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Chevrolet Cavalier

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  • I have read many of the posts on the Cavalier, I bought a 99 4dr LS new, and I probably would not have if I checked these message boards first. Now I drive around waiting for something to break. On the other hand, I do have 27000 miles on it, and have had no problems so far, so maybe I am lucky.

    My question is this, when the car comes to a stop, it feels as if the wheels are not round, so I bring it in to the dealer, and after 27000 highway miles, they say I need front and rear brakes, rotors reground, that the engine needs to be chemicaaly cleaned because of sludge and all kinds of stuff I have never had done on a car before. The brakes do have a grinding noise, but they have since it was new, the Cav not being a luxury car and all. The noise has never changed or gotten worse, only the braking. Anyhow, they want 700 for the brake job and a total of 1550 for a complete service with all the cleaning and so forth that it apparently requres. I thought this car was basically no service for 100,000 miles except for oil, filter and repairs. What gives, does it need all this, what about the brakes, all highway miles, and I am not hard on the brakes. Am I about to get ripped off?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Take it to another dealer,the warped rotors are a warranty covered item.As for sludge no way, the 4cyl runs to hot to sludge,find another dealer.I have 11,000 on a 00 cav and no problems.This is also my 4th cav starting with 1985,so i know cavs.I do my own work after warranty.
  • Thanks for your response, I picked up the car from the dealer today, and took the car to a mechanic I trust to have the brake job done. He laughed when I told him about the sludge and said the dealer service guy works on Comission, and thats why for brakes, engine cleaining and stuff like that they wanted $1550 to fix a less than 2 year old car with 26550 miles on it.

    Never going to that dealer again. One thing my mechanic said that was interesting. He said the brake sytem for the cav is to light for the job, and he recommended just probably having the brakes done, leaving the rotors alone, because after six months the rotors, even if reground would warp again because they are not strong enough, and so I would be back to where I am today with the feeling like the front wheels are out of round. Could I actually have convinced another dealer that the rotors were warped, because you and my mechanic seem to say the same thing pretty much. My dealer in NYC charged me $100 just to tell me my brakes were shot and rotors were damaged, which I had to pay just to pick up the car. Was their a recall or anything on the rotors, or should I just have my mechanic fix the brakes and put all this behind me. By the way, the brakes made a grinding sound since new, I figured that is the way the brakes sound, I never heard any squeling or anything. The dealer, who is a lier at this point said I probably ground through the sensors, which is definitely wrong, no way I would knowingly ignore that and let it go. Thanks for your help.
  • Welp I am/was a avid bowtie person, up until I bought a 2001 Z-24, 5 gear. I've had a lot of Chevy's over my years, most of them muscle cars, but kids and wives have a way of making those go away for awhile.. Bah.. Anyway traded 95 Z-28, 6 Speed for 97 Z-24, 5 speed, good work car, but no Z-28 (license even reads WNBAZ 28).. hehe I put a lot of miles on a car now, and the 2001 Z's looked nice and had a decent incentive $2500.. So I picked up a loaded 2001, 5 gear.. After the first few hundred miles I noticed a LOT of virbration coming through the clutch. I do a lot of rush hour traffic driving (about 100 miles round trip a day).. Well by the time I got to work my left foot was totaly numb.. So being a old gear head, and having built quite a few muscle cars, I assumed it was the throw-out bearing or the clutch/pressure plate. Took it to my local dealer, and they replaced the throw-out bearing and pressure plate / disk. Same problem.. (This is with 400 miles on the car).. Took it back, this time they replaced the flywheel, and all the previous stuff (again).. Same problem. I drove a different new 2001, it drove fine.. Took it back to the dealer (with 900 miles this time).. The Area Zone Manager Ok'd a whole new tranny.. New tranny in.. .Same problem.. Now I was getting mad.. and worried that I'd get in a wreck in rush hour traffic since I could not feel my left foot.. The TAC center for Chevy never heard of this problem.. Finally the dealer got a call from a engineer at the factory, stated this was a "know issue with the new Getrag 5 speed" and that there was no fix for it at this time. GM decided to buy the car back for what I paid and refund all my money plus the tax that I paid. Have not picked out a new ride yet, but for sure it won't be a Z-24.. Watch out folks.. they are telling me 1-4 cars has this.. Hopefully this will give me a excuse for a "mid life crisis" and the wife will let me buy a Z-28 SS 6 gear... =()...
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Boy i didn't know there were dealers like that.The warranty covers everything but damage or normal wear items,rotors are not normal wear item.I brought a program car that sat a while and rusted the rotors badly,the rotors & pads were replaced under warranty.I have never paid for a warranty dealer inspection,i have read other posts that were charged for the inspection.I wonder if it depends who the dealer is,now i'm curious about GM'S policy.Your mech is right they are under braked,i just change pads.I put 104,000 on a set rotors never even turned them.
  • I was referred to this site from Chevrolet Customer Service, they answered some of my questions, but they thought the users and staff of this site might be able to fill in the gaps...

