If you’re considering buying a Chevy Spark or currently own one from 2018 to 2022, it’s important to be aware of potential problems. Despite its initial popularity, the Spark faced some reliability issues that have caused headaches for drivers.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the most common Chevy Spark problems reported by drivers and offer guidance on what to do if you encounter them. We’ll pay particular attention to transmission problems that have plagued recent model years, and provide solutions to these issues.
The Chevy Spark was first introduced to the United States in 2013. This small car was intended for city travel and it made a great commuter option. The hatchback car was compact and sporty yet still offered the latest technologies and features. It was discontinued for the 2023 model year due to a lack of sales and popularity.
If you’ve purchased a defective Chevy Spark you may be entitled to a refund, replacement or cash reimbursement. Please contact our experienced lemon law attorneys at Cali Lemon Lawyers for a free case evaluation. ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.
2018 Chevy Spark Problems
The NHTSA doesn’t have any recorded recalls for these Sparks models, but there are some complaints worth noting, revealing information from the most cases online.
There have been multiple complaints about the brake system. Some people report a thumping noise while applying the brakes, while others have dealt with complete failure. This situation is even more dangerous when traveling at highway speeds. Plus, there appears to be no warning when the brakes are going to go out.
Lack of Acceleration
It’s unclear whether the problem is a transmission issue, such as low transmission fluid, but multiple drivers have reported a lack of acceleration. Gaining speed seems to be the most troublesome after coming to a complete stop. In some cases, the Spark won’t accelerate at all, leaving the drivers in vehicles behind it quite frustrated.
2019 Chevy Spark Problems
There are more problems occurring with the 2019 Chevrolet Spark. In fact, the NHTSA reports a recall and eight complaints. Here’s an overview of what’s going on.
Air Bag Failure
The 2019 Spark was recalled because the Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM) may never have gotten turned on and activated. They could still be in “manufacturing mode,” meaning that the air bags won’t deploy in the event of an accident.
Some of the same brake problems persist with the 2019 Spark. Again, drivers are complaining about noise, with an added issue that leads to a burning smell. In this case, the brake booster and other valuable components needed to be replaced prematurely, leaving the driver without a reliable car.
Chevy Spark Transmission Problems
The problems reported with the transmission are never-ending, no matter which model year you look at. However, with the 2019 Spark, we see a drastic complaint showing that the car needs a completely new transmission. What’s terrible about this situation for owners is that the transmission slipping issue could be caused by transmission bands that are worn out. For repairs to occur, drivers can be without their car for a long time.
Spark owners have also talked about the accelerator pedal getting stuck in the depressed position. This problem causes drivers to lose control over the acceleration, with no way to slow it down. These engine problems can lead to an accident if not repaired promptly.
2020 Chevy Spark Problems
While there aren’t any recalls for the 2020 Spark by the NHTSA, there probably should be. Owners have reported numerous problems, as outlined below.
Air Bag Injuries
Air bags are designed to protect occupants from injury, but the ones in the Spark are causing more harm than good. The poor leg space, combined with the wrong deployment has led to several injuries, including objects shooting into the body. Either the Spark seems to deal with non-deployment or hard airbags. Either airbag malfunction can lead to injury.
Excessive Oil Consumption
The Spark engine may start to go through more oil than what’s normal. Sometimes, there’s engine oil leaking from the system, but other times, it just burns through it. Even without needing too much oil, the engine shut down on multiple drivers at inopportune times. The oil consumption and engine damage has caused several customers to get a new motor. Yet, this means more time in the shop while for technicians to replace the broken motor.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
The new normal, unusual vibration felt by Spark owners has become commonplace. While many dealership locations around the country have identified the issues, there’s no fix determined yet for the steering system. For now, Spark owners have to grab onto the wheel and hold on for dear life.
The Spark models equipped with Kumho Tires may require replacement sooner than expected. Customers have noticed chunks of rubber missing from the tires. Even professional mechanics have commented that it’s not normal and creates a safety hazard.
2021 Chevy Spark Problems
The NHTSA has far fewer complaints with the 2021 Spark, but only because not as many were sold that year. There are still notable issues with both the air bags and the structure. Let’s look at most problems being reported online.
