Riverspark

CEL Flashing, Traction Control Illuminated, Rough Idle and Hard Clunking

121 posts in this topic

Having the same issues. My car has only 10,000 miles on it, even though its almost a year old, so its not like I'm driving the hell out of it, but I'm getting the same issues. Took it to the dealer twice now. Even they admitted they didn't know what the issue was. First it was a misfire in cylinder 3. Then it was an occasional misfire in cylinder 1. And the guy mentioned that it really only seemed to be during cold starts, so he wasn't sure if they fixed the issue or not. Glad I found this forum! Now I'll have somewhere to direct him to look!

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Good luck to you, this is a known issue, so they should be on top of it. Keep us informed, on how it goes.

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Just bought a 2013 spark certified pre owned 40,000 km have had nothing but issues. Certified Pre owned means joke to me now. Engine light and traction control light flashing then goes into limp mode. No power 2nd gear real fun doing highway speeds almost caused a crash. I read all the info here. Advised dealer they told me oh be a lose battery connection. They found oil fouled plugs in 3/4. Tons of miss fires yet engine light doesn't stay on confuses me. They said we will change piston rings to fix. They changed my spark plugs and told me safe to drive till parts come in. 2 days later same issue call and complain for selling me a lemon and an unsafe pos. Wife drove it to dealer after work for rental Messed up 3 times on way. If you restart gets out of limp mode till it messes up again. They took my engine apart a week later when parts came in. I get a call piston rings won't fix it needs a new engine. I guess they didn't do cross hatching on cylinder walls on 1 and 4. Defect when they made the engine. I bought the car just over a month ago and have had a rental for 3 weeks. And engine won't be in for another week. Thanks Chevy for selling a defective pos. I guess I bought a rental???? Side note: rental car number 3 got hit in parking lot hit and run on hook for 300 dollar deducible little spark probably would have been fine instead of the boat size rental wife got. On rental number 4!

Edited by Jesse Seth Speed

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I guess I'm not the only person that's ever encountered this issue. I just replaced the battery two weeks ago after being unable to start it in sub-zero temperatures. I had difficulties even finding a battery because no one within a 30 mile radius even had one in stock. Meanwhile, I just hit 80,000 miles a few days ago. I'm due for an oil change and tire rotation. Yesterday I was actually going out to get the oil change not wanting to wait until after the weekend, but then saw the flashing CEL, parked, and turned the car off. I looked at the oil, it looks dirty. I'd imagine if that was the case two weeks ago the dealership that replaced the battery would have mentioned it (receipt says they did a 27-point inspection, although I can't find the sheet). I've had a CEL before, a significant amount of time ago, but not flashing. The oil was low on the dipstick so I added more and took it to the dealer where they found a leak in the oil pan gasket. I got it back, found an even bigger leak, brought it back to the dealer, and got a rental for a day while they fixed it better.

 

Considering I was parked when this happened, I haven't really moved the car more than 10-20 feet. The CEL didn't flash or turn on, same with the traction control light, two ignitions after seeing the CEL flashing. The closest dealership is over 30 miles away and won't be open until Tuesday, never mind necessarily being able to look at it. From there, it's over 130 miles to get home. Did I mention I have work on Tuesday? There are other places that are open Monday and could look at my car on Monday, but none of them are *the* closest dealership and therefore I can't get a tow to them unless maybe I drive my car for a few miles in their direction before calling a tow. On the other hand, those dealerships are even further away from where I live.

 

The icing on the cake? The place I'm staying is having water issues. I can't take a shower.

Edited by Mewthree

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Just the flashing CEL is an emission issue...could be misfiring due to fouled plug, bad coil, fouled MAS and a whole host of mostly non-critical issues. Does the engine idle smoothly? Does it drive OK with normal power..if so, you can most likely drive the distance to a dealer. I am assuming you had the PCV recall done?

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Posted (edited)

On 1/1/2017 at 10:27 AM, Retired old Gearhead said:

Just the flashing CEL is an emission issue...could be misfiring due to fouled plug, bad coil, fouled MAS and a whole host of mostly non-critical issues. Does the engine idle smoothly? Does it drive OK with normal power..if so, you can most likely drive the distance to a dealer. I am assuming you had the PCV recall done?