    Here's the deal - Around Christmas-time while visiting family 700 miles from home, we got pulled over in heavy traffic. The Police officer maintains we were going 89 mph, while our speedometer clearly stated 74 (speed limit 70 mph) as it had since we left home. We're fighting the ticket I/I even at 74 mph we were going with the flow of traffic, and we certainly weren't going 89 mph!

    Here are my questions - I hope the answers will assist in our defense.

    1. According to Chevrolet, 145, 229 cavaliers were sold in 1996. Does anyone know approx. how many there are on the road?

    2. When was the last significant body model change? (My 1996 and my sister's 1997 both look relatively similar to the new 2001 models) was it 1995?

    3. How many colors of green, blue or teal have been offered over the years (or since 1995)?

    4. Any other pertinent information that you believe would be helpful in this matter.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    There are alot of 1996 Cavaliers still on the road to this day. They are popular with younger people and those on a budget who are looking for a reasonably reliable small car.

    The last redesign/body style change was with the 1995 models.

    So how is this information going to help you with the speeding ticket? Just curious...
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I think he's trying to prove that the cop radared another Cavalier just like his own...good luck on that one.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    brakeman1, I have a little theory I'm working on. Have you ever taken your Cavalier, ( I have the same model as you) to a carwash where you can wax the car with the high pressure wand? I've noticed that if I spray the wheels with the wand set to "wax" I get a pulsating braking action afterwards which is different to the ABS kicking in. My theory is that the wax gets on the rotors and causes certain areas on the rotor to be more sticky than other areas. I've since stopped spraying the wheels with wax.

    I wouldn't worry about those noises. My Cav brakes are also noisey when I first take off in the morning. I think the brake pads are hygroscopic and absorb moisture during the night. I've had all my wheels off and see no damage to any of the braking surfaces. If I were you I'd run away from any dealer services.

    So far I've had great service out of my car and am happy with it.
  • Actually, I am not great about caring for the outside of the car, and have cleaned it only twice since it was new, so no, I have never used the spray wax as you mentioned, so I guess that was not it.

    Having said that I got the car back from the mechanic, he replaced all four rotors because he got some deal as well as the pads, even though we originally agreed, just change the pads and leave it alone. The cost was $ 260, and I must say, the car brakes better than when I bought it new, not that it brakes any stronger or anything, just that it is quiet, like most cars, no grinding anymore. So I hope that is the end of it.

    I should say that outside of this problem, which really seems more dealer related, the car is driven hard and performs well with no other problems. Hopefully everything will continue...
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    What kind of cavalier has 4 rotors?
  • ash15ash15 Posts: 2
    I have researched and driven used, later model (96 and up) toyota camrys,corollas, mazda protege, in looking for a third family car.....Some dealers in this area are offering a 5year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty on 2001 Cavaliers (base model I suspect at the 10,885.00 advertised price,I havent had a chance to actually look at one yet). You can imagine the difference in price between the new Cavs and the used foreign cars. In addition I would probably be buying an extended warranty on the used one(s).I guess I'm asking for some advice from some Cavalier experienced folks on what they might think would be the best way to go....thanks in advance for any input.
  • iperkinsiperkins Posts: 5
    exactly just how does the two of these cars match up? Can anybody break that down 4 me ?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    We lease a 99 Cavalier and it's been perfectly reliable from day one. It's not the best small car on the market, but it's a lot of car for the money. For the same money as a Civic, we got added ABS, traction assist, cruise control and a 1.9% lease rate. Great deal.

