The silence that fills your inactive Chevy when you turn the key and it won't start can be extremely annoying. A Chevy that won't start leaves you immobilized and uncertain about the cause. Luckily, some common problems lead to Chevrolet HHR not starting, many of which can be fixed DIY or quickly by a mechanic.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 14 causes your Chevy HHR won't start and offer useful tips to get your car running again.
Drained or Dead Battery
The most common cause a Chevrolet won't start is a dead or weak battery. Your battery delivers the initial jolt of electricity to turn over the engine and get it started.
Signs of a dead battery:
- Silence upon turning the key – no engine cranking
- Accessories not powering on
- Difficulty starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables available in case of a dead battery situation. Jump starting your Chevrolet HHR using a good battery or portable charger can supply enough juice to get it started.
You can also try cleaning corroded battery terminals if they prevent a good connection. If problems continue, have your battery tested – it may need recharging if old.
If your battery tests fine but your Chevy HHR still won't crank, the culprit may be a bad alternator. This key component charges your battery when running and powers the electronics.
Signs of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning light coming on
- Electronics dimming
- Difficulty starting, especially after short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator inspected ASAP by a mechanic. A bad alternator can quickly drain your battery. This will need to be replaced by an experienced mechanic.
Bad or Fouled Spark Plugs
Spark plugs fire the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders to power your car. When they are fouled or worn out, your HHR may not start due to no spark.
Clues of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine sputtering
The Fix: Spark plugs need periodic replacement as they degrade. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs inspected and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Ignition System Issues
Issues with ignition components like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevrolet from starting.
Signs of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Dashboard malfunctioning
- Key won't turn
The Fix: For fob issues, try the battery. For other problems, have the system inspected and fixed professionally. If you need a new Chevy key fob you can get one online here.
The starter motor engages when you turn the key to crank the engine. If it's damaged, your Chevrolet HHR may not crank.
Signs of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no turnover
- Unusual noises
The Fix: Have your starter inspected and replaced if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.
Not in Park or Neutral
If your gearbox isn't in Park or Neutral, your Chevrolet's safety features will prevent it from cranking.
The Fix: Shift into Park/Neutral and try once more. If it only starts in one gear, you may have a faulty neutral safety switch needing repair. This will need to be repaired by a local mechanic near you.
Clogged Fuel Filter
A blocked fuel filter can constrain fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevy HHR from turning over.
Signs of a clogged filter:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine misfiring
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Change the filter per your schedule or if thought clogged. Use quality gas and replace regularly. You can have a local mechanic repair this for you, or repair it yourself, maybe with the help and guidance of an online mechanic.
Bad or Failing Fuel Pump
The fuel pump transfers gas from the tank to the engine. If it fails, your Chevrolet won't start due to no fuel.
Signs of a bad pump:
- No pump noise upon turning key
- Difficulty starting
- Stalling when running
The Fix: Have your pump tested. If faulty, a mechanic near you will need to replace it.
Proper compression is required to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from damage can lead to a no start.
Signs of compression issues:
- Difficulty starting
- Rough idle
- Lack of power
The Fix: Testing can confirm low compression. For diagnostics and carrying out this repair, a local mechanic is usually needed and will have to replace the worn engine components.
Timing Belt Failure
The timing belt keeps the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons won't be timed properly and your Chevy HHR won't start.
Signs of a bad timing belt:
- No start
- Unusual clicking sound
The Fix: Have your belt checked and fixed right away if broken. This requires a local professional mechanic to replace the timing belt of your Chevy HHR.
Detached or Loose Battery Cable
Symptoms of a bad cable:
- Corroded terminals
- Power loss from wiggling cables
- Frayed wiring
The Fix: Clean corroded terminals and tighten loose connections. Damaged cables need replacement. You can get expert Chevy mechanic advice and guidance online or with a local mechanic.
Relays control power to components like the starter, fuel pump, and computer. Failure can prevent your Chevy HHR from starting or running right.
Identifying relay problems:
- Swap relays to test
- Have relays checked by a mechanic
The Fix: Faulty relays must be replaced, often after a larger diagnostic. You will likely need a local mechanic to diagnose if the faulty relay is preventing your Chevy from starting.
Low Fuel or Empty Tank
Running your tank completely empty can cause a no-start due to lack of fuel. This seems obvious however it often happens because of an inaccurate or broken fuel gauge.
