2019 Chevrolet Spark Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Airbag, engine and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2019 Chevy Spark might be a little car, but it is designed to make a big first impression. In fact, the automaker claims that this model is the “center of attention.” While owners tend to agree that the Spark draws a lot of attention, it’s not for any good reasons. Instead, the defective air bags, failing engine and faulty electrical system are causing a lot of commotion.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 Chevrolet Spark

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control:accelerator Pedal
Power Train
Electrical System

Problems with the Air Bags

Air bags have been required in vehicles for many years now. It’s safe to assume that the system should have been perfected after all of this time, but the Spark proves otherwise.

Read this NHTSA complaint. “The vehicle was in motion in a school zone of 35 mph on a street. I had a front end impact, which it rear-ended the car in front of it and the airbags deployed. The airbag by the feet, deployed a piece of metal or plastic and blew through the calf down to the bone. The wound was 4-5 inches in length and required 13 stitches. There was barely any damage to the car and there should not have been a hole blown through the leg. I think the airbags need to be recalled as they are dangerous and can cause serious injury.”

It turns out that Chevy is fully aware of air bag concerns. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V774000 states that the air bags in some vehicles may not deploy at all because the Sensing Diagnostic Module was turned off during manufacturing and never reactivated. Whether the air bags fail to deploy or they rip apart the leg of a driver, this Spark is sure to get plenty of attention as promised.

Problems with the Electrical System

Even in a small car, such as the Spark, there is plenty of equipment running on the electrical system. When something begins to malfunction, it is felt.

That’s what is illustrated with this Edmunds review. “I have tried really hard to ‘love’ this car, but I just cannot. I’ve had numerous issues with the car since driving off the lot (literally). On my way home from the dealership, my airbag and seatbelt lights kept going on and off while driving down the highway. Took the car into service and found they had to replace the seatbelt buckle and airbag control module for the driver’s seat. Not even a week later, the radio would stay on with the car turned off and the driver’s door opened. In the process of figuring this out, the dealership scratched my dashboard upon removal of the radio. Found that there was an update to OnStar which had caused the issues with the radio. I have squeaking coming from the front suspension when hitting bumps, that is heard with the windows down. The dealership says they aren’t sure where it’s coming from, and it would take them too long to trace the noise down, so they sent me out the door with 2 free oil changes. Not a fix for a brand new car! I’ve also got a terribly loud whine somewhere within the powertrain, and I was verbally told it was the transmission and that they all do it, yet on my paperwork the dealership noted that it was alternator noise under high load. Regardless, it’s unacceptable for a brand new car to have these issues!”

While there are nearly 20 service bulletins related to the electrical system, most of them are discussing what constitutes a warranty claim and what doesn’t. There’s very little valuable information shared between Chevy and the dealerships. Instead, the automaker would want people to believe that everything is running as it should, despite what actual owners are claiming. There have got to be better ways of getting attention than sitting behind the wheel of this defective lemon. Maybe owners should consider changing their hair color instead.

Problems with the Engine

Finally, a look at the engine reveals a lot of what has already been shown – this Spark is poorly made and doesn’t provide reliable transportation.

Look at this Edmunds review. “The CVT engine is a nightmare and I won’t buy another car with it! The engine stalls for a few seconds if you don’t come to a complete stop. So if you’re turning in a parking lot and have to wait for cars to pass before you can go, you need to come to a complete stop before trying to cross in front of traffic or the car will stall for a few seconds and you may almost end up getting hit because of it. You can’t slow down and then go again, the CVT engine just doesn’t switch from slowing down to accelerating again very quickly. Also, if you have sharp turns that you have to really slow down for the car ends up being very jerky in the turn because again it doesn’t switch from slowing down to accelerating very well.”

