What kind of problems does a Chevy Spark usually have? This blog lists the most critical issues you should consider while buying a Chevy Spark. First, let’s take a look at a quick answer.
The most common problems of the Chevy Spark are excessive oil consumption in the 2013-2014 and 2016 model years, transmission slipping in the 2014 model year, and rattling noises coming from the heat shield of the gas tank. However, overall the Spark is a solid vehicle with few major complaints.
That was the most straightforward answer possible. In the article below, we’ll outline all the problems in detail. This includes identifying it, fixing it, and how much it costs to fix. Read on!
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The Cabin Rattle
The scrooge of all cars is the cabin noise. No Spark is spared. It has got to be the most irritating issue as well. There are too many potential sources of cabin noise, foremost of which are the dashboard and the doors, while others include the ashtray, the cabin light, the center console, and the seats.
If your car’s cabin is signing its notes and you have set your mind on quelling them, then the first thing that we suggest that you do is to scan your car’s cabin for empty cans, coins/pins/screws, or other junk items that are lying around and perhaps contributing to cabin noise.
As a next step, check for noises coming from the dashboard. The dashboard combines different components such as the display units, air condition vents, glove compartment, stereo, coin holder, etc.
All these are potential noise sources, especially if any of these elements have been removed as part of maintenance work. Check for loose screws/fasteners and trims not reinstalled snugly. One owner of the Spark found that the heat shield of the gas tank was a problem. See the video for more explanation.
Spark users have complained about squeaking front doors, which is no surprise. Doors are most susceptible to producing noise because frequent opening and closing produces vibrations that can loosen up the components, such as the tweeter, the door handles, the windows, etc., installed within the door.
Use the car manual to identify screws and fasteners and tighten them. Use some padding to muffle noise for trims that do not fit snugly. For the door hinge pins and bushings, lubrication keeps them from drying out because dried joints initially squeak and finally wear out.
Finally, check the ashtray, glove compartment latch and hinges, the center console, and the cabin light for loose fixtures and use padding to eliminate noise.
Poor Leg Space and Uncomfortable Front Seats
One of the features looked at by consumers is the interior space of a vehicle. On this count, the Chevy Spark is a compact hatchback that gets a low rating with mixed reactions for its interior quality and spaciousness. Passengers complain of uncomfortable front seats; the second row and cargo space are also small with cramped leg space.
AirBag Not Deploying
There have been several complaints and injuries because of the non-deployment of airbags on impact. Sometimes the steering wheel airbag fails to deploy, and other times, the complaints are about the side airbags not deploying.
Non-illuminated Steering Wheel Controls
Spark owners have complained that the buttons on the steering wheel for cruise control, hands-free calling, and radio controls do not light up when the lights are turned on at night. It is a potential hazard because with buttons not readily identifiable, one has to take eyes off the road to manage these controls. This issue was fixed for Sparks built after Oct 25, 2012, but GM refuses to fix it for vehicles produced before.
Air Conditioning Not Working
It is a common issue with Chevys and is also present on the Spark. There are a lot of complaints regarding the air conditioner not working. Mostly the problem is with the compressor for the air conditioner or the gas leaking out of one of the pipes. This issue in 2013 led to a recall for the faulty compressor.
Headlights Remain On Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
Daytime running lights or DRLs are designed to help the other driver spot you better during the day. There Chevy Spark has an issue with the headlights remaining on DRL. The driver assumes the lights are on, but the rear lights remain off, which is a serious road hazard. These have to be manually turned on.
Excessive Engine Oil Consumption
Although more prevalent in 2013 – 2014 and 2016 models, Spark owners have reported that the engine starts using too much oil. If you check your Spark’s oil level and find it low, top it up and check it a few days later. If the level has dropped again, you must take your car to the mechanic for an inspection as soon as possible.
In the case of the 2013 – 2014 models, a recall was issued, which stated that:
Certain 2013-2014 model year Chevrolet Spark vehicles equipped with a 1.2L engine (RPO LL0). These vehicles may have been built with a Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve that may wear prematurely.
