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Why Is Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working [Possible Causes And Their Solutions]

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Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working

Remote starting your car brings a huge convenience, especially when you need to warm or cool the car before you jump in. However, it can be pretty frustrating when the car isn’t remote starting when you need it to.

But why is my chevy sonic remote start not working? It could be that your hood or doors are open, your car is not in parking, the battery voltage is low, or the service light is on. Another cause might be that there is another key in the car, you have maxed out the remote starts, or the hazards are on. 

Whatever the reason, you will need to know how to diagnose and fix the problem to enjoy the remote start convenience. So let’s roll in and keep reading till the end. 

The Possible Causes of Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working And Their Solutions

Causes of Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working

The table below highlights the possible reasons why your Chevy Sonic remote start is not working and what you can do to resolve them.

Possible CausesSolutions
Hood is openCheck and securely close the hood
Doors are openClose and lock all doors
Transmission is not in parkShift transmission into the park (P) position
The battery has low voltageCheck battery voltage and charge if necessary
The service engine light is onHave the underlying problem diagnosed and resolved
The remote key is inside the vehicleRemove the key fob from inside the vehicle
Hazard lights are onTurn off the hazard lights
Maximum remote starts reachedManually start the vehicle and drive to reset
Remote start system malfunctionDiagnose and replace faulty parts

Why Is Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working?

While car idling has been linked to climate change, a remote starter in your Chevy Sonic is quite handy. It allows you to heat up or cool down the cabin before you even step foot inside the vehicle.

Why Is Chevy Sonic Remote Start Not Working

But due to several reasons, your Sonic’s remote system goes on the fritz sometimes. Here are the causes and how you resolve them.

1. The Hood Is Open

The most basic issue that can prevent a Chevy Sonic from a remote start is the hood being ajar. Its hood has a safety pin that will prevent the car from starting remotely if it detects it is not fully latched and closed. 


Check that the hood is securely shut and fully latched before attempting to remote start the vehicle again. If it is, check to make sure the latch isn’t broken; else, you will have to get it replaced.

2. The Doors Are Open

Similarly, any open doors can interfere with a remote start. Open doors defeat the vehicle’s security, allowing unauthorized access while the car is running. The remote start system will not activate for this reason.


Ensure you fully close and lock all doors. Confirm that all door sensors read the doors as securely shut before trying another remote start.

3. The Transmission Is Not In Park

For the remote start system to activate, the transmission must be in the park (P) mode. This prevents the vehicle from moving unexpectedly while running in remote start mode. If the transmission is left in any other gear – neutral, reverse, or forward gear – the remote start will not function. 

Chevy Sonic Transmission Is Not In Park


Before attempting another remote start, ensure the vehicle is stopped and shift the transmission into the park (P) position.

4. The Battery Has a Low Voltage

The remote start system requires a minimum battery voltage to power all its electronic components and actuate the starter motor. If the car battery voltage in your Chevy Sonic drops below 11.9v, the remote start will not work reliably or at all. 

A low battery can result from leaving lights on, the age of the battery, or extremely cold temperatures. 


Check the battery voltage using a multimeter or try advanced methods for testing battery stability. While at it, ensure the terminals make enough contact with the battery. If the voltage is too low, you need to charge it. 

Also, ensure it’s not failing by looking for symptoms such as dim headlights, clicking when starting the car, and frequent jumps because it doesn’t hold a charge. 

If the battery works properly after charging, check the alternator light on the dash or listen for unusual rattles and sounds. If you get any of these, you may be facing a charging system problem. Have it checked by a technician then.

5. The Service Engine Light On

Remote start systems will not activate if the “service engine light,” “check engine,” or Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) light is illuminated on the dash. This indicator alerts the driver of an emission control system issue that could inadvertently damage vehicle components. 

Chevy Sonic Service Engine Light On


Take the Sonic to an automotive professional to have the underlying problem causing the service engine light properly diagnosed and resolved. Once the light is cleared, the remote start functionality should be restored. Ensure the gas cap is properly closed.

6. There Is A Remote Key Inside The Vehicle

For security purposes, the remote start system will also not activate if the key fob is still inside the Sonic. Leaving the key inside provides unauthorized access to the running vehicle. Hence, the remote start system won’t work. 


Remove the key fob from inside the Sonic and store it on your person. Once the key is outside the vehicle, the remote start should work normally.

7. The Hazard Lights Are On

Chevy Sonic remote start system will not activate if the vehicle’s hazard lights are already on. This is to prevent a safety concern of the hazards flashing while the Sonic is running without a driver inside. The hazard lights must be turned off for the remote start system to engage. 

Chevy Sonic Hazard Lights Are On


Turn off the hazard lights using the switch on the dash or door, then attempt the remote start again. Once the hazards are off, the remote starter should work as intended.

8. Maximum Remote Starts Reached

Remote start systems have a limit to the number of consecutive starts that are allowed for safety, security, and emission control purposes. Chevy Sonic allows you two starts per ignition cycle or a single start with an extension. 

Once this limit has been reached, the remote start will not function again until the Sonic has been started normally using the ignition key and driven to clear temporarily stored logs. 


Manually start the vehicle using the ignition key and go for a short drive. This will reset the remote start system and allow the full complement of remote starts again during the next ignition cycle.

9. Remote Start System Malfunction

If the remote start system has experienced a fault or malfunction, it will not function properly and may not activate. This could be due to 

  • A loose wiring connection
  • Faulty starter relay
  • Defective remote transmitters or receiver module, or another component issue. 
Chevy Sonic Remote Start System Malfunction


Try unlocking the car remotely. If it unlocks and you’ve ruled out all the above possible causes, check the unlock button for lost connection. 

If the problem persists, the likely faulty part will need to be diagnosed and replaced. Take it to an automotive technician who can properly diagnose the remote start system.

If you’re facing issues with the remote start functionality in your Chevy Sonic, you may also find our article on Cadillac Escalade remote start not working helpful. This article explores common problems and potential solutions for remote start issues in Cadillac Escalade vehicles. Additionally, if you own a Chevy HHR and are experiencing remote start problems, you can refer to our article on Chevy HHR remote start not working.


Here are some top searched questions related to this topic that you might be interested in:

Q: How Much Does It Cost To Get A Check Engine Light Diagnostic?

A check engine light diagnostic can cost between $80 to $150, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The price includes a diagnosis of the fault code and an explanation of necessary repairs.

Q: How Do I Reactivate My Remote Start?

To reactivate a remote start system, first, ensure the vehicle ignition is switched to the “accessory” position. Then, press and hold the lock button on the remote start fob for 3 to 5 seconds until the horn honks and the dash lights flash, confirming the remote start system has been reactivated.


Why is the chevy sonic remote start not working? Chevy Sonic’s remote start offers the great convenience of pre-warming/cooling the cabin without starting the car physically. 

Sometimes, it cannot work as expected for a few possible reasons ranging from hood open, battery low voltage, service engine light on, remote inside the car, hazard lights on, or maximum remote starts reached, and most commonly, malfunction of the starter system. Diagnosing and addressing these issues accordingly is the key to bringing convenience back.

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