noise.

NOW, as of March 4, 2014, I am not hearing a knocking underneath my feet that sounds like it is the CV axle.

So, what can I request for reimbursement for since I’ve paid for these issues that appear to becoming more and more frequent?

Any help is greatly appreciated! I transport elderly parents and cannot afford to put them at risk of harm!


Kevin K. Slatten
Mar 4, 2014 19:33

… Sorry, TYPO! ‘NOW,” as of March 4, 2014, I am not hearing a knocking underneath my feet that sounds like it is the CV axle.

So, what can I request for reimbursement for since I’ve paid for these issues that appear to becoming more and more frequent?

Any help is greatly appreciated! I transport elderly parents and cannot afford to put them at risk of harm!


Laura Christian
Mar 8, 2014 14:05

Please check out our GM Recall Survivors page on Facebook.

debbie crews
Mar 30, 2014 13:45

i have a2009 hhr have the same problem with my ignition swith got to wiggle to get key out remote quit working brake shoes pads brake pads got replaced rotor was driving and the brakes started acting up making all kind of noise scared me battery been replaced also got this little subermarine looking thing on the speed odimeter have no idea what it is took it to the chevy place they said back order on the ignition switch you just pray not going fast and it shuts off so scared but have no choice thank you for listening to my complaint

Apr 1, 2014 10:09

I have a 2009 Chevy hhr and I have been having trouble with getting my key out as well. I have another issue as well, I couldn’t get my car to shift to reverse or drive. Was at work and this happened as I was getting off at 11pm. I ended up stranded. I love this car but GM needs to take responsibility for these issues, because now that it’s happened to me I Googled it and see that a lot of cars like tare having this issue with GM. My car is currently towed to a GM awaiting a report. I had to get a ride home, which was 45 minutes away, and not to mention the time of night. And costs inquired with towing.

Angie Bradley
Apr 3, 2014 11:08

I have a 2011 hhr and have experienced similar issues as well. My car when I place it in park I hear a clicking noise sounds like the noise comes from the brake pedal then from the gear shifter. My key has also gotten stuck and brakes have been an issue. However my other issue going on is the fact that the car is wearing my tires out quickly. The car has been aligned and it still wears the tires out on the outside (more on the left side vs the right). The transmission I noticed seems to be acting up as well and the gas mileage that I was told I would get isn’t no where close. I have become unhappy with the performance of this vehicle but I’m currently upside down to trade. I would like to have GM buy back this car so I can purchase another vehicle with better performance and safety as I have a 2 yr old that is top priority. Any suggestions???

Kimberly Withrow
Apr 21, 2014 12:23

My HHR is a 2010, Ihad to replace my gear shifter because that is what they said would fix the key not coming out problem as well as the key out and still running problems. Brakes have to be replaced every year and Calipers and roters, I also have alignment issues horrible wearing on my tires on the outside, my transmission has been aweful and my car acts like its going to die all the time driving at slow speeds causing incredible jerking. No one is going to buy this car back its a piece of crap. Due to the car jerking and continuing to run without the key my car hit a curb in front of a restuarant and dented the under plastic guard piece.

Christie Stevens
Apr 25, 2014 16:40

I just bought my HHR 2009 used and it only had 59899 miles not even 3 months ago, well now it begins. The power steering sensor has lite up on dash and all the sudden it stops working. If I turn the vehicle off and on again it works fine. This is the beginning of a very expensive fix, from what I have heard. Calling GMC to complain but from what I have reed so far, it is not going to matter. Hopefully, I can afford to get it fixed before this car kills me or serious injury.

Larry stone
Jun 1, 2014 22:43

Like many, I pulled in to a parking spot at my destination and my 2009 Chevy HHR SS would not release my key nor return to the off position. Thus leaving the vehicle running. After spending almost an hour on YouTube I learned a few things. One, in the engine compartment there is a fuse box. Fuse #13 is for the fuel pump. Pull it and your engine will stop as though the car simply ran out of fuel. Remember to then go to the back and pull the negative battery cable to not kill your battery. Once engine is off replace fuse. Now remember your key is in the car and the fob will not help you since they are all power locks that I just turned off. Spare key or open window. Now this got me out of the letting the car run out of fuel.
2nd thing I learned is there is a small plastic piece in the gear shifter that breaks. There is a spring on it that comes off. And this so apparently the same piece that tells the car to release the key to the off position. It’s sad that GM can’t figure this out but mechanics not working for them can. Is it that they can’t figure it out, or how to pay for fixing it? Perhaps there should be no bonuses or pay checks until the problem gets fixed and every car is safely on the road. Perhaps that will motivate them! Love my HHR SS hate GM!

