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I have searched first forum and found quite a few issues describing similar malfunctions, but this seems somewhat unique. All the other similar posts I've found related to electrical power dropping and the car shutting off while driving. Mine is not quite like that.

I apologize for the length of this post in advance, but I'm copying and pasting an email I sent to a GM representative that I wrote earlier today.

TL;DR: 2010 Cobalt is having intermittent issues starting. No rhyme or reason for what's causing it, or fixing it. Dealer has already diagnosed it once (found nothing), and now want me to pay for a new diagnosis each time this happens. The full details of exactly what it's doing are included below.

As mentioned, car is a 2010 Cobalt LT with 52,500 miles on it. It's out of dealer warranty (although according to my math, the first time this happened it was under 50,000), but I bought an extended 100,000 mile warranty through a third party company when I bought the car. I'm more than willing to pay the $100 deductible on the extended warranty if they can identify the issue, but as of yet they haven't.

Thank you for anyone who can provide any advice on this issue.

The specific issue I am having with my 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt is the vehicle not starting and having a total loss of electrical power to nearly all systems. I first experienced this issue on November 26th, 2012. I was leaving work for the day and my car had been sitting outside for about 9 hours. The day was not particularly cold, the maximum temperature was about +20*F. I was walking out to my vehicle and attempted to use my factory installed remote starter. I pressed my lock button and saw the vehicle lights flash, which is normal behavior. I then pressed and held my remote starter button on my factory keyfob and the vehicle did not respond. Initially I thought I may have been too far away, so I continued walking towards my vehicle and tried again. This time, no lights flashed when pressing the lock button and the vehicle was unresponsive to all input from the keyfob. I arrived at the vehicle and opened the door with the key manually. This would normally cause the alarm to sound if the vehicle was locked, which it did not. I opened the door and noticed that the Driver Information Center (DIC) did not light up with my mileage when the door was ajar, and the dome light did not illuminate. I placed the key in the ignition and attempted to start the car, nothing happened. I did not see any lights on my dash panel such as check engine, low battery, or otherwise. There was no power whatsoever to any systems in the vehicle. The key became stuck in the ignition and would not move to the OFF position to be removed. I called my preferred dealership, and explained my issues. They offered suggestions, but nothing was able to get the car working. While speaking to my father on the phone he had reached the same conclusion as myself which was that the battery had depleted due to the cold weather. At this point, my father asked if my headlights worked, which I had not checked. When I flicked the headlight switch from AUTO to the ON position, all power to my dash was restored and my power locks unlocked all doors, the vehicle started without issues. I drove it to the dealership and explained the issues. They looked at it for a few minutes and repeatedly started and stopped the engine, but could not reproduce the issue. They offered to do a diagnosis on it but said it would cost $130, and they may not find anything. Unsatisfied with this option, I left. No paperwork was generated at this visit. In this instance, my vehicle was non-functioning about 35 miles from my home, and my preferred dealer. I was quite literally stuck on a very cold night very far from home.

I continued to use my vehicle as normal from then on, with no issues. I use the remote starter nearly every day due to the inclement weather in Minnesota this time of year.