 

It was the CEL flashing and a traction control light. Manual says if you see the flashing CEL (edit to clarify: not flashing) that it's something very serious to reduce speed, avoid hard accelerations, avoid steep inclines, etc., although I've had multiple people tell me to turn it off and get it towed straight away to the dealer if that ever happens, once being the last time I had service for a CEL. The engine has a knock, which wasn't the case when I last drove it. Haven't moved it other than to get it in a place where a tow truck can get at it, and I could definitely hear an engine knock today a little earlier when the tow truck guy was moving it a little bit more to get it on his truck.

Edited by Mewthree
to clarify

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Yup..CEL and Traction light plus a knocking engine..well, let's just say that the 5yr-100mi drivetrain warranty will be golden at this point...Knocking is usually $$$ without a warranty..could be a connecting rod bearing or loose connecting rod low clamp. Towed + warranty = good...'Nuff said..

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Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, Retired old Gearhead said:

Yup..CEL and Traction light plus a knocking engine..well, let's just say that the 5yr-100mi drivetrain warranty will be golden at this point...Knocking is usually $$$ without a warranty..could be a connecting rod bearing or loose connecting rod low clamp. Towed + warranty = good...'Nuff said..

 

Well, unfortunately it wasn't covered by the powertrain this time. They did provide handwritten notes though, which I really like.

 

P0300 code, the most with 5 misfires on the fourth cylinder, but also with all cylinders. The freeze frame records (what are these?) look normal. They pulled the plugs and they smelled "gassy." No sign of carbon fracking (guess on spelling) or tracking on the coil assemblies. They cleaned the plugs and put them back in without any misfires. Nothing wrong with anything else they looked at, O2 sensors and fuel (???) look good and they didn't find any injector problems. States that they "suspect fuel/poor quality." Got an ethanol service and new spark plugs as recommended. They also checked the engine air filter and found that it also smelled gassy and was wet with the suspicion being snow in an air box, so I also replaced the air filter as recommended. On top of that, I got a tire rotation and the oil change that was due. That means I've spent more money the past two months on service than I have on payments, and that's been the case for several months this past year.

 

I definitely know what gas station I bought fuel at the night before this happened. Should I notify a regulatory agency about the suspicion? Also, I don't know 100% what's up with the snow in the air box bit, primarily because I don't know where the airbox is. Only thought is that I had just dug the car up from the previous nights foot-and-a-half of snow when this happened, with the front bumper about a foot from an already-established snowbank, and that's probably where they came up with that hypothesis because I've had to dig cars out of this kind of snowy weather before and never experienced an issue remotely similar.

 

In the meantime, it ran well for the 30+ miles driving it back from the dealership, but I'm going to need to be taking it well over 100 miles tomorrow. If there are any red flags here, let me know.

Edited by Mewthree

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On 1/3/2017 at 10:20 PM, Mewthree said:

 

Well, unfortunately it wasn't covered by the powertrain this time. They did provide handwritten notes though, which I really like.

 

P0300 code, the most with 5 misfires on the fourth cylinder, but also with all cylinders. The freeze frame records (what are these?) look normal. They pulled the plugs and they smelled "gassy." No sign of carbon fracking (guess on spelling) or tracking on the coil assemblies. They cleaned the plugs and put them back in without any misfires. Nothing wrong with anything else they looked at, O2 sensors and fuel (???) look good and they didn't find any injector problems. States that they "suspect fuel/poor quality." Got an ethanol service and new spark plugs as recommended. They also checked the engine air filter and found that it also smelled gassy and was wet with the suspicion being snow in an air box, so I also replaced the air filter as recommended. On top of that, I got a tire rotation and the oil change that was due. That means I've spent more money the past two months on service than I have on payments, and that's been the case for several months this past year.

 

I definitely know what gas station I bought fuel at the night before this happened. Should I notify a regulatory agency about the suspicion? Also, I don't know 100% what's up with the snow in the air box bit, primarily because I don't know where the airbox is. Only thought is that I had just dug the car up from the previous nights foot-and-a-half of snow when this happened, with the front bumper about a foot from an already-established snowbank, and that's probably where they came up with that hypothesis because I've had to dig cars out of this kind of snowy weather before and never experienced an issue remotely similar.

