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Old 02-13-2018, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default Small stuff starting to add up...

2012 sonic here with about 85,000 kms (53,000 miles) on it.

Starting to see fatigue in the car and wondering if the life expectancy is this short or if there is another array of issues at play.

So far I've spent very little on the car with the exception of my own add-ons for pleasure. But when it starts to fall apart, it really falls apart. here we go...

- Both wing mirrors have developed cracks across the top of the housing. The plastic has simply gone "Nope" and cracked. Is this common? Maybe the cold? Maybe cheap plastic?

- Front bumper fascia was torn from the car by a plastic bag blowing on the freeway this summer on a very hot day. The clips snapped off and I have screwed it in place "temporarily." Was the plastic too hot and made soft?

- Same plastic bag took out passenger side driveaxle. Really - how can a garbage bag do this much damage? Amazing stuff.

- Both seat heaters are now dead.

- Washer reservoir leaking badly. Another plastic part failing.

- Intermittent CEL light coming on. Need to scan it. Too cold to play right now whatever code comes up. Hope its a gas cap, fear that its not.

- Clunking noise on shifts - maybe a thrust bearing letting go in the stickshift. Afraid to find out it's an expensive fix.

So 6 years into ownership and the peripherals are starting to let go, with a couple drivetrain issues. I bike to work 3X weekly so the car mostly sits. I can go for a week or two without moving it. I don't think its been abused although I do carry a canoe around on it in the summer.

Maybe its first year model woes. Maybe its just bad luck. Anyone else here seeing similar failures in a 2012??
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:04 PM   #2
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Hmm. . I would say the "plastic bag" episode is an odd happenstance. Ican see if it got wrapped around things and was a large bag it could do some damage. Hardly a reflection on the car. And if it happened in very cold weather, yes, plastic gets brittle both with cold and age. So . . .. . .

Thermostat housing , and Evap Solenoid are wear parts on the early Sonics. I would replace every 3 years. $40 to $60 each if you buy them and DIY.

Have you changed the transmission fluid? EVen if it is a manual good to do so every 3 years or so on these small transmissions.

Daughter has a 2014 with 76,000 mile son it and has had only a few things. Will need brakes soon and maybe rear shocks, sway bar links. She drives it like a race car. .. .
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Prospector View Post
2012 sonic here with about 85,000 kms (53,000 miles) on it.

Starting to see fatigue in the car and wondering if the life expectancy is this short or if there is another array of issues at play.

So far I've spent very little on the car with the exception of my own add-ons for pleasure. But when it starts to fall apart, it really falls apart. here we go...

- Both wing mirrors have developed cracks across the top of the housing. The plastic has simply gone "Nope" and cracked. Is this common? Maybe the cold? Maybe cheap plastic?

- Front bumper fascia was torn from the car by a plastic bag blowing on the freeway this summer on a very hot day. The clips snapped off and I have screwed it in place "temporarily." Was the plastic too hot and made soft?

- Same plastic bag took out passenger side driveaxle. Really - how can a garbage bag do this much damage? Amazing stuff.

- Both seat heaters are now dead.

- Washer reservoir leaking badly. Another plastic part failing.

- Intermittent CEL light coming on. Need to scan it. Too cold to play right now whatever code comes up. Hope its a gas cap, fear that its not.

- Clunking noise on shifts - maybe a thrust bearing letting go in the stickshift. Afraid to find out it's an expensive fix.

So 6 years into ownership and the peripherals are starting to let go, with a couple drivetrain issues. I bike to work 3X weekly so the car mostly sits. I can go for a week or two without moving it. I don't think its been abused although I do carry a canoe around on it in the summer.

Maybe its first year model woes. Maybe its just bad luck. Anyone else here seeing similar failures in a 2012??
I have tranny issues and found out I have two oil leaks my 2012 has 86545

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Old 02-13-2018, 02:15 PM   #4
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I am in the same boat. 2013 HB 1.4T Manual purchased new and now have 106k.

So far i have replaced the following:
transmission at 32K (warranty)
water pump (warranty)
water inlet (myself)
radiator overfill tank (myself)
evap solenoid(myself)
halfshaft transmission seal(myself)
cooling fan(myself)
rocker cover seal(myself)
oil pan seal(myself)

i did install the trifecta tune around 90K and it does make a huge difference. however i would not purchase another sonic.
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by XFOXRACING12X View Post
I am in the same boat. 2013 HB 1.4T Manual purchased new and now have 106k.

