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Hello, I've been having problems starting my manual 2009 Chevy Cobalt LS XFE (~26,000 miles). It intermittently won't start after being off for a while (usually on cold days). After about 5 - 10 minutes it magically starts on the first try again like nothing was wrong. Last week it happened 5 out of 6 times I tried to use the car in a three day period, but as soon as I took it to the dealership it stopped happening, of course.

I was told by the dealership that it won't be covered anymore once my warranty expires in a month, as they can't replicate it. Needless to say I'm not happy at all and need this fixed. I can't have a car that's unreliable and it's already made me late for work twice in a week.

Here's a video showing it happening:

If anyone knows what is going on and how I can prove it and get it covered by my warranty, please let me know!
 

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It almost looks like the clutch switch is bad or intermittent. Make sure your mat wasn't bunched up under clutch pedal.
 

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It almost looks like the clutch switch is bad or intermittent. Make sure your mat wasn't bunched up under clutch pedal.
I'm fairly sure the clutch has been down all the way every time and the mat has never shifted out of place on me, but I'll make absolutely sure next time it happens. I'll add the clutch switch to the list of things to bring up as possibilities to the dealership.

Any other ideas out there?
 

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With your car in neutral try turning the key without depressing the clutch to see if symtoms are exactly alike. This will get you closer to a possible bad clutch switch. If symptoms are different then you have to look for something else.
 

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Ninjachicken,
Please let me know when you're going to visit the dealership again, if you like. I am happy to follow up with them. Shoot me a private message with the name of your dealership, as well as your information.

Sarah
GM Customer Service
 

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With your car in neutral try turning the key without depressing the clutch to see if symtoms are exactly alike. This will get you closer to a possible bad clutch switch. If symptoms are different then you have to look for something else.
The car is still at the dealership until I get a chance to pick it up, so I'll give that a try this weekend. Thanks for the ideas.

Ninjachicken,
Please let me know when you're going to visit the dealership again, if you like. I am happy to follow up with them. Shoot me a private message with the name of your dealership, as well as your information.

Sarah
GM Customer Service
Thank you, I'll be messaging you shortly.

---------- Post added at 07:15 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:06 AM ----------

Ninjachicken,
Please let me know when you're going to visit the dealership again, if you like. I am happy to follow up with them. Shoot me a private message with the name of your dealership, as well as your information.

Sarah
GM Customer Service
Unfortunately the forum won't let me send you a private message until I have 10 posts. Is there a way I can email you the information?
 

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Same problem a while ago.
It's the ignition switch.
You can try cleaning it with some electrical cleaner and then blowing air in it with a compressor so there would be no damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Same problem a while ago.
It's the ignition switch.
You can try cleaning it with some electrical cleaner and then blowing air in it with a compressor so there would be no damage.
Yours had the exact same symptoms, including miraculously starting like normal 5 - 15 minutes later?
 

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Both the clutch switch and the ignition are good leads.

I've had the ignition problem and I don't think it prevented me from starting the car but rather wouldn't allow me to turn the key or take the key out of the ignition. Your video shows that the ignition switch is sending power, at least to the instrument panel...my guess is other things like the radio work as well??

I had a Nissan Pickup w/manual transmission and the clutch switch went on it twice. I think in both instances the problem presented intermittently, (e.g. sometimes the truck would start and sometimes not) and after a time, in both instances it stopped starting altogether. I remember when it happened the second time I was at a gas station and I got stuck at the pump and had to have the truck towed to the dealer.

The symptoms you describe may be more related to this clutch swith issue..but it's just a guess.

The clutch switch repair cost was about $100 or so for the Nissan...my guess is it won't be that much for the Cobalt.

Let us know what it was.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Both the clutch switch and the ignition are good leads.

I've had the ignition problem and I don't think it prevented me from starting the car but rather wouldn't allow me to turn the key or take the key out of the ignition. Your video shows that the ignition switch is sending power, at least to the instrument panel...my guess is other things like the radio work as well??

