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2008 Chevy HHR electric power steering not working

I have been offered a 2008 Chevy HHR on which the power steering doesn’t work. It steers harder than my grandfather’s tractor. I know it has electric steering, but I’ve never worked on one of those before. The fuses, #19, a 2 amp (Seems small?) on the passenger side of the console, and #1 under the hood, a 60 amp, both check good. I see used motors available for under $90. Is the motor the likely problem, or is there more to it than that? Is installing the motor any particular problem, like needing to be indexed for the splines to line up right? The car has 75K miles, and can be bought for under $3000 so I’m not afraid to put some $$ into it, put I’d like to have some idea what I’m in for.

There’s a power steering motor recall and/or warranty extension on some of these HHR’s, might be worth it to take the time to ask at a dealership. May still be in effect as safety related. In which case the dealership might supply both the part and labor.

Otherwise the motor seems pretty reasonably priced around $100, and shown only to be a 1/2 hour job to replace it.

Here’s what it says in the factory manual when dealing with EPS, ( Electronic Power Steering) in the vehicle.

“Any EPS components diagnosed to be malfunctioning that requires replacement requires replacement of the steering column assembly, also known as the EPS assembly.”


I found this article, my interpretation is the 2008s weren’t recalled, but the ps motor has a lifetime warranty.

Good luck,

Ed B.

I ran into this with a GM vehicle . In my case at first they were replacing the entire steering column but later was just replacing the motor .

I used to own a 2008 HHR. My steering developed a problem shortly before I took it in for the ignition switch recall. They replaced the steering motor only after finishing the ignition switch replacement. All was good until it developed a throttle position sensor problem. It turned out to be a badly crimped wire in the throttle position sensor connector. I repaired it myself then sold the car.

I just called the local Chevy dealer and was told that there is not a recall, but there is a lifetime warranty on the power steering motor, as mentioned above. Problem is, I have to get it from the current owner for the dealer to check out. Then the owner may not want to sell it CHEAP. If it requires a motor, it will be free. If not, I’ll have to pay $45 for their diagnosis. We’ll see what happens.

One option, you can buy the car as-is, then take it in to a dealership for the free fix. The warranty goes with the car, not the owner in all likelihood. So whoever owns the car can benefit from the free fix. Which will be you.

I leveled with the owner and got the car today for a checkout at the Chevy dealer. It had a POWER STEERING message on the instrument cluster, and the power steering was intermittent. When the light was out, it was perfect. The light went out just as I pulled into the service bay. That figures. They called me an hour later to say the there were no codes stored in the car’s computer, BUT they were going to go ahead and install a NEW P/S motor on the free extended warranty. No MIL, apparently no stored code. The service writer said that the P/S motor was probably the cause. OK. An hour later they called to say it was done. I went to pick it up, The power steering light came back on, half way back to the owner’s house. It is NOT fixed. I called the service writer. He said it must be something else, Duh… Anything else would be at the owner’s expense. I wonder if the ownee knew that already, and also knows what’s wrong with it. We did not make a deal, yet.

I guess the dealership would know if any dealership had replaced the p.s. motor before as part of the warranty extension, since the repair would be keyed to the VIN. I expect this is the first time the p.s. motor has been replaced under that plan. But it didn’t fix the intermittent p.s. function and the p.s. warning light keeps coming on too? Back to the drawing board I guess. Hopefully someone here has some electric steering repair experience.

hmmm … well I can venture a guess at least. It seems like for electric steering to work correctly, the motor has to be able to turn the wheels left to right, and there has to be a sensor which tells the computer directing the motor if the wheels are pointed in the correct direction or not. So since the motor presumably is a-ok at this point, maybe the problem actually is the alleged steering direction sensor.

Yes they had the dealer history on the car, and wanted to know why I had it instead of the owner they showed in their computer. The P/S motor had not been replaced before. It was done in the owner’s name. I’m thinking I would not want to take my own car there for service, considering that they may take a shotgun approach to fixing ANYTHING. Scary, isn’t it?

I would suspect the owner of the car has made some phone calls about the possible causes and was given some possible expensive news. Ergo, it goes up for sale.

One of my sons had a Pontiac G8 under a recall for electric steering issues. After a couple of years and no recall performed due to non-existent and backordered forever parts he traded the car in.

I could be a corroded connector, rotted wire, bad sensor, lots of possibilities.