So far i have replaced the following:
transmission at 32K (warranty)
water pump (warranty)
water inlet (myself)
radiator overfill tank (myself)
evap solenoid(myself)
halfshaft transmission seal(myself)
cooling fan(myself)
rocker cover seal(myself)
oil pan seal(myself)

i did install the trifecta tune around 90K and it does make a huge difference. however i would not purchase another sonic.
Wow that's a lot

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Old 02-13-2018, 04:31 PM   #6
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Wow that's a lot

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Definitely, I had an accord with almost 300k and wasn't even close to the maintenance I've put into this sonic
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by navyjag10 View Post
Wow that's a lot

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2012 1.8L AT sedan, 60k, bought new:

Brake drums and shoes replaced under GM campaign at 30k.
Warped head and blown head gasket at 35k.
Shifter assembly
Three sets of stabilizer bar links.
Alternator at 2 years old
Battery at 2.5 years old
Air intake duct
Windshield washer reservoir and neck.
Coolant reservoir.
Oil cooler
Thermostat twice
Power window switch.
RF power window motor.
CD player has stuck for a few years at times.
TCM reprogramming a few times.
Valve cover gasket
Oil pan gasket
Drive belt
Various coolant lines

Most done under GM warranty/campaign/CAC coverage, a few things I did myself. This is what I remember off the top of my head...

My personal .02: GM could have done a lot, lot better on this small car. I was expecting a better foot forward than this. What worried me was that GM built/builds the car in Lake Orion, MI with a labor concession. That is, they told the union, "This is what your union members will take per hour (which was a pay cut). If they don't agree, we'll just go overseas and build the car there.....".

So, if you were a worker at LO, and you have to pay bills and you're maybe at the tail end of your career, you're likely going to say "yes" or else your job will be shipped overseas.

I don't think this was a good way to build the vehicle. I think there were some angry folks assembling my car. LOL.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/bu...utomaking.html

That's the article. I'm not sure if that agreement is still in effect, but it's tough at $14 an hour to have a happy employee, although they do get decent benes....

Last edited by Ponchoguy; 02-13-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:35 PM   #8
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Nice "cut & paste". I bet you just look for another chance to put that into a thread every at every chance, LOL

Well, a couple things. Lot's of opinions on the Sonic especially 2012-2013 or so.
NO one likes to have early wear and replacement and regularly have to repair something on a car for sure. But first, 2012 was a first year build. I never. .. never buy a first year build GM or not and I have been largely a GM guys from way back.

Next, the wages have moved on up from $14 and that was mainly for new employees who got regular increases. So not sure the pay scale "made them angry". They took the jobs and were happy to have them.

I think if anything, some of the parts issues were because of two things.

One - - the Sonic was essentially a Euro-Asian design adapted to American markets with U.S. gov't standards. So some things had to be changed to adapt it to make a vehicle that has acceptable performance in the market and also will conform to U.S. standards. Best price does not often mean best durability. Also, we have two larger engines in the Sonic then in other parts of the world so a lot of adapting there. In that process, bids probably went out to part suppliers for the best price.

Two - - If you have the time, check out and use Google Europe, Asia, Australia, etc and see how cars and durability fare in those parts of the world. I have. Many, many cars have much less durability and more frequent repairs than the Sonic we have here.

Lastly, GM seems to have largely stepped up and covered much in warranty repairs or updated new parts. So while that may have been an inconvenience, the service was still covered in most cases.

I would say this about the Sonic and any other sub compact car including ones like Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, etc. These cars are very light duty and seem to require a high degree of monitoring critical areas of operation. Make sure coolant levels are steady and not "disappearing". Change fluids more often than the car maker recommends. Inspect and check things like oil level, brakes, suspension, tires, and other parts as vehicle history reveals potential problem or wear areas.

These sub compact cars are a lot like small, compact sports cars from years ago. Do some google searches on MG, Austin Healey, Triumph, Fiat, Ford Cortina and many others. Small cars always required more attention.