On Tuesday, January 14th, 2013 the issue arose again. I remotely started my vehicle at my home, and drove it about 3 miles to a store to get some items on my way to work. The vehicle had been sitting since Sunday evening and was not driven all day Monday. It sat without being started for approximately 36 hours. It started remotely with my factory keyfob at my home and I drove to the store. I went inside to get my items and returned to my vehicle approximately 5 minutes later. I again pressed my lock button and saw my lights flash. I pressed the remote start button and the vehicle did not start. When I arrived at the vehicle, I had the same symptoms described above. I had to manually open the door with the key, and the alarm did not go off. Once inside the vehicle, I had no power to any of my systems, and the key became stuck in the ignition. I called my preferred dealer and they provided me with the number for GM Roadside Assistance. I initiated a request with GM Roadside and a tow truck was dispatched to bring my vehicle to the dealership, which was about 5 miles away. I was given an approximate arrival time of 90 minutes for the tow truck. He arrived over 90 minutes late (three hour total wait) and told me he was unable to tow my vehicle due to there being too many other cars surrounding it. He insisted that we connect jumper cables as he thought the battery was dead, which I did not feel it was due to the headlights working. The headlights did work, but did not cause the car to turn on again, as they had on November 26th. Jumper cables were connected to my vehicle in terminals under the hood (not directly to the battery in the trunk) for approximately 1 minute and the car started. I was repeatedly turning the key and turning the headlights on and off, so I am unsure if the headlights were again the reason the car started working. When the electrical system was restored, all lights appeared on the dash and all doors unlocked. The jumper cables were removed immediately and I tried starting the car again with the key several times, which was successful each time. Due to the very short amount of time that the vehicle was connected to jumper cables, I do not believe the battery was low in this instance. I drove the vehicle to my preferred dealer and they performed a test on the battery, which came back saying the battery was OK. The service technician started and stopped the engine multiple times, as he had before and again told me it would cost $130 to diagnose the issue. This time, I left the vehicle at the dealership and paperwork was generated for the diagnosis. I received a phone call about two hours later from the service technician telling me they could not reproduce the issue and were stopping work on the vehicle. He did offer to charge only half price for the diagnosis, which I appreciated, but was still very upset that I paid $65 for them to tell me they could not identify or fix the issue. I picked up my vehicle later that evening and ensured that the remote starter worked before leaving, which it did. The weather conditions on this day were colder, with air temperatures at approximately +8*F

I continued to use my vehicle as normal, with no issues. As stated, I use the remote starter daily, and paid extra for it on my vehicle.

On Monday, January 21st, 2013 the issue arose a third time. I was leaving work after my vehicle has sat outside in the elements for approximately 9 hours. The air temperature on this day was very cold, at -15*F. Exact same situation as the previous two instances; I was walking to my vehicle and pressed the lock and remote start buttons. Lights flashed when I locked the vehicle, but was unresponsive to the start button. The vehicle was completely dead, again. This time, I called my father who arrived with jumper cables due to the very cold weather. Jumper cables were applied to the front posts under the hood, but no change was observed in the state of the vehicle. I repeatedly tried the headlights and turning the key for approximately 20 minutes with no success. Jumper cables were moved to the trunk and connected directly to the battery, with no success. While sitting in my vehicle, I struck the dash out of pure frustration with this now seemingly chronic issue, and several lights on the dash lit up very briefly. I distinctly saw the blue illumination of the high beam indicator, and the amber illumination of the check engine indicator. I struck the dash again, in the center above the air vents and the vehicle alarm sounded, replete with hazard lights, indicated on the dash. I inserted the key and started the vehicle, which started just fine. I shut it off and started it again, and it was OK. I drove my vehicle to the dealership (approximately 30 miles) and again explained the issues. They started and stopped the vehicle several times as they have before and for a third time told me that I had to pay $130 for them to diagnose the issue, with no guarantee they would find the cause. I left without any paperwork being generated.

I continued to use my vehicle as normal, with no issues.

On Saturday, January 26th, 2013 I experienced this issue a fourth time. I remotely started my vehicle and drove it about 25 miles to the Mall of America. I parked the vehicle in an open air outdoor parking ramp for about 6 hours. I returned to the vehicle once to place items in the trunk and used the factory keyfob to remotely open the trunk, and relock the vehicle, but it was never started. When I arrived back at my vehicle after about 6 hours and I again pressed lock, which caused the lights to flash, and pressed the remote start button. This time, I saw the lights come on, and heard the starter begin to turn over the engine, but it never started. The power was apparently cut before the motor started, and the car was again completely dead. The weather on this day was approximately +13*F, and I was again stuck with no way to get home. In this instance I was also with my girlfriend so we were both stranded 25 miles from home. I called a friend to bring my spare key and keyfob for my vehicle, as well as tools for removing the battery. When he arrived, the second key and keyfob did not work at all on the vehicle to unlock or start it. I tried many times to replicate the methods that caused the vehicle to start in the past, which included turning on the headlights and striking the dash, with no success. I then connected jumper cables directly to the battery in the trunk of the vehicle. After several minutes, again some combination of turning the key, turning on the headlights and striking the dash caused the doors to unlock and full power to be restored to the vehicle. I disconnected jumper cables and shut the key off, and restarted the vehicle several times with the key, which were successful. I drove the vehicle home and parked it for the night, at this point feeling helpless and extremely vulnerable driving a car that could leave me stranded at any time.