Defective Seat Belts
Not only do the air bags continue to fail during deployment, but this model has a further complaint leading to injury. One owner reported that during a crash, they were ejected from the seat belts with no air bag deployment. The injuries after this occurrence were serious and life-changing.
Lack of Trunk Access
Getting into the cargo space isn’t easy with the 2021 model year. The only way to open the trunk is with a key. That’s right – this model offers no way to pop the trunk from inside the vehicle. This isn’t something expected to be found on a new car.
2022 Chevy Spark Problems
For the final model year, there’s only one complaint lodged with the NHTSA. Most likely, the lack of complaints simply illustrates that no one wanted to buy this car anymore. That’s probably why it didn’t come back for the 2023 model year.
This Spark model seems to have a mind of its own. The windshield wipers and other electrical features malfunction at sporadic times. There have even been problems with the stability control system while driving in the rain. Telltale signs of electrical problems include trouble using the gear, sporadic function and interference.
Chevrolet Spark Reviews
Is the Chevy Spark a good hatchback? It is compact and provides an easy way to maneuver around busy urban environments, but the list of complaints is long and alarming. There have been some serious safety issues that must be addressed. Let’s look beyond our opinion to see what a couple of other reputable publications think.
Car and Driver says, “The worst thing we can say about the subcompact hatchback is that its back seat is pitifully small and folding the rear seats can be a frustrating process. While cramped rear quarters is common in this class, the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio are slightly roomier than the Spark.”
Edmunds further points out that “acceleration is slow, both for the class and in general.” It’s also noted that there’s “not much rear legroom or cargo capacity.”
Is the Chevrolet Spark a Reliable Compact Car?
RepairPal doesn’t list individual reliability ratings for the Chevrolet Spark. However, there’s an estimate that it costs an average of $434 a year to maintain and repair.
Additionally, the Chevrolet brand as a whole was reviewed. Chevy earns a 3.5 rating out of 5.0, which isn’t that favorable. Plus, Chevy vehicles tend to visit the repair shop 0.3 times a year, which is about average but face severe issues 15% of the time, which is above normal. It’s possible that the Spark models do even worse than the average.
Best Chevy Spark Models To Drive
We strongly urge our readers to avoid Chevy Spark models from any year. These compact cars are riddled with problems and many of them never get resolved. Plus, the lack of acceleration combined with potential engine or transmission failure is enough to make this value-focused car not worth the small amount of money it costs.
Going back to earlier models, such as the 2017 Chevrolet Spark, there are even more complaints. These models dealt with the engine shutting down after hitting speed breaker. Once the car gets to 55-60 mph, it just shuts down with the engine refusing to push any harder. The electronic power is known to shut off at the same time, which is a terrible feeling while driving at high speeds.
If you have to drive a Spark, try to choose a newer model where possible. These seem to experience fewer problems, so that’s a perk. You will want to have it checked over by a mechanic for the most common problems before buying it.
While you may be saving money buying a used Spark, it’s important to factor in all of the time it might spend at the shop. You may lose money in the long run.
If anything, you might consider choosing one of Chevrolet’s other models. You could choose a small subcompact SUV and probably experience a lot more fun with fewer hassles.
I have a 2017 Chevy Spark, bought at a dealership, used. I have noticed the past two years, problems with acceleration, and I know its a small four cylinder. I grew up doing mechanical repairs on cars and trucks all my own, models from the 70,s 80.s and 90s. This is the first new car ever owned, I maintain it with regular oil and service, new tires and I baby it. it had around 79,000 miles when I got it, and am the second owner ,, 112,000 miles now and almost 90% Highways, and always at 55, to 70, ( I drive VERY cautiously ) I have noticed on a hill and a dead stop, some transmission hesitation and acceleration on the highways, is a tad scary, like no power, I cannot afford to be down without a car, I am a disabled vet, and this is my only means to get around. I cannot let it sit for days at one of the close Chevy dealerships, and I am on a FIXED income so, replacement engine/transmission combined would cost me THOUSANDS almost as much as the car is worth,AT around 7900 that I still owe the bank.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.