Debbie Gerst
Jun 17, 2014 11:39

I have had my key lock up in the ignition column unable to do anything, local mechanic had to climb in the back seat and disconnect the battery. Today 6-17-2014 while driving home from town, all of a sudden I start hearing and saw where my automatic locks on my vehicle started locking and unlocking and I physically noticed the locks going up and down.Also the speedometer was bouncing up and down, sort of a loss in power. I pulled over and turned off to try and reset; didn’t reboot the computer like I hoped it would. Then noticed power surges, like a fuel problem. Got home as quickly as possible and am actually afraid to drive it again.

Curtiss Adams
Jun 25, 2014 6:38

i have a 2006 hhr the power door locks go up and down by there self the speedometer quits working the traction control light comes on it down shifts and the power steering light comes on .it takes it about 10 miles before this happens you can restart it and it really does no good it will do it again in a few mins and some times when your starting it the key stays in the start pos. until you turn it back .it has also rolled down the drive way and hit my truck but i don’t know if this was the driver or the car i was not in it when this happened ……….called the dealer last week he told me he had never heard of any of this before .i think that is crap .he also told me he didn’t think it had any thing to do with ignition switch .and that if i could bring it in the could order the parts for the recall would take 30-45 days .and he told me he had parts ordered for cars that had been there since January. has any body had this problem and had the ignition switch replaced and did it fix it ??????????

Jul 7, 2014 6:54

this is phone number to GM rep. Pam Saunders 1 866 790 5600. hhr is a POS !!!

Jul 20, 2014 17:03

I have a 2010 HHR issued to me as a state work vehicle. I’ve had the HHR for about 3 years and it has been nothing but a headache and has become dangerous. I’ve had the key problem where the car would not shut off (fixed 2x now). I’ve had the transmission problem where the car stuck in park and I could not shift into gear, of coarse I was on the road and had to wait 2 hours for a tow truck. In the last 4 months I’ve had a reoccurring problem of acceleration issues from a stop. The car will sputter and act like it is going to shut down and will only reach 3 to 5 miles per hour. This is very dangerous as I’m often pulling from a stop into 55 mph traffic and I never know if this is going to happen. The worst part is they say it’s fixed and it happens again. The state keeps trying to fix it rather than just retiring the car as it is now up to 92K miles. I’m posting this for 2 reasons, first to warn others of these issues and two in-case I have an accident and end up getting killed or hurt someone else I have documented evidence of my concerns, besides the many repair bills and the emails I’ve sent to my managers and department director. Please be careful it you own this car!!!

Rich Hagan
Jul 25, 2014 12:07

All you have to do is rock the steering wheel a bit when you turn the key.

Jul 29, 2014 0:03

It appears my Chevy HHR 2010 with less than 60,000 has front wheel bearing. Over the past 30 years, I’ve owned Pontiacs, VW, Jeep, Dodge, and etc all were well over 100,000 miles and never had problems with front bearings. It appears GM has pulled another fast one, by removing the bearings from 2010 HHR & Newer as if they knew an inferior product was used just like all other problems being recalled.

San Juanita Salinas
Sep 16, 2014 12:00

I own a 2007 Chevy HHR . Gauges have been going hey wire for about for about 5 months. Have no choice but too drive the dam car. Dont have the resources to get it fixed. By what im reading it to should be a recall. Many complains are being posted on this problem. I too have had key stuck in ignition, car nit wanting to turn off, door locks locking and not locking on there own, front front passengers door handle messed up,Radio turning on and off on its own. I just pray that car will not turn off while im driving it because.i too have 3 disabled children that I have to take to there medical visits. Please Please GMC Company, I pray and ask that you resolve this problems before more innocent lives are being taken. Just because you wont acknowledge this problem. Think about human life over your wealth for a change. Do whats right, if you believe in Almighty God. At the end he will be your Savior if you fo whats right. SINCERLY San J. Salinas from Dallas Texas

Oct 19, 2014 15:24

my recall was just preformed and power steering has gone out. are these two issues related

Oct 23, 2014 12:09

I had the same ignition problem where the car would not turn off on my 2007 HHR several years ago. Drove it straight to the dealer and it was a recall item. My traction control warning has now come on and the car is lurching through the gears.