On Sunday, January 27th, I removed the battery from the trunk of the car after it sat for about 20 hours overnight. I never unlocked the car or used the keyfob, and the factory alarm did sound when I opened the trunk with the key. I silenced the alarm and disconnected the battery, so that it could be tested without being driven. I took the battery to a local auto parts store that performed a battery check, and stated that it was OK and healthy, the same results that I was told on January 14th at my preferred dealership. I went home and used a battery post cleaner on my battery before reinstalling it. After it was installed, I started the car with the key with no issues. I shut the car off and simulated the steps I would take when I was leaving my vehicle. I opened and closed the door (to turn off the radio), and pressed lock once on my factory keyfob. This caused the amber alarm indicator to come on and stay on (waiting for the vehicle to be armed). I waited until it started blinking (vehicle alarm was armed) and pressed the lock button again to initiate a remote start. I then pressed and held the remote start button while still inside the vehicle. I saw the check engine light come on and heard the fuel system charge. I then heard the starter motor engage very briefly before all power was lost. It sounded as if the starter motor shut off as soon as it made contact and met resistance with another gear. I placed the key in the ignition and turned the key to the RUN position, which did nothing. I flicked the headlights on manually, and all power was restored. At this point, I was convinced there was a problem with the anti-theft system, or the remote starter system, so I stopped using the remote starter completely and only started the vehicle with the key. The only use of the keyfob was to lock and unlock the vehicle, or open the trunk.

On Monday, January 28th, I drove the vehicle to work and parked it all day while I was there. I then started the vehicle with the key with no issues and drove it to the dealership (~30 miles away). I explained all of the events listed in this email a fourth time, and was again told that a diagnosis fee of $130 would be required, with no guarantee of the issue being found or resolved. While I was explaining the issues, the dealer service representative repeatedly started the vehicle with the remote starter and the key in the ignition with no issues. I also spoke to one of the mechanics at the dealership and answered some of his questions regarding the issues. He stated that it sounded like an issue with the Body Control Module (BCM). I asked if this was a part that could be removed and tested, and he stated that it was not, it’s a part that either works or doesn’t work. I found this strange as the vehicle clearly works sometimes and not other times. They again said I could leave the vehicle there for them to look at, but it would cost $130. I left with no paperwork being generated.

I continued to use my vehicle this week and had no issues while starting the vehicle with the key only.

Yesterday, January 30th, 2013 I was at work and my vehicle sat outside for approximately 5 hours. The temperatures were approximately +2*F. I then moved the vehicle into an indoor heated garage which has an air temperature of approximately +50*F. At 11:00pm when I was done with work I went to the garage and started the car without issue. I stopped at a store to get some items and the vehicle was parked outside in +2*F temperatures for approximately 10 minutes. When I returned to my vehicle, I unlocked the doors with the keyfob and inserted the key to the ignition. I turned the key and saw the back lighting on the factory radio illuminate. However, there was no power to the dash or any other systems. After several seconds, the backlight on the radio shut off and the only system that worked as the headlights. At this point, I was again extremely frustrated, very cold, and very worried about being stranded 35 miles from home on a very cold night when all dealerships are closed and I had no one available to pick me up or jump start my vehicle. I again struck the dash out of frustration and saw the blue high beam indicator and amber check engine light illuminate very briefly. I struck the dash several times with the same result. On the fifth or sixth strike, the power was restored and the vehicle started. The same symptoms as before were present, with the doors unlocking and all power being restored. Additionally, in this instance when the vehicle did start, the Driver Information Center (DIC) briefly showed -40*F for the air temperature for several seconds before returning to the actual temperature of +2*F. I drove the vehicle about three blocks to a gas station to fill up my fuel tank. When I was done fueling, I put the key in the ignition and turned it on. As I was turning it, I heard all the doors unlock, very similarly to the way they do when the vehicle restores power after being dead. I drove the vehicle home and parked it for the night.