 

In the meantime, it ran well for the 30+ miles driving it back from the dealership, but I'm going to need to be taking it well over 100 miles tomorrow. If there are any red flags here, let me know.

Hey Mewthree,

 

I regret to hear that you are experiencing concerns with your Spark, and would love to look into ways to assist. At your earliest convenience, please send us a private message with your full contact information, VIN, current mileage, and the name of the dealership you have been working with. Feel free to include any questions that you may have. Looking forward to working with you!

 

Best,

Cecil J.

Chevrolet Customer Care

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SO!

I had some resolution!

I had the misfiring and CEL coming on. When I took it in last, they replaced the brain of the car. Since then it's worked like new.

I'm not quiet sure if I'm going to keep it because of HOW many problems I had and the fact that it took almost 20k miles to find the problem.

After a transmission reprogram, a new transmission, and a new brain, the car finally works as intended!

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Just had this happen on my Sonic which has roughly 25,000 miles on it. Really Chevy? Called the dealership and I was told Chevy just changed the policy for customers with check engine light problems. Now if your light is not currently on Nice and bright it will cost you for them to look at it. Again, Really Chevy? They must of changed this policy because of their apparent engine problems. This is insane when a vehicle (that's just 2 years old) I see having this type of problem. Quality is obviously not a focus for Chevy and that's disturbing. Here's to waiting for my vehicle to completely break until Chevy will take care of me. 

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58 minutes ago, Kbull said:

Just had this happen on my Sonic which has roughly 25,000 miles on it. Really Chevy? Called the dealership and I was told Chevy just changed the policy for customers with check engine light problems. Now if your light is not currently on Nice and bright it will cost you for them to look at it. Again, Really Chevy? They must of changed this policy because of their apparent engine problems. This is insane when a vehicle (that's just 2 years old) I see having this type of problem. Quality is obviously not a focus for Chevy and that's disturbing. Here's to waiting for my vehicle to completely break until Chevy will take care of me. 

Any mechanic that I have taken a car to will not do shit unless you can replicate the trouble.

You cannot fix a problem that you cant find.

Take it to another dealer, if you got noise, and rough idle they dont need a check engine light to start diagnosing the car.

If If the light is on then they can simple hook the diagnostics tool and start working from there. If the light is off and you are not hearing or feeling or seeing anything they have nothing to start with. 

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The CEL is mostly for emission issues..even a loose gas cap will set it off...As Tozzi says".... if you got noise, and rough idle they dont need a check engine light to start diagnosing the car.".. .. The light is not the problem..what is causing the CEL is.

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On 5/20/2016 at 5:31 AM, Sari Ann Richardson said:

Having the same issues. My car has only 10,000 miles on it, even though its almost a year old, so its not like I'm driving the hell out of it, but I'm getting the same issues. Took it to the dealer twice now. Even they admitted they didn't know what the issue was. First it was a misfire in cylinder 3. Then it was an occasional misfire in cylinder 1. And the guy mentioned that it really only seemed to be during cold starts, so he wasn't sure if they fixed the issue or not. Glad I found this forum! Now I'll have somewhere to direct him to look!

I had the same symptoms in my 2007 Pontiac G5 after 50k miles and 9 years. It was burned, cracked, gummed up or carbon deposits on valves.  

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On 7/13/2017 at 8:43 AM, Bobby MSME said:

I had the same symptoms in my 2007 Pontiac G5 after 50k miles and 9 years. It was burned, cracked, gummed up or carbon deposits on valves.  

I'm older as well (DOB-1949)..but, you know Bobby, things have changed alot with cars since 2007, so your 2007 Pontiac analogy probably does not apply to the OP's issue. Just to clarify..I love talking old cars..still miss my little 2 seat Carmen Ghia VW..wipers would fall off randomly and other issues like that, but it ran well, looked great with the metallic blue new paint job and served me well for 170Kmi and about 10yrs. Fun back in '69 ...took us all over the US and parts of Canada.

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I loved looks of Karmann Ghia in 1960's!  Just could not afford it, so bought a new Corvair 1964. It was a tiger in snow & icy conditions. We had this huge snow storm in 1967 in Chicago (60" snow in 3-4 days) few people made it home from work, but my Corvair was like a snow plow and got me home! 