I had a Nissan Pickup w/manual transmission and the clutch switch went on it twice. I think in both instances the problem presented intermittently, (e.g. sometimes the truck would start and sometimes not) and after a time, in both instances it stopped starting altogether. I remember when it happened the second time I was at a gas station and I got stuck at the pump and had to have the truck towed to the dealer.

The symptoms you describe may be more related to this clutch swith issue..but it's just a guess.

The clutch switch repair cost was about $100 or so for the Nissan...my guess is it won't be that much for the Cobalt.

Let us know what it was.
Already been there and done that! It sure was freaky not being able to take the key out of the ignition, but luckily it happened just before the dealership closed and luckily it's stick so I was able to stall it out easily to turn it off until they could fix it the next day. I've had a number of problems with this Cobalt already.

If this gets figured out I plan to let everyone know what it was. I'm not holding my breath though, as it seems the dealership isn't willing to do any work until they get it to happen on their watch, which probably means they'll do nothing at all :roll:
 

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Well it could also be, I do believe there's a starter relay but I'm not positive yet . Installing shop manual on my computer now.
 

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Any one have any thoughts on this post I came across about common problems with Cobalts and Ions (and maybe the Pontiac G5 as well?) in another forum while Googling my car's symptoms?

Eaton Inside
Q: My car won't start (sometimes on cold days), but if I wait 15 minutes it starts up just fine.

A: This is caused by the ignition electrical switch going bad. It has tiny resistors in it that the car uses for the anti-theft system. If the resistors get too cold or break, the car thinks it's been stolen, and you can't start it. The actual switch is about $40 from the dealer. The ignition switch is a black plastic unit that bolts to the left side of the ignition cylinder case. It's got some wires plugged into it, and it's pretty easy to get to and replace. However, you can't just swap it out, due to the VATS system. If you replace the ignition switch you have to go through the PassLock re-learn process, which takes about 30 minutes.
 

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Hey man....I'm curious about how you're doing with the starting problem. Any new developments?
 

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Hey man....I'm curious about how you're doing with the starting problem. Any new developments?
They couldn't replicate it and I needed my car back, so I picked it up today. I'm not happy at all. I doubt they really did much of anything to try and figure it out. They didn't even try to start it this morning on the coldest day of the week. If this becomes a worse problem and they won't cover it with the warranty after it expires in a month, I'll never buy a GM car again.
 

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so you have what sounds like an ignition or clutch pedal switch issue (a relatively inexpensive fix) and seeing as GM wont cover it cuz they cant prove its bad, your never going to buy GM again........

that makes absolutely no sense. you can have tiny problems like that with any car
 

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They couldn't replicate it and I needed my car back, so I picked it up today. I'm not happy at all. I doubt they really did much of anything to try and figure it out. They didn't even try to start it this morning on the coldest day of the week. If this becomes a worse problem and they won't cover it with the warranty after it expires in a month, I'll never buy a GM car again.
bummer ... maybe take it to another dealer? The guys at the dealership I go to treat me like I'm the mayor ... no kidding... if it's a relatively common problem and you have the video ..that shouldn't be a hard fix.

Good luck with it ...
 

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so you have what sounds like an ignition or clutch pedal switch issue (a relatively inexpensive fix) and seeing as GM wont cover it cuz they cant prove its bad, your never going to buy GM again........

that makes absolutely no sense. you can have tiny problems like that with any car
It's the fact they didn't even try it this morning, which was after the coldest night of the week. If they can't be bothered to take my problem seriously and won't even cover the problem in the future after my warranty when I have it documented with a video, forget them. Good customer service means a lot to me, and after this I don't feel like GM wants me as a customer enough to make a real effort.

bummer ... maybe take it to another dealer? The guys at the dealership I go to treat me like I'm the mayor ... no kidding... if it's a relatively common problem and you have the video ..that shouldn't be a hard fix.

Good luck with it ...
I guess I'll have to. I'm sure it'll act up again before the warranty is up.
 
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