In this case, Chevrolet did issue one important engine-related communication. Service bulletin #19NA044 states that the Spark can release black smoke, struggle with a rough idle and have some misfires with a cold start. Apparently, the Spark only runs the way it should after it has warmed up, which seems perfectly logical to Chevy. Maybe that’s why they named it the Spark – because fire needs to be lit in order to make it run.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Chevrolet pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryAir Bags
DateNov 04, 2021
Collision to the front of car. It bent the frame but airbags still did not deploy.
CategoryVehicle Speed Control:accelerator Pedal
DateOct 20, 2021
The contact owns a 2019 chevrolet spark. The contact stated while depressing the accelerator pedal from a complete stop, the pedal was stuck to the floorboard causing the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably. There was no warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer but was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was informed of the failure and advised the contact to take the vehicle to an authorized dealer. The failure mileage was approximately 15,000. The vin was unavailable.
CategoryAir Bags, Power Train
DateMar 06, 2021
Airbag code (95) the car just got out of the shop from a faulty transmission and a warped piston(#3) I had it back for two weeks and now the airbag code comes on. I drove about five minutes and then park the car down to one the code came on. I cleared it shut the car off them started it came back
CategoryElectrical System
DateSep 04, 2020
The alarm goes off for no reason when parked and no one around.
CategoryService Brakes
DateMay 26, 2020
I bought this car a few ago with zero miles and brand new. 4 months after I bought the car I started to experience problems with the brakes. Very loud noise when I brake and it feels as if the car is not going to stop. I have taken the car 3 times to the dealer and after I drive it for 2 to 3 months, the problem starts again. I only driven this car 15000 miles so as you can see is not like I drive it a lot. I am very concerned for my safety and the dealer doesn't seem to care about my safety. My partner who happens to be a us retired marine doesn't even want to get in the car of fear of having a deadly accident. I ask for your help please. The dealer is: bomin automotive cc llc- homestead 1075 se 6 ave, homestead, fl 33034 phone # 786-298-2688 I have spoken to many including sales manager [xxx]. My name is [xxx] and my cell number is [xxx] I am attaching the last service where it says that they kept the car for almost a week because they could not find the problem. I ask that if they can not find the problem, I am given a new car or my money back. Information redacted pursuant to the freedom of information act (foia), 5 u. S. C. 552(b)(6). *cc *tr
CategoryAir Bags
DateMar 07, 2020
I had an accident on 3/5/2020 in my 2019 chevy spark and the airbags did not deploy. Fortunately I did not suffer serious injury: badly bruised forearm and elbow from hitting the steering wheel, whiplash and muscle aches on my total right side of body and back. I understand there is a recall for this problem and I have not been notified to come in for service as of today.
CategoryAir Bags, Engine, Service Brakes
DateNov 16, 2019
Got the car in january of 2019. Under 18,000 miles and I was driving on the highway saw smoke and took it to chevrolet they said the brakes needed to be repaired with boosters and other parts
CategoryAir Bags, Structure:body
DateOct 04, 2019
The vehicle was in motion in a school zone of 35 mph on a street. It had a front end impact, which it rear-ended the car in front of it and the airbags deployed. The airbag by the feet, deployed a piece of metal or plastic and blew through the calf down to the bone. The wound was 4-5 inches in length and required 13 stitches. There was barely any damage to the car and there should not have been a hole blown through the leg. I think these airbags need to be recalled as they are dangerous and can cause serious injury.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Araceli E

    I got rear ended while on a red light stop. The bumper slightly cracked. The next day as I started the car on 15mph made a left turn,the passenger side front wheel hit the side walk and the wheel came out. The message text the stabilizer was off. After my insurance repaired it , while. driving passed the tracks the ball joint on the front driver’s side failed and the wheel fell off .The police came and had me towed the car to a near chevy dealer because they said the ball joint failed( because I didn’t hit anything ) and being a new car the warranty should cover the damage. Dealership washes their hands saying they found nothing defective and my insurance won’t cover it because there was no collision…so It may have to come out of pocket costs which I do not have 2800 worth of damages Shouldn’t the dealer cover this under the warranty? I’ve only had the car for 1 yr…The ball joint shouldn’t fail on a new car.

  • Lisa M

    I have a chvy spark that the gas pedal sticks wide open and im being told they cant replacate it so theres nothing to fix and send me on my way . happened 6 times now. First it was throdle body. Then no its the battery o and my favorite one its the transmision and its made to do that. Tell me something do i have to die or kill some one befor. They here me??

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