    As for the Prizm, they don't sell it in Canada so I have no idea.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    A friend of mine has a 1999 Cavalier sedan with 42K on it. She asked me to drive it, because she was having problems with a back brake noise. I did, and heard what she was talking about. Right after stopping and taking your foot off the brake to reaccelerate, this "bang" comes from the back of it, but not all the time (only did it once, and I stopped like 10 times). Anyone have any similar problems? I thought it might be a drum sticking, but not sure. Any suggestions.
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Posts: 88
    we owned a 99 cavalier, bought the sob new..and its garbage..it only has 36555 miles and broke 6 times, its hard to start and tends to idle noisly and rough, the tranny isnt smooth at all, we just bought ourselves a 1995 TOYOTA COROLLA with 126,917 miles with Auto and A.c. runs like new, unlike chevy, i would never get an unreliable piece of junk like the cavalier.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Own a 2000 cavalier for 1yr and 12000 miles,runs great, zero problems,best car i have ever owned.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Anyone got any suggestions about the brake bang I posted about earlier?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    I would remove the rear brake drums and clean them out. There could be dust in tehre turning into gunk and it makes the pads ( I know they aren't called pads but you know what I mean, i think they are called linings not sure) stick to the drums. I had that problem with an old Chevy Impala I owned.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I told my friend to take her car and have it checked out. She asked me to drive it, because I am experienced when it comes to cars and all, plus I used to have a Cavalier. Since she just got brakes put on the car like 15K ago, I wouldn't think the drums would be dirty already. I haven't heard from her about what she did though. I will try to give her a call and find out about it though.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    You must have had a lemon because the our 99 Cavalier auto transmission is VERY smooth, the engine idles very quiet and I have had zero returns to the dealer. It's not the most refined car in the world, but our Cavalier is very good / reliable otherwise.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    vocus, you could check the rear upper strut mounts and see if the plastic spacer isn't broken. I have heard that they crack in cold weather. I believe there is a fix for the problem. Take it to the dealer.
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Posts: 88
    HI do you think that a new cavalier would last, well i mean run like new up to 70 or 80 thousand miles with out problems or breaking down.My sister is looking into one, but is unsure if this car would make due, she'd keep the car for at least 8 years.We hear many good and bad things on the cavaliers, is the auto tranny smooth and is the 4cyl engine well suited and quite?would you compare this to Corolla LE by toyota? Please respond as soon as you can thank you.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    is much smoother than the 3 speed and lets the engine turn slower because of the overdrive 4th gear.That in turn helps mileage and engine longevity [by how much I don't know. The 4 speed auto also comes with traction control. The 3 speed is ancient and although it has the "lock up" torque converter which also lowers rpms it will go in and out of that mode more frequently than the 4 speed.The 3 speed is ancient and only goes into the Cavalier to have a wider choice of transmissions as well as an inexpensive automatic I believe. Sort of like the 2 speed Powerglide being offered alongside the 3speed Hydramatic on the old Chevy II/Nova.
    It's stouter as well because it's the same as goes into larger GM vehicles if I am not mistaken. It's smooth and reliable, though. I have one in my 99.
    As to longevity I plan on having this Cavalier long after it's been paid off. as such I hold to a strict maintenance schedule:oil and filter every 3 months [I rarely put 3000 miles on it in that time.
    Nearly 19,000 miles on it and I have had it two years since new. No problems except a couple of minor things taken care of at the dealer.I'm VERY happy with it.
    Also with the 4 speed auto.the engine is quieter at cruise.It can be noisy when accelerating,but smooths out nicely.It isn't tedious in the way the 2.5 litre was in the Citation/Celebrity/any GM car of the 80's.
    You will find wildly varying opinions on these cars. They're old fashioned and cheap and easy to repair if anything goes wrong. That was one of the primary reasons i bought one. My neighbor has a 98 and has had no problems. Hope this helps.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I have a 1997 Cavalier and looked closely at the Prizm at that time of purchase. I own a 90 Prizm (my daughter drives) and recently got my mother-in-law's 1987 Nova. I am looking at buying a Hyundai Elantra GT 5 speed when they come out and in comparing them drove a '01 Corolla sport.

