Fix Traction Control CEL and Hard Shift, Chevy HHR and Cobalt




About: I'm just a guy that likes to tinker. I can fix most anything.

This is my first instructable so please bear that in mind...

My 2006 HHR kept getting the lights in the photo combined with hard shifting

The first time it happened the shop charged my over $100 for the part even thought the labor was under warranty. The next time I looked online and found out how to do it myself.

There are two solenoids that go bad [stick open] and either can cause the issue. So how do you tell which one it is? I was told to "just replace both." Well, I'm cheap and I didn't want to do that.

So I found out that the CEL code will tell you which part.

Tools needed

1. Code Scanner

2. Pliers

3. 1/4" driver socket set.

Step 1: Read the Codes

Locate the code reader plug in point under the dash. Plug the code reader into that port and turn the ignition to ON, but DO NOT start it.

Once it tells you how many codes there are. Push the read button. to read the codes.

Here are what the soleniod related codes mean...

P0010/11 refers to the INTAKE solenoid

P0013/14 refers to the EXHAUST solenoid

Be sure to turn the key to off after this step.

Step 2: Purchase the Solenoid You Need.

The part #s are

917-215 Intake

917-216 Exhaust

I got dorman branded from Amazon in 2 days for about $26.

Dorman 917-216 Variable Valve Timing Solenoid:

Dorman 917-215 Variable Valve Timing Solenoid:

Step 3: Remove and Replace Solenoid

These photos show the Exhaust. Notice there is a stamp on the Engine for which one is INT or EXT

First you need to move the cowling out of the way. It's attached by only the ducts and some clips. Remove the ducts and remover the oil cap. Then pull the cowling up and to the right, taking care not to damage the other things attached.

You'll need to disconnect the cable by squeezing the release it and pulling up at the same time.

Here, you may want to clean any debris from the area around the solenoid.

Unscrew the bolt with a socket driver. The old one was 10 mm and the new one was 8 mm.

Then with a pair of pliers pull straight up. it will take some force.

Once it is free, discard it and take the new one out of its packaging, taking care not to get it dirty, push it in until it seats.

Now tighten the nut by hand. it only needs to be hand tight.

Now reconnect the cable and put everything back together.

You are almost done...

Step 4: Erase the Codes

Once you are done, you'll want to erase the codes.

First deal with any codes you get as you see fit.

Then go back to the code reader, with the key on, and hold the erase button for 2 seconds. Press it again to confirm.

Once it's clear, you are really done.

Please note, this whole repair can be done without a code reader but you will have to:

1. Replace both solenoids

2. Wait for the code to clear itself after a couple of times running the car.



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest

    6 Discussions


    4 months ago

    Best post about the subject. Replaced and so far no TC light or check engine light after 200 miles. Way to go. $20 on ebay saved hundreds in auto repair. THANK YIU!


    2 years ago

    Just an FYI - if these solenoids go out, have your timing chain checked. It's likely it's time to chain it.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    When I go to the part number's on Amazon it tells me they are not compatible for a 2005 Chevy Cobalt is this true and if so do you know what the correct numbers are?

    917-215 Intake

    917-216 Exhaust

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    All the part numbers seem to have changed in 2006. I don't know how far that went. Please search for the same type of parts on the 2005. Also be aware that certain other problems including timing chain issues can be indicated if this is occurring. Mine was bad and may have been the cause of these clogging.