After I arrived home I began searching on the internet for these symptoms and found no relevant information. I then initiated contact with your team via the Chevrolet.com website in hopes of resolving this issue. I understand that this is a complicated and likely rare situation with an otherwise great vehicle. This is the second Chevy Cobalt that I have owned and I have always been 110% satisfied with the vehicle, its performance, and the service I have received from the network of Chevrolet dealerships I have had it serviced at. While I understand that you cannot be held responsible for losses and missed work as a result of my vehicle malfunctions, I hope you can at least understand my frustration and fear of being stuck in extremely harsh and very cold winter weather here in Minnesota. I take pride in my vehicle and am not asking for anything other than a resolution of this issue and the peace of mind and safety I have come to expect from my Chevy vehicles.

I have begun using my cell phone to record video of each time I start the vehicle, but as of yet have not been able to capture a failure on video. I understand this may not help solve the issue, but I feel as if the dealership does not believe me when I explain the symptoms to them. If this is helpful, please let me know and I can continue to try and capture these events on video and share them if necessary.
Thanks again for the help on this.
 

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Have you tried loosening and cleaning the boost post on the underhood fuseblock. Or at least making sure it was tight. You do have all the symptoms of a loose boost post.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply.

I didn't know the post was removable or could come loose. What would cause it to become loose? What tools are needed to tighten it or remove it?

When it warms up, I will check this out. Currently it's -4F with windchills approaching -30.

Is there a video or guide for this anywhere? How would this effect the starting of the car?

Thanks again.
 

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I'm not saying this is your problem but it was mine. My car stayed parked after a mishap in January 2011 for about 5 months. My post was not loose but wasn't tight either. My problem I beleive was corrossion on under the post and in between the two eyelets lugs that you can see in this picture. When undoing the post make sure you disconnect battery in trunk first because there is no fuse between the two. You will need a 10mm socket or wrench for the boost post. Clean any oxidization from stud, both eyelets and bottom of boost post. Any green stuff shouldn't be there. You can add dielectric grease to prevent road grime and moisture from getting to it. Re-assemble and tighten snug. The wire with the red insulator goes diectly to the starter.


 

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Just to be clear, the post itself is an 11mm hex? I unscrew it from a bolt, and it is what holds those eyelets down?

I haven't checked it yet. Car started fine remotely today. Drove it about 5-10 miles up to Target, when I came outside again, tried to remotely start it and it failed. Got in, put the key to the run position and struck the dash, which caused it to power up after a few hits. Used key to start it for the rest of the day.

Not sure what sort of wiring is under the dash in the middle above/near the radio, but that seems to be the issue.
 

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The RCDLR sits there but don't know if it would stop the car from starting.
 

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The RCDLR sits there but don't know if it would stop the car from starting.
Thanks again Coby for the help. I threw a some 10mm (and 13mm) wrenches in my car to disconnect (and remove, with the 13mm) the battery and/or tighten that post. I haven't touched it yet because it's been quite cold. It's supposed to get above freezing on Thursday, my next day off!

As I mentioned in my first post, I emailed Chevrolet from their website on Thursday night after the car failed to start with the key on Wednesday and left me stranded after work at 11pm 35 miles from home.

Yesterday (Saturday) I was leaving Target and tried to remotely start it, after it remotely started three times that day, and it died. A few sharp smacks to the dash and it fired up. Same as before, the high beam indicator and the check engine light flashed as I hit it, after a few hits it turned on.

