Chevrolet Sonic Beeping? (11 Common Causes)

The Chevrolet Sonic is an economical compact car that stands out with its energetic design.

Equipped with modern tech, it employs a range of beeps, chimes, and alerts.

If your Sonic persistently beeps and you’re puzzled as to the cause, this article is here to help…

Why Does My Chevrolet Sonic Keep Beeping?

The most common causes of beeping on a Chevrolet Sonic include 12V battery issues, key fob issues, weight on the passenger seat, door switch issues, and aftermarket devices. 

1. Weak 12V Battery

A weak battery is a very common cause of why you might be hearing mysterious beeps from your Chevy Sonic.

You can always check the battery life with a voltmeter, by measuring the voltage across the battery’s terminals.

If it’s under 11V then this is causing the beeps and you’ll need to replace it.

Alternatively, take it to AutoZone who offer free battery health checks or speak to your local dealer.

You should also check for loose connections and make sure the terminals are not dirty or rusted.

2. Weak Key Fob Battery

A weak key fob battery can cause a wide range of electrical glitches including triggering the alarm and random beeps.

To rule this possibility out of the equation replace the key fob battery, ensure it is inserted the correct way up and use a reputable brand of battery.

It is also possible that the key fob is faulty, in which case you can ask your dealer to run some diagnostics – they will be able to either repair or reprogram it or simply replace it.

3. Key Fob Remote Left in Vehicle

The Chevy Sonic will beep three times if you leave the key fob in the car and close the doors. You will also hear the alert if you have a second key fob in the vehicle. You can disable this alert via the infotainment display.

Normally, the horn should only beep if the engine is turned off. But some Chevy owners have reported that their car will also quickly honk the horn three times whenever a passenger opens and closes the door, even while the engine is running.

Toggling the ‘Remote Left in Vehicle Alert’ on and off can get rid of this problem, as well as other similar glitches that can cause your horn to quickly honk three times.

What does the manual say?

Remote Left In Vehicle Alert

When the vehicle is turned off and an RKE transmitter is left in the vehicle, the horn will chirp three times after all doors are closed. To turn on or off see Vehicle Personalization.

Vehicle Personalization

  1. Touch the Settings icon on the Home Page of the infotainment display.
  2. Touch Vehicle to display a list of available options.
  3. Touch to select the desired feature setting. (Remote Left in Vehicle Alert)
  4. Touch O or | to turn a feature off or on.
  5. Touch X to go to the top level of the Settings menu.

4. Remote No Longer in Vehicle

The Chevy Sonic will honk the horn three times if the keyless entry system detects that the key fob is no longer in range while the engine is running.

You’ll usually hear this alert if you turn on the car and get out to do something else while carrying the key fob with you. 

This can be annoying if you’re in a quiet neighborhood or a parking lot and you don’t want to call attention to yourself.

To get rid of the beeping horn, follow the steps outlined in the previous section and toggle the ‘Remote No Longer In Vehicle Alert’ off.

This alert can also go off if there are issues with the key fob or the keyless entry system.

Some things you can try to fix any glitches with the keyless entry include:

  • Replace the key fob battery
  • Check and clean the key fob’s circuit board
  • Replace the key fob
  • Disconnect the 12-volt battery for 10 minutes to reset the computers
  • Check with your dealer if your car has any software updates

Related: 9 Best & Worst Chevrolet Sonic Years (With Facts & Stats)

5. Weight On The Passenger Seat

The seatbelt chime gets triggered when the sensors under the seat detect a person and the seatbelt is not buckled. Sometimes, even a small amount of weight or pressure on the seat can confuse the sensors and create false alarms.

Some of the common causes of false seatbelt alarms include: 

  • Pets
  • Groceries
  • Backpacks
  • Bottle of water
  • Resting your hand on the seat
  • Laptop, iPad or mobile phone

Many Chevrolet owners have noticed that electronics like laptops and mobile phones tend to trigger the seat sensors more frequently even though they don’t weigh that much. 

One common theory is that the electronics are causing some sort of interference with the seat sensor’s electronics.

In a lot of cases, if the front passenger seat sensor detects a weight or a person, the passenger airbag light will light up on the center console or in the rear view mirror and will also trigger the seatbelt chime.