    In my opinion the '93-97 Prizm was probably the best of the bunch (if memory serve me), and the '01 Corolla (and I assume Prizm) is a step backward--seems a lot cheaper in construction, I know that was a priority with the redesign.

    Each of the Prizms/Corollas is better in the engine department than my 97 Cavalier which has the 2.2 engine. I wish I'd gotten the 2.4. The Cavalier four speed auto transmission is a nice one--- for an automatic. It was my first auto. and I'll probably go back to the five speed.

    The Cavalier has been pretty reliable, only a bad ignition switch (I probably hung too many keys off it) and a bad alternator in almost 60,000 miles. The Cavalier seems noticibly older than the Toyota products, you can tell its roots go back to the early 80's. In some ways it seems cruder than the 87 Nova and definitely older than the 90 Prizm.

    I couldn't really see that the 01 Corolla was that much better than the 90 Prizm. As I said, IMHO the 93-97 Prizm/Corolla was the best of the bunch. The 87 Nova is actually quite fun to drive but I don't appreciate the 3 speed automatic hooked to the carburated engine.

    I found the Hyundai Elantra to be a better all around car than the new Corolla. Roomier and more modern all around although the seat fabric was a bit cheesy. Of course the Corolla is due to be replaced next year and the Prizm discontinued at the NUMI plant.

    Looking back, I rather wish I'd bought the Prizm with a 5-speed back in 97 (I had a GM card), I must say, however, that the Cavalier has been a much better car than I would have imagined. Plus, I would think that the Cavalier would be less expensive to fix when things do go wrong.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I had a 91 Cavalier for a number of years and sold it in 1998 with 140K kms on the dial. Car was flawless aside from the rust. We have had a 99 Cavalier for 2 years (leased through wife's company) and with 30K on the dial, flawless also though I do sometimes notice a rattle in the front vent area now. I will bring it in for a quick adjustment.

    All I can say it, the cars start and run fine. No they aren't refined like a Civic, but they cost thousands less also. The 1.9% lease rate sure does keep the cost down also.
  • I bought a 2000 Cavalier Z24 Convert. a few months ago and it is great!!! The only problem I have been having with it is it leaking. It is weird, I had the dealership replace all of the seals on the top and it will leak some days and then not leak on others. I swear the seals have a mind of their own. Has anyone else had problems with this? Otherwise, it is a great car and I love the 2.4 engine.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    When my '97 LS was new I had a lot of itch and scratch noises in the dash. I chose to ignore this and the noise went away. It returns every March, however. Must be the combination of temperature and humidity. I'm glad I didn't have some mechanic rip into it, probably would have made things worse.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    They're a regular complaint.I bought it knowing full well that was a weak area. I've had one that I took to the dealer to fix in the "A" pillar on the driver's side.There's also a piece that is directly under the stereo, where the dealer installed ash tray would go. A re-designed piece is available.
    Mine come and go as well. I figure it's part of it's personality.I figure it's just talking to me.100 miles away from 19,000 and running fine all the way, no problems and great mileage.
  • mafitz1mafitz1 Posts: 1
    Of course YMMV, but we have had good luck with our Cavs. Our '97 Sedan (bought new) has been utterly flawless (save the ubiquitous dash rattles) through 53,000 miles. Prior to that we had an '89 sedan (bought in '93)... we drove it to 147,000 miles and only got rid of it then because we were in an accident and our insurer totalled it. Here's the best part, within six months of the accident the car had been fixed and sold through a used dealership to someone in our apartment complex and was STILL running as of then. I know the cars have a bad re, but it's hard to kill em!
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