I played phone tag with a customer service rep from GM on Friday and Saturday, but did finally speak to the woman and she told me she is forwarding my claim to someone else. I think she said she was forwarding it to a district manager, but I'm not 100% sure. At any rate, she said that person will be reaching out to me on Monday or Tuesday after they review my file, which includes the quite long description of the issues above.

Thanks again for the support, I really do appreciate it. I will surely keep this thread updated with whatever I find out.
 

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Minor update on this...

Finally spoke to a District Specialist today (was supposed to on Monday/Tuesday), and he explained that he is trying to get in contact with the service manager at the dealership to discuss the issue, and find a resolution.

He also said that a Field Specialist or even some engineers may need to get involved to solve or fix the issue.

The rep I spoke with today is going to update me once he speaks with the service manager at the dealership.

More to come...
 

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Has your problem come back?
 

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Has your problem come back?
Thanks for the reply, Coby.

The issue never actually went away. It's very random in nature and happens without any real warning. Sometimes it starts fine with the remote, sometimes it doesn't.

I've resorted to not using the remote starter as that is what has caused the failure 6 of the 7 times. The 7th time I inserted the key to the ignition and when I turned it, the same type of failure occurred.

Hoping they can pinpoint the problem and get me back to 100%.
 

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Hey all, hope it's OK to bump an old thread, I thought it might be better than making a new thread for a same/similar issue with the same vehicle.

It's been a few months, and I'm still having remote start issues. I had many phone calls with GM Customer Service and the dealership, but it's still ongoing.

The fill in the details since the last post, the remote starter was continually causing the vehicle electrincal system to fail and the car became nonfunctional. In March, the alarm started going off for no reason. I had my car parked in a locked underground garage at work and when I got back to it, the horn sounded upon unlocking like it does when the car has been tampered with, but no one else had access to the garage.

I also had alarm tamper signal several other times when the vehicle was parked at my apartment overnight. Additionally, the alarm did sound when I was at home and heard it go off. When I looked outside, there was no one anywhere near the vehicle and no apparent reason for the alarm to have gone off. It did this one other night last summer, for one night, and never happened again. I ended up not setting the alarm, because I didn't want to annoy my neighbors with it going off all the time.

When the alarm was not set, I used the remote started by pressing LOCK once (which activates the alarm arming sequence), and remotely starting the vehicle with no issues. Due to the apparent alarm issues, I immediately unlocked the doors after remotely starting the car to prevent the alarm from going off and causing the electrical system to fail.

I planned to resume normal use of the alarm and remote starter during my two week vacation from work, in hopes I could reproduce the error for the dealership in a time that was convenient for me (on vacation, not needing my car for work), but this plan did not work out in my favor. The alarm did not malfunction, and the car started fine with the alarm armed or not, every time.

Today, a new issue arose. I was leaving work and walking to my car and tried to remote start it. The alarm was not set (I haven't been setting the alarm away from home so I don't get stranded, if it causes the issues explained in the OP). I locked the doors, saw the lights flash, and pressed the remote start button. The lights came on momentarily, and immediately shut off. I was very upset and assumed the electrical system had died. However, when I tried to remote again, the doors unlocked and relocked, as normal. I tried the remote start again, with the same result. I got in the car, it started fine, and I drove it home. The vehicle was acting as if I had already used two remote start cycles and was trying to start it again. I decided to drive home so I wasn't stuck at work (35 miles away from home) at 11pm.

When I got home, I shut the car off, opened and closed the door, and pressed the LOCK button on the fob. The security indicator on the dash was flashing very rapidly, when it should normally have been illuminated for 30 seconds before the system arms. I tried to start the vehicle with the remote and the lights only flashed. I unlocked, and relocked the car, with the same result. I verified that the key was able to start the car, grabbed my manual and came inside.

According to the manual, the security light flashing twice every second indicates that a door is open. I went back downstairs and opened and closed all the doors, but got the same result.

Locking the door with the remote causes the security light to flash rapidly for 30 seconds, at which point it goes to blinking every three seconds, indicating that the system is armed. Even after it is armed, the remote start does not work, the lights only flash.