I see comments here all the time of people saying their Honda this, or Toyota that , never had these kinds of repair issues. Usually, they are comparing a compact or mid sized car of 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Vehicles were not as complex and did not have the EPA requirements for MPG, safety and pollution that cars do today. Not to mention the extra costs for things like ABS, Traction Control, increased electronics and creature comforts. So .. apples and oranges.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:36 AM   #9
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My early production 2012 1.4 LTZ manual 6 sp hatch has been relatively reliable for a first year vehicle.
It was built in Aug 2011 - On factory constraint until Nov 2011. Only notable items that I can recall:

1 Coil pack, no spark cyl #4
2 Brake pedal position sensor
3 Stabilizer links
4 Seat heater (driver side)

I only have ~ 45,000 miles at this time; I never abuse it; Change oil every 5,000 miles. It still runs, drives and looks good. I still like it after owning it for over 6 years. I'm sure the longer I keep it the more maintenance intensive it will become, but I have really nothing bad to say about mine at this time.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTee2017 View Post
Nice "cut & paste". I bet you just look for another chance to put that into a thread every at every chance, LOL

No cut and paste...Well, a couple things. Lot's of opinions on the Sonic especially 2012-2013 or so.
NO one likes to have early wear and replacement and regularly have to repair something on a car for sure. But first, 2012 was a first year build. I never. .. never buy a first year build GM or not and I have been largely a GM guys from way back.

Next, the wages have moved on up from $14 and that was mainly for new employees who got regular increases. So not sure the pay scale "made them angry". They took the jobs and were happy to have them.

I think if anything, some of the parts issues were because of two things.

One - - the Sonic was essentially a Euro-Asian design adapted to American markets with U.S. gov't standards. So some things had to be changed to adapt it to make a vehicle that has acceptable performance in the market and also will conform to U.S. standards. Best price does not often mean best durability. Also, we have two larger engines in the Sonic then in other parts of the world so a lot of adapting there. In that process, bids probably went out to part suppliers for the best price.

Two - - If you have the time, check out and use Google Europe, Asia, Australia, etc and see how cars and durability fare in those parts of the world. I have. Many, many cars have much less durability and more frequent repairs than the Sonic we have here.

Lastly, GM seems to have largely stepped up and covered much in warranty repairs or updated new parts. So while that may have been an inconvenience, the service was still covered in most cases.

I would say this about the Sonic and any other sub compact car including ones like Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, etc. These cars are very light duty and seem to require a high degree of monitoring critical areas of operation. Make sure coolant levels are steady and not "disappearing". Change fluids more often than the car maker recommends. Inspect and check things like oil level, brakes, suspension, tires, and other parts as vehicle history reveals potential problem or wear areas.

These sub compact cars are a lot like small, compact sports cars from years ago. Do some google searches on MG, Austin Healey, Triumph, Fiat, Ford Cortina and many others. Small cars always required more attention.

I see comments here all the time of people saying their Honda this, or Toyota that , never had these kinds of repair issues. Usually, they are comparing a compact or mid sized car of 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Vehicles were not as complex and did not have the EPA requirements for MPG, safety and pollution that cars do today. Not to mention the extra costs for things like ABS, Traction Control, increased electronics and creature comforts. So .. apples and oranges.
No cut and paste, sorry to disappoint. You make good points. No, they took those jobs because GM said if they didn't take the wage concession, they would simply build the car overseas. So it was a "take it or leave it" scenario.

Yes, that would make the average guy very angry if you were previously getting $28 or so an hour and now you're told "take $14 or there goes your job". The quality shows on these cars, very poor throughout.

Like I said, if NO ONE buys the first year or two model production, why would the manufacturer continue to produce it? There should not be the problems that these cars have with such low miles.

All manufacturers have their problems, but coming into the market, GM should know what they'd be against. You're trying to woo people back who probably got burned by GM on a car in the past, but want to give them a try again. Unfortunately, very few people that buy Toyotas say, "I'll never buy one again". You hear this a lot with GM and the other car makers.

Like I said, I wanted to like the Sonic but it has shown me that it's not a keeper and not reliable. And to have the GM rep tell me "Well I can give you $2k off on a new car" was an insult. That's when I got very pointed and wouldn't give up on telling them, "That's not the answer. I'm not going away. You'll need to do better. You need to own this problem".

Every time I bring it for something, it's a reminder to GM that they own the problem. The dealership doesn't really care, GM's eating the bill. The way it should be.

Last edited by Ponchoguy; 02-14-2018 at 02:51 PM.
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