If this occurs, it may cause excessive engine oil consumption, which may eventually foul a spark plug causing the illumination of the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), rough engine operation, and if uncorrected, cause engine damage and lack of engine power.Source
In the case of the 2016 model, the problem was described as follows:
Suspecting an engine block of possible cylinder bore damage, scoring or out of round as the possiblecause of engine oil consumption, misfire, cylinder leakage or blow by.Source
A technical service bulletin was issued for this problem, and most owners had their problems fixed free of charge.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Chevy Spark Takes (All US Generations)
The transmission is a complex mechanical engineering piece with many moving parts. Sooner or later, all systems fail, and the transmission is no exception. One of the issues reported for Chevy Spark is the transmission slipping. Slipping is the phenomenon of gears not changing smoothly while the car runs. At high speeds, this can be dangerous because it can result in the driver losing control of the car.
It is the second most commonly reported problem for Chevy Spark and is most pronounced with the 2013 – 2014 Spark.
If the transmission on Spark is slipping, then it is imperative to have it looked at urgently by a reliable technician. Luckily in most cases, repair work on the transmission would generally repair the issue, saving you a lot of headache and cash. For that to happen, it is essential to be aware of some common signs of a slipping transmission.
- The gears do not shift
- Sudden, uncontrolled shifting
- Engine noise is louder than normal
- Unusual vibration or noise
- Poor response from the car on acceleration
- The smell of something burning under the hood.
If your car shows these symptoms, it could have to do with one or more of the following reasons.
- The transmission fluid has not been changed for a while or has a low level.
- The transmission bands are either worn out or broken.
- The solenoid is broken
- Gears need to be replaced.
The first thing that we suggest is to change the transmission oil and see if it solves the issue. Caution: Regularly change transmission oil to prevent long-term damage. Generally, it should be changed after 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
If the transmission is broken, that is an entirely different ball game. It will require a complete diagnosis and a determination of the parts that need replacement or if a completely new transmission will be required. The cost of the new transmission is close to $2000, and with labor costs and other incidentals, you are looking at somewhere between $4000-$5000.
Also read: How To Flat/Dolly Tow A Chevy Spark (Step-By-Step)
Spark owners lodged many complaints about the steering system, and in some cases, the car got into an accident due to the problem. So this is a serious issue and has to do with the steering becoming locked while driving. There is not much one can do with locked steering on a highway. There have been several crashes as a result.
Bouncy, Unstable Ride
It does not take much to realize that a car has a bouncy and unstable ride. A car that is uncomfortable to drive is uncomfortable to ride in, which is noticed immediately by everyone in the car. An unstable ride is not just uncomfortable; it is also dangerous. Therefore it is imperative to have the car inspected immediately.
Owners of Chevy Spark complain of a bouncy and unstable ride. There could be two main reasons for this. The number one reason is the tires which are in direct contact with the road. Old tires lose treading, or the steel mesh inside the tires breaks. The result is a bouncy ride. Change worn-out tires immediately because this also affects the car’s traction.
However, stability generally has to do with the suspension system. The suspension system dampens the impact of the terrain on the vehicle and allows for a comfortable ride for the occupants of the car.
In case of a bouncy and uncomfortable ride, the following components must be inspected to determine the root cause.
- Broken Shock absorbers.
- Broken Strut Assembly.
- Lack of proper lubrication of the Suspension System.
- Over-inflated or Bulged tires.
- Warped brakes.
Fixing the suspension system can be very costly, depending on the severity of the issue. The average cost for a Chevrolet Spark suspension shock or strut replacement is between $622 and $724. It includes the labor costs also.
Random Alarms and Indication
Chevy Spark owners have complained of multiple alarms popping up one after another. It could start with the radio going blank, followed by loss of all audible sounds and alerts, including seat belt alerts, key in the ignition alert, blinker alerts, etc.
The most likely cause could be the fuse block overloading circuit and shorting relays. However, there has yet to be an official explanation on this by GM, the manufacturer of the Chevy Spark.
Loss of Power
In another reported issue, the brakes, engine, and steering column abruptly lose function immediately after the check engine indicator lights up. It can be catastrophic because the driver loses control of the vehicle after these systems stop functioning. The probable cause could be the malfunctioning of some circuitry that leads to multiple system failures—This, however, is under investigation by GM.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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