 

My 2007 Pontiac G5 was not all that different from  my 2017 SPark. The G5 was fully computer controlled with fuel injection, had remote start & lock/unlock. It was front wheel drive with ABS & traction control. In fact after 9 years I got P301 & Traction control show up on dash screen. It could display average MPG, average speed, remaining gas mileage, oil life remaining, and a whole lot more. 

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9 hours ago, Bobby MSME said:

 We had this huge snow storm in 1967 in Chicago (60" snow in 3-4 days) few people made it home from work, but my Corvair was like a snow plow and got me home! 

 

Bobby, I think that snow storm you are referring to was March.20.1971 or '72..I was flying piston poppers back then and was re-routed from Logan to JFK..Biggest snow storm ever!

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13 hours ago, Retired old Gearhead said:

Bobby, I think that snow storm you are referring to was March.20.1971 or '72..I was flying piston poppers back then and was re-routed from Logan to JFK..Biggest snow storm ever!

dear RoG, I know my memory is no longer what it once was, but I do remember that 1967 snowstorm because many of my co-workers were stranded at work place for almost 2 days. My own car (1964 Corvair) got me home but then the snow drifts buried it for 7 days until city crews plowed our street. I traded the Corvair for a 1967 Chevy Impala in early 1968.Here are some pictures and links..

 

https://www.google.com/#q=chicago+record+snow+storm+1967

"The Chicago blizzard of 1967 struck northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana on January 26–27, 1967, with a record-setting 23 inches (58 cm) snow fall in Chicagoand its suburbs before the storm abated the next morning. As noted in 2016 and 2017, it was the single greatest snowfall in one storm in Chicago history."

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Chicago_blizzard

The Chicago blizzard of 1967 struck northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana on January 26–27, 1967, with a record-setting 23 inches (58 cm) snow fall in Chicago and its suburbs before the storm abated the next morning. As noted in 2016 and 2017, it was the single greatest snowfall in one storm in Chicago history.[1][2][3] As the blizzard was a surprise during the day with people already at work or school, it stopped the city for a few days as people dug out. "The storm was a full-blown blizzard, with 50 mph-plus northeast wind gusts creating drifts as high as 15 feet."

270px-1967%2BGM10007_%284155561365%29.jp220px-Snow_blizzard_1967.jpg220px-1967%2BGM10012_%284155562731%29.jp220px-CHICAGO_BLIZZARD_OF_1967.jpg

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OK Bobby..missed that one as I was prepped in San Diego for my 'Nam tour and we didn't get much news. But I do know there was another big one that affected the NE and Eastern Canada as well in '71 or '72. Thanx for the great pix..I can see why you moved south..Ha! ...BTW, Just hit 140Kmi+ on my '13 Spark...no major issues in fact the only issue was the coolant tank leak..4sp auto/tranny still tight and responsive as new. Compression even across all 4 and starts with a flick of the key on the original battery with a very smooth idle that is so quiet you can't hear the engine running from outside the car..well, ok, maybe someone else may hear it..but, well you get my drift. Car far surpassed my expectations as far as engine and issues are concerned. Mileage is still same as it was new possibly due to my use of synthetic oil that is changed only at around 10% of oil life left indicator. Just lucked out with a good unit I think. I plan to keep it to the end as trade in value is gone due to mileage and almost 5yrs old. Still like to drive it around town and great in tight traffic and parking..Rover used only for longer road trips and the odd trip to pick up supplies that are too much for the small Spark hatch.

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18 minutes ago, Retired old Gearhead said:

 I plan to keep it to the end as trade in value is gone due to mileage and almost 5yrs old. 

Thank you so much old gear head, for your service! I come from a family of career military, but I skipped the chance. Career & marriage issues took precedence. Yes, do not give up a car which works as good as you describe. Never divorce a working car or a working wife hehe. I retired early but wife worked full time for 15 years during my retirement. Gave me lots of time to play golf haha. I am encouraged to hear Spark power train can last with proper maintenance. So far I have zero issues with my 2017 LS. What I like the best is instant response to gas pedal operation and the very precise steering. The gas mileage is not critical for me since I put on only 600-700 miles in a month, but it is nice to fill up for less than $15.

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Ya..the electric steering is indeed very responsive and works much better than I expected in the long term.

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