Nov 17, 2014 20:40

A couple month ago, 2010 Cobalt had ignition switch & keys replace per recall. Last week had power steering motor replaced per recall. A few days after power steering motor replacement, noticed my remote start does not work. It was making a noise at first, but would not start. After a few tries, now it doesn’t even make any noise when I try to remote start it. Related or coincidence?

Dec 29, 2014 22:26

So my husband has a 2009 chevy hhr.he just got his ignition know his lights keeps going off and signals.his battery isnt working know.

Dec 30, 2014 3:12

I recently bought a 2010 HHR LS, I checked GM website and noticed there were 3 open recalls. I wanted to get everything fixed before I gave it to my daughter. The recalls were 1- to replace the ignition switch, 2- to replace the key, 3- to replace the power steering motor. We had no problems with the HHR before taking it in for the recalls. After hey we’re completed I have had numerous key would not come out of the ignition and it would not shut off. Noticed that the chrome part of the ignition switch where the key goes in has numerous scratches were the key was installed and scratched it. How is this possible if they replaced it. As far as the power steering motor, there have been several times when the steering just went out, luckily we were traveling at low speeds and were able to just pull over. I had all the recalls done because I had a 2006 Cobalt LT that had the same problems, which I carried to the local GM dealer with the complaints from 2008 – 2010 and was told that there had been no other complaints by other owners and GM new nothing of a model specific problem. Which eventually lead to a crash in November of 2012, that the steering locked up after hitting a bump in the road that caused the engine to die and the steering to lock up. Which cause me to do several spin outs and leave the Hwy, and the do several end over end and 2 side over side roll overs. Which miracleslesly landed me between a guard rail and a large steel ultility pole. All vehicle power was lost as I could not roll the window down to get out as the doors would not open. The Cobalt was a total loss, as the front and rear and both sides and the riff were all caved in. And the frame was so bent that only 1 wheel was touching the ground when the turned it upright. The insurance company only paid me low book value for the car and would not cover the upgrades. Even though I had $10,00 coverage for custom equipment, because the were factory GM parts. As soon as I can find a new insurance company. I am going to file a lawsuit against them. I have been in the appeal process with them for 2 years with no luck. I just found out because we were still in a dispute resolution process, with no luck of getting them to do anything that I can still bring about a lawsuit against them. There was no air bag deployment, luckily I wasproperly wearing the 5 point SAFTEY harnesses that I had installed along with the SS upgrades. I am now seeing GM in an individual lawsuit. All I can say, is if you own one of these defective vehicles that GM has known about for 8 years be careful till you can trade it off, and get a safer vehicle.

Apr 18, 2015 8:54

Do NOT disconnect the battery! Under the steering column is a cap, flush with the column. Pop the cap. Reach your finger in and press the manual key release and turn the car off at the same time you are holding the button. The button is to your left inside the hole. It’s there, I promise! I have that problem, the power steering, and the gear shift seems to be harder to shift. I’m ready to tell the bank to come get the car and deal with Chevy on the difference that we owe!

Joana Ahlin
May 2, 2015 14:22

Automobile Parts: Exactly how Do I Locate The Unusual Ones?

Helena Hess
Jun 25, 2015 18:27

I am the original owner of a 2006 HHR. It makes me sad to know that I will probably be trading in my car in the near future unless a solution is found to a current problem – intermittent cycling of door locks and automatic change in acceleration. I have had my car in the shop for 4 days this week. I feel that due to to the complexity of computer technology, a mechanic has become dehumanized looking for codes rather than thinking for him/herself to find a solution to the problem. For the price of cars, a GM car should be manufactured in the US not Mexico. That is why I bought a GM car, I thought it was built in the USA. However, I still love my HHR and she deserves to be treated with respect! No one would buy a house and not expect quality yet in the car business with all the recalls, something is just not right! I wondered why the HHR was halted — now I understand!

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