The Fix: Keep your tank at least 1/4 full to avoid unexpected emptying. If issues persist, have your fuel sender unit checked by a professional mechanic.
Sometimes an engine can flood with too much fuel, preventing starting due to wet spark plugs. This is most common in older carbureted engines.
The Fix: Press the gas pedal fully and crank briefly to clear the system so the plugs can spark. If problems continue, have the carburetor adjusted by a professional local mechanic.
Top 3 Ways To Get a Mechanics Help
With so many potential issues for a no start problem, it can be challenging to identify the exact cause yourself. In some cases, seeking aid from an experienced mechanic can be time-saving and give you peace of mind.
These are the 3 ways to get a mechanic's help in starting your Chevy again.
1. Local Auto Repair Garage Near You
This is the regular way to get it repaired, however, it can be very wasteful in time and money, transporting your vehicle to them, plus expensive garage fees as they often have expensive overhead costs etc, that they have to pass on to the customer.
2. A Mobile Mechanic Near You
Having a qualified mobile mechanic come to your Chevy and repair it on-site can be a great time and money saver. The best mobile mechanics we can recommend in the USA are RepairSmith and YourMechanic. We have recommended them thousands of times, and they both have great prices, services and coverage across most of the USA.
In the UK the best mobile mechanic we can recommend is Fixter, they will come pick up your car, take it get repaired, and deliver it back to you. You can get an instant free quote on their official websites by clicking the name. We have tested, vetted, and can heartedly recommend each of these services to get your Chevy HHR|Chevrolet HHR starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a fantastic possibility for most DIYers or car aficionados. It's frequently a simple fix you can do on your own, like switching out or powering up the battery. In these instances, if you understand what to do in a stepwise fashion, you can do it on your own, you do not have to pay a mechanic locally. Well, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can supply all the help, advice, and advice you need, right away by online chat. You can then carry out the straightforward fix on your own.
The finest online mechanic we suggest is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a free trial of their service for just $5, ask unlimited inquiries for a week, get the help you need, and you do not need to keep going with the assistance after that. We adore JustAnswer for this purpose, professional auto mechanic help for just $5 is an unmatchable price.
The qualified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are available 24/7 to provide online analysis and advice. The advantages of querying a mechanic online are:
- Convenience: Get help from the comfort of your residence without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast replies; Mechanics answer back quickly with possible causes and solutions based on your description.
- Cost savings: Pay per question rather than full diagnostic fees – great for basic troubleshooting.
- Documentation: All conversations are recorded in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert help; Experienced licensed mechanics have the expertise to solve Chevy HHR|Chevrolet HHR no starting issues with ease.
You will get matched with the best auto mechanic for your particular case, it doesn't matter if it's an HHR or your Chevrolet Impala won't start, the expert Chevy mechanic you are paired with, will be the best for the job.
So next time you find yourself searching online for something like “Chevrolet wont start after overheating“, consider our talk to a Chrevrolet mechanic free service. In just minutes, you can leverage expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved HHR going again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not starting but I have power?
If your Chevrolet won't start but the lights and electronics power on, the most likely culprits are issues with the starter system, ignition switch, or neutral safety switch. Faulty ignition components prevent the engine from turning over even when battery power is present.
Why does my Chevy have power but won't turn over?
When your Chevy has power to the lights and accessories but doesn't start when turning the key, the problem is often a bad starter system or related wiring problem. This prevents the starter from activating to turn the engine over for starting.
What would make my Chevy car unexpectedly not start?
Sudden no-start issues can happen from loose battery cables, fuel pump or relay failure, broken timing belt, or an empty gas tank. These critical problems can arise without warning and prevent your Chevy's engine from starting.
Why doesn't my Chevy car start but the battery is fine?
With a good battery, the problem may be a bad alternator not charging the system, bad spark plugs providing no ignition, or a fuel delivery problem preventing combustion. Your Chevy's engine needs air, fuel, compression and spark to run.
What are signs your Chevy starter is bad?
Symptoms of a bad starter include no noise when turning the key, a single click but no turnover, unusual grinding noises, and difficult cranking. These indicate starter failure and the need for replacement by a local mechanic.
Why won't my Chevy car start but battery and alternator are good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common culprits are bad spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Thorough diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems is needed by a qualified local mechanic.