CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2014 Chevy Sonic sedan - should I take it in for service?

Hi, long time listener, second time writer (years ago I asked for help on my old car). I’m unsure whether I should take my car in for service or not. Here is the story:

A few weeks ago the check engine light went on and my dad narrowed it down to the air intake hose which was cracked. He put some duct tape on it until we could get a replacement and the light went off.

Several days later I went through the car wash when it was 4 degrees (not sure if that had anything to do with it but it was probably a bad idea regardless). Then when I pulled into my driveway which is at the top of a large hill, the engine started shuddering. I turned it off and back on and it continued. A few hours later I turned the car on and it was fine. Then the next day it did the same thing as I was going up the hill. Those are the only 2 times that happened.

Additionally, a couple days later I drove for about 3 hours on the highway and the heater quit working. It would work for a few minutes, then I’d turn it off when it got cool, then turn it back on again and it would be warm again. (I have a turn it off and on mentality due to working with computers. :blush:) It was about 5 degrees that day too and I don’t think the air inside ever got that cold though. It still kept the windows defrosted.

Does it seem like the issues might be caused by the air hose crack? I just don’t feel like paying a bunch when we have the hose ready to replace ourselves.

Replace the hose yourself and drive the car. Likely only the shuddering is related and that may clear up completely after the hose is replaced. Try it and see.

1 Like

With the engine cold, check the coolant level. Also check the oil for signs of coolant mixing in.

3 Likes

Yes, check the coolant level with the engine cold in the radiator not the plastic recovery tank. As for the running rough, how many miles om the car and when does your owners manual say to change the spark plugs?

3 Likes

Thanks for the replies! Good things to look at. @oldtimer_11 - it has 44,000 and the manual says 156,000 for the spark plugs.

The engine stuttering right after the car wash event may have been from the car wash getting some part of the high voltage system damp. Whatever was damp may have iced up overnight, and the next day it started again ok then started stuttering when the ice melted. Concur w/advice above, replace the air boot and monitor the situation for a while. if the check engine light ever starts flashing you have to stop the engine right awayt b/c that can damage the cat. It doesn’t sound like that is happening, but just saying.

The heater behavior could be low coolant or slush forming in the cooling system due to the coolant not having enough protection for your climate. So get that checked right away. Check for Air in the cooling system too.

1 Like

Maybe just a quirk on my part, but I would never wait 156,000 to change my plugs on any vehicle.

3 Likes

I assume you are someplace where they use kilometers. Sometimes dirt and water together can create a short to ground on ignition components especially in the presence of salt.