If you’re looking to buy a reliable subcompact SUV, you can’t go wrong with a Chevrolet HHR. This modern-retro SUV has an estimated fuel economy of 23.9 miles per gallon (mpg) and lower than average cost of ownership, making it one of the easiest vehicles to maintain. But have you ever wondered if it presents problems? Read the common failures of the Chevrolet HHR and inform yourself.
Its latest model, the 2011 redesign, has also been reported to have impressive frontal crash test scores, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
How good is the Chevrolet HHR?
Various reports give the Chevrolet HHR a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 13th out of 36 compact cars. The annual repair and maintenance cost for this model is approximately $540 . And that’s lower than the average for other vehicle models, which is $650.
Chevrolet HHR owners tend to take their SUVs in for unscheduled repairs 0.3 times a year, which is less often than the usual 0.4. The HHR also has a 10% chance of having a serious problem. This is less compared to the average of 11% for subcompact cars and 12% for all vehicle models.
Common failures of the Chevrolet HHR
Despite being a reliable daily driver, the Chevrolet HHR may have damaged or worn parts that could affect its driveability and quality. Let’s take a look at some of the common Chevrolet HHR faults found through its different model years:
1- Engine performance failures
Poor engine performance has been a common problem reported by some owners of the 2011 Chevrolet HHR redesign. Owners of affected models have reported that their SUVs vibrate excessively and lurch forward. His HHR’s revs also dropped at an alarming rate.
There are several reasons why your Chevy could be showing signs of reduced engine performance . They include a clogged or dirty air filter; damaged hoses, tubes or intake ducts; faulty fuel pumps or injectors; and damaged sensors. If you experience the same problems, have your vehicle checked out by a licensed mechanic for a proper diagnosis.
2- Gas cap problems
A loose or worn gas cap has been a common fault found on all Chevy HHR model years. Although there have been no reports of loss of performance or drivability problems due to the issue, an illuminated check engine light has been a common occurrence reported by affected owners.
A loose gas cap won’t necessarily affect the ride quality of your vehicle , but it could cause harmful fumes to be released into the air. It can also force you to spend more money on fuel. Gas caps can cost anywhere from $10 to $100.
3- Problems with power steering
Power steering problems are a common complaint from Chevrolet HHR drivers, particularly among those who own the 2008 redesign. Many owners of this model year have complained about their power steering not working intermittently.
Some drivers were unable to make a turn because the power steering locked up , while others had to turn off their engines to get the power steering working again.
According to reports filed by affected owners, they had to replace the power steering module, which can cost $300-$500 plus labor costs.
Keep in mind that aside from a faulty power steering module, there are other factors that can contribute to a power steering failure. Some of them include low or contaminated power steering fluid, a broken power steering belt, worn steering pumps, and leaking damaged hoses and failing seals.
If you’re having a similar problem, make sure you have your vehicle checked by a licensed mechanic to identify the cause of the problem.
4- Transmission problems
The 2008 redesign has also been reported as having various drivetrain issues. Some owners of this model have reported their transmission slipping or making hollow noises, while several drivers have experienced burnt transmission fluid.
Other reasons that can cause the transmission to fail include a bad transmission solenoid, a bad torque converter, or a bad clutch.
5- Suspension problems
Suspension problems have been a common complaint from some 2007 Chevrolet HHR owners. Drivers have reported that their SUVs rattle terribly over potholes , make rattling noises, and have problems with steering control.
Some have also complained that the same problems persist even after replacing various parts of the suspension system. Some of the parts they replaced include faulty struts, rear springs, bearings, shocks, front stabilizer shaft, and control arms.
Be aware that problems with the suspension system can affect the way you control your vehicle while driving. Aside from having an uncomfortable driving experience, your Chevy may also pull to one side or nose dive when accelerating.
And this could put you and other drivers at risk of an accident. For your safety, be sure to fix your vehicle’s suspension problems as soon as possible before you head out for a drive.
6- Faults in the door handle and the ignition key
Some units of the 2006 Chevrolet HHR have been reported with a couple of problems with their interior accessories.
Many owners of this redesign have complained that the door latch broke despite owning their SUVs for a short amount of time. This required them to open the gate from outside their vehicles.
Several drivers have also reported that the same problem occurred even after replacing the entire door handle. Chevrolet HHR interior door handles can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 plus labor costs
Another problem reported by some 2006 HHR owners was a stuck ignition key. Several owners have complained that their keys got stuck in the ignition, while others were unable to insert their keys.
Some drivers resorted to prying a plate off the steering column to remove the key. Resolving this issue typically involves replacing the ignition lock barrel, which typically costs around $50 plus labor costs.
Your Chevrolet HHR can develop some problems as the mileage accumulates. But do not worry. By knowing some of the most common problems, you will be able to know which parts need to be replaced ahead of time and prevent problems from escalating. Also, be sure to follow your SUV’s maintenance schedule to keep it performing at its best.