  • If nothing is resting on any of the seats and you’re still hearing the seatbelt chime, you can try turning the vehicle off and on again to reset the system.
  • You can also just buckle the seatbelt even if the seats aren’t occupied to get rid of the beeping.
  • If the issue persists, take your vehicle to a dealer or mechanic and get the sensor checked. 
  • They’ll also be able to scan for codes and check for any wiring or electrical issues. 

6. Seatbelt Buckle Problems

If your seatbelt chime is constantly beeping even if everyone in the vehicle is already buckled in, one of the switches in the seatbelt buckles might be defective.

Here are a few things you can try to fix a problematic seatbelt chime in your Chevrolet:

  • Latch and unlatch the seatbelts several times
  • Spray some electronics cleaner inside the buckle
  • Replace the buckle
  • Scan for codes
  • Check for wiring or electrical issues
  • Check the seat sensors 

Normally, the seatbelt warning will only light up after you start driving for a few seconds. If you still haven’t buckled up and you go over 12 mph, you’ll start hearing the seatbelt chime. 

You can’t disable the seatbelt warning in any GM or Chevrolet vehicles, but you can buy a dummy seatbelt or seatbelt extender to make the system think you’re already buckled in if you don’t want to be bothered by the seatbelt chime.  

“Might be the seat belt beeps. Happens to me too.” – ChevroletForum.com

7. Parking and Driver Assist Sensor Issues

Parking sensors and modern driving aids like lane assist can emit a lot of new beeps and chimes as you’re driving.

These will usually have flashing warnings on the instrument cluster, Driver Information Center (DIC), or navigation screen.

However, the car sensors can also trigger false alarms and cause strange beeping noises if they’re dirty or malfunctioning.

These sensors are often obstructed and confused by: 

  • Heavy rain
  • Condensation or fog
  • Snow and ice
  • Mud
  • Road debris
  • Dead bugs

If you’re getting false alarms and constant beeping, the first thing you should do is clean the parking sensors which look like round plastic protrusions on the front and rear bumper. 

Other sensors can also be located inside the front grille and on the windshield, but your owner’s manual should be able to guide you much better.

If you’re still hearing random beeping noises after cleaning off the sensors, you might need to replace some of them. Sensors are quite sensitive pieces of equipment that can malfunction or get damaged over time, especially if the car has previously been in an accident. 

Add-on devices installed near the bumper can also create false alerts, such as:

  • Large trailer hitches
  • Bike or surfboard racks
  • License plate brackets
  • Bumper covers
  • Any other device that may block the normal detection zone of the system.

It’s best to remove these aftermarket accessories first before you start replacing any parts to make sure they’re not causing any false alarms.

8. Door Switch or Hood Latch Issues

Another common cause of mysterious beeps in Chevrolet Sonics is a defective door, hood, trunk, or tailgate switch.

If any of these switches and latches aren’t working properly, then your car will constantly try to remind you to close the door or hood properly.

In older vehicles, the door switches usually stick out from the door jambs and the side of the dash. Nowadays, the switches are often built into the door latch or locking mechanism. 

  • Spraying electronics cleaner into the door switches and latches can help remove any dirt that’s built up inside over time and get the electrical contacts working again. 
  • Replacing the defective switch or latch also shouldn’t be too expensive or hard to do.
  • You also can check if the door switches are working properly if the interior dome lights turn off automatically if you push them in.

Some Chevrolet owners have also reported that sticking door lock switches caused their vehicles to start making strange beeps.

“I had this problem in my 2005 Chevrolet Classic. Eventually, it drained my battery. I found out the wiring in the door was shorting out and draining the battery, but the beeping is what made me start looking. Once I found the short and fixed it, the beeping stopped and the battery stopped draining…”  – ChevroletForum.com

9. Faulty Parking Brake Switch

If you hear beeping every time you start driving off, your parking brake might still be partially engaged or the parking brake switch could be defective.

You will usually see the parking brake light on the dash light up whenever the parking brake is engaged. 

Sometimes, the parking brake light won’t come on if you don’t fully push down on the parking brake pedal, so it’s still partially engaged and will keep on beeping until you release it.

If you’re sure that the parking brake is completely disengaged, then there might be an issue with the switch.