I am bringing the car to the dealership tomorrow, but wanted to see if anyone else had ideas in the meantime.

Thanks!
 

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When you lock the doors with the FOB, did you manually check if all the doors were actually locked? You might have a bad door lock actuator. Car will not start if all doors aren't locked.
 

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Thanks Coby. I'll take a look to see if all the door locks are going down. I find it odd that this would prevent the car from starting, because I've remote started it with the doors open before. Just seems strange.

I've also not opened the hood in months, but I'll open and close that too, as the manual states it won't start if the hood is open.

---------- Post added at 12:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:09 PM ----------

I checked all the doors, opened and closed several times, manually locked them as well as the fob, opened and closed the trunk and hood, and it's still doing the same thing.

This seems to tell me that there is a fault somewhere in the anti-theft system, or the remote start system. Hopefully one or both is the root of the other problems I have been having.

Heading to the dealership shortly...
 

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You might have a pending code, this will also stop the car from starting remotely.
 

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Thanks Coby, I read that too. I'm not sure how a code would get stuck, it hasn't failed to start for quite a while. I'll post my findings from the dealership when I get home.

---------- Post added at 01:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:14 PM ----------

The dealer near my house closed at noon today, and isn't open until Monday. My next day off that they're open is Thursday. I did find out, though, that my extended service plan does cover a rental car, as long as the repair is covered by the warranty, and it covers up to 7 days, and an additional three days if time is needed for parts procurement. So, I guess I'll have to wait until Thursday and take it in.

Additionally, I did double check the timing on the alarm arming sequence, and it is actually flashing for 60 seconds before arming, not 30. According to the manual, the system will arm after 60 seconds if a door is open, which is indicated by the security light flashing twice per second.

I find it odd that a sensor for a door could be broken or malfunctioning, because it doesn't say DOOR AJAR on my DIC when the car is running. I tested this by opening and closing all the doors with the key in and the engine on, and it correctly registered each door being opened and closed.

I'm getting fed up with this, and just want it fixed! Thanks again Coby for all your advice. I'll keep this thread updated with my findings.
 

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There's a sensor for door ajar alright, but there is also a sensor for door locks which is different. These are sent via gmlan to "BCM". With the TechII's door test menu they will be able to see which door is malfunctioning. They will need to replace the whole actuator because it is an assembly.
 

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Hello

Heading to the dealership shortly...
Please let me know by how everything goes at the dealer! Private message me if you need any assistance. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Jackie
GM Customer Care:)
 

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Update on my issues!

I took the car in to Rosedale Chevrolet (where I bought it), and they took a look at it. I was there for about 90 minutes waiting to hear if it would be a quick fix, or something longer.

The service adviser came back and told me there were 7 codes in the computer for various things, a few of which were a hood ajar code, and a short in the ignition. Both of which would cause issues with the alarm and/or starter. They got me hooked up with a rental care and they are going to let me know when they know more.

I'm finally starting to feel like this is getting somewhere... Thanks again to Coby for your continued support and advice on this, I'll surely update this thread with what I find out.
 

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I got the car back today from the dealership. The mechanic wrote the following on the invoice:

check for codes found 7 codes b3006 hood ajr short to ground b3935 transponder authentication error b3055 b1370 ignition circuit short b0081 check all wires for the codes found the hood latch and connector found lot of corrosion in the connector and the hood latch that why the car will not start and it was feeding back to all the module install new hood latch and new connector clear all codes test drive recheck for codes found no codes at this time and test the autostart that is working now done
It was annoyingly poorly written, but the idea is there. The service rep said that they replaced the part, which was causing mutliple error codes and bad signals to the BCM.

He did say that he was concerned with the symptoms I mentioned above with the car completely shutting down when trying to use the starter, and didn't know if this particular issue could have caused that or not.

I will try to be optimistic with this, assume it is fixed, and resume normal use of my alarm and remote starter. I'll update this thread with any more info I find.
 
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