10. Aftermarket Devices

In a lot of cases, mysterious beeps are caused by aftermarket electronics that won’t show any warnings on the dash.

Common sources of beeping noises include:

  • Aftermarket alarms
  • Bluetooth adapters
  • Radar detectors
  • Dashcams
  • GPS tracking devices
  • Insurance tracking devices

The beeps from these devices are often not as loud as the factory beeps and chimes.

They’re also more difficult to track down if they’re hidden somewhere behind the dashboard.

If you’ve already checked all throughout the vehicle and disconnected every device, an experienced mechanic should be able to investigate the problem further and diagnose any strange wiring problems.

Related: Chevrolet Sonic Alarm Going Off? (13 Causes & Solutions)

11. It’s Not Your Car Beeping

Mysterious beeps that can be heard may not actually be coming from your Sonic.

For example it could be a dropped wristwatch with a low battery, a low battery on a C02 monitor or smoke detector in your garage, or some other battery powered electronic device.

Other Possible Causes of Beeps

Low Fluid Levels

Low fluid levels may also trigger a warning beep, so it’s worth checking basic things:

  • Fuel 
  • Oil 
  • Coolant 
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

“It [beeping sound] was a low brake fluid error BTW. And it did not happen the last time I had to fill up. Need to replace the rear brakes anyhow…” – SonicOwnersForum.com

Low Tire Pressure

Vehicles equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) will show a warning on the dash and beep as soon as you start the engine if your tires aren’t inflated properly.

Headlights

It’s a good idea to make sure that no bulbs have blown, check your headlight, emergency (hazard) lights and brake lights, this may trigger a warning noise.

Leaving the headlights on will also make the vehicle beep. If it’s already turned off, switching to the ‘Auto’ position might make the beeping go away.

Rear Seat Reminder

This allows for a chime and a message when the rear door has been opened before or during operation of the vehicle.

You should be able to turn this off in the vehicle settings. Check your owners manual for more specific instructions.

Antilock Brake System

If the ABS light stays on, or comes on again while driving, the vehicle needs service. A chime may also sound if the vehicle detects an issue with the ABS.

What Else Can I Do?

Disconnect the Battery

Mysterious beeps can be caused by glitches, especially in newer vehicles that rely on lots of electronics. 

Disconnecting the 12-volt battery’s negative (black) terminal for 10 to 20 minutes will force the vehicle’s systems to turn off completely and reset themselves.

Have a Mechanic or Dealership Take a Look

If you’ve already done some basic troubleshooting and still haven’t figured out what is causing your Chevrolet to beep, an experienced mechanic or your local Chevrolet dealership should be able to diagnose the problem much quicker.

They’ll not only have the right tools, but also have the experience necessary to deal with strange electrical gremlins.

If your vehicle is still under warranty, it’s best to take it to the dealer first.

  • Before making an appointment, call them ahead of time and ask if they offer free check-ups/initial diagnostics. 
  • Most shops only charge you for the first hour of diagnostics if you don’t authorize the repair.
  • Some parts stores like AutoZone or Advanced Auto also offer free diagnosis by hooking your car to a scanner. 
  • The employees might also be able to help you figure out the problem or recommend a local mechanic. 

Check for Recalls or TSBs

By entering your car’s VIN number on Chevrolet’s recall page you can determine whether or not there is a recall for your vehicle and if there is you’ll want to get it fixed.

Similarly, a quick google search will help you determine whether there is a Technical Service Bulletin for your car, these are less serious but may give a reason why your car is beeping.

Diagnose With a Scanner

Another option that can help you get to the bottom of your beeping issue is to use an OBD2 diagnostic scanner tool.

These are fairly easy to use and you simply plug them into your car’s OBD port under the steering wheel.

  • There are also OBD apps available so you can connect your car straight to your smartphone (either with a cable or Bluetooth) without even needing a scanner.
  • Once you have the codes, you can narrow down the source of the problem by researching online. 
  • You can also sign up to different Internet forums dedicated specifically for your vehicle and post your symptoms and issues.

Sources

https://cdn.dealereprocess.org/cdn/servicemanuals/chevrolet/2019-sonic.pdf

https://assets.gm.com/manuals/chevrolet/2012_chevrolet_sonic_owners.pdf

https://www.chevrolet.com/ownercenter/recalls

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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