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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    One persistent problem with the Sentra is the cable from the alternator to the battery. It keeps on burning out. And that piece of cable costs $50 a pop. No matter how you tighten the lug on the cable to the terminal on the alternator, it eventually heats up and melts the insulation for about 1 foot. Eventually the lug itself burns off and you end up with a flat battery. I even tried a heavier wire but the terminal lug still overheated. I myself have measured the current flow in the wire at high revs with a clamp-on ammeter and found the current to be as specified in the manual. This has happened for the 3rd time now. The Nissan dealer has also renewed the cable once and checked everything and he says nothing is wrong. I think the problem is that the alternator is mounted too near the radiator and everything overheats. There have also been numerous other electrical faults. I think the Sentra has extremely poor electrical wiring. And, I am sorry to say, but I have gone over the build quality of the Sentra and found it to be no better or worse than my 99 Cavalier.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I've got a 99 Cavalier 2.2L with 17K on it. Not a problem. While the car is not best in it's class, it is generally reliable. I had a 91 Cavalier before and it was solid for 140K. The 99 is our second car, and for the price it can't be beat!
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Not what I said. cavalier is NOT the best in it's class but not the worst either. It's just funny how there is always an excuse . " Oh you are in the minority", "Oh that is just one case out of tthousands of happy custoemrs", "Oh it's because it's made in the US and not Japan", "Oh....". Yes you have a lower chance of getting a lemon Sentra, why? Because they make a heck of a lot less Sentras than they do Cavaliers. Calm down man, excuses not needed and being jumpy not needed, I simply disagree with you and you have to accept that. My dad has a Nissan and it just don't run good. Before that he had a Suzuki, a Toyota and now the Nissan and all three of them were head aches. The Toyota was a Corolla and yes they are good cars but the one we had was simply Lemon all the way. Couldn't keep the thing running for 3 months straight. He traded it for the Nissan which has problems but not as bad as the Corolla did. Are these minority cases? Yes they may be but they still count as BAD experiences.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I have heard a lot of problems with the new Malibus too. It seems when I see them on the road, the rear brake lamps (a few or all the bulbs) are always burned out. Weird, but true. That wouldn't keep me from buying one, but I have heard their reliability is not very good. But I guess every manufacturer builds lemons, right?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    correct. You get a good one or a bad one. Haven't seen any unusal things wit the tail lamps. I see tons of them here in Eastern Mass and I haven't noticed burned out tail lights but I have heard that it was an issue in the early models, something to do with the lamp socket assembly. Also it depends what you take into account for reliability. I don't consider a burned out tail lamp a reliability issue, I would consider being starnded in teh middle of nowhere with a dead car a reliability issue. GM makes reliable engines and the best trannies, they tend to let go on small details but that doesn't make the whole car unreliable, then again it all depends, a burned out lamp will still get me from MA to FL with no problems. A ticket for a burned out bulb maybe but it will still get me there. :-). Hey, good luck with the Bonny shopping, they look quite fierce but the red glowing instrument cluster just aint for me. Good luck!
  • geena19geena19 Posts: 1
    I bought a 97 Cavalier brand new after I graduated from college. Seeing as how I was poor, it only had a/c and I later put in a CD player. Overall, it's been a very good car. I've recently started looking for a car with more "toys" and upon eval for trade-in, they found the head gasket leaking! I was three months out of my warranty, but GM picked up the cost. The person evaluating it said that Cavs with the 2.2L since 91 have had a leaking head gasket problem. I'd just had my 30K mile check up and everything was "fine." All in all, it's been a great starter car, but keep your eye on the gasket! :-)
    Btw...that dashboard creaking is extremely annoying...altho I'm glad to see that it wasn't just mine doing it.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Never heard my dash creek, but the tape in the deck rattles quite a bit. Guess that happens with any tape deck though. Our other car (an Intrigue) has a CD, so I don't know for sure.
  • cavy1cavy1 Posts: 2
    I bought a 2000 Cavalier May 1st so far it has been a sound investment The only problem is squeaky hubcaps
  • anunnqianunnqi Posts: 1
    I Have a 1992 cavalier rs. I purchased the car in december and took it in last month to get a routine oil change. The technicians at the jiffy lube were all surprised to find that the fuel filter had never been changed and the car had never had a tune up, yet it was still running. They all agreed that that was amazing. Not to say that i don't have problems with it.My gaskets are leaking and something is wrong with my brakes. Not the brakes themselves, but everytime I press on the brakes the car jerks violently and squeaks. I had the car inspected by three mechanics and they all told me different things. one said it cold be the ABS, another said it could be the break booster. Has anyone else had this problem? I'm fed up I,m a college student who doesn't have much money and the car. although it held up pretty good despite the fact that I just found out it was in a severe accident and hadn't had an oil change. But all of the minor problems are emptying my pockets. And the brakes make me a public specktacle. How would I write into GM about my gaskets.
  • treasguytreasguy Posts: 2
    Well, last week-end, I got a nasty surprise when taking my '97 Cavalier in for an oil change only to be told the head gasket is leaking and needs to be replaced at a cost of about $600! After reading some of the previous posts here, I realize that I am not alone. I have looked at the lemonaidcars site and now realize that this head gasket seems to be a long running defect on the 2.2 liter motor.

    I have discussed this with G.M. Customer Assistance today and of course their position is that even though they are aware of a wide spread problem, a problem that they have told owners up through '96 is covered for 7 years or 100k miles, my car is not covered - what a surprise.

    At this point I am thinking small claims court. Any similar stories or experiences out there?
  • My wife and I own a '96 Cavalier. She bought it while still in college before we met. It, too, has a leaky head gasket.

    Fortunately, we're not out of that 7 years / 100k miles phase, yet. And as a matter of fact, the car goes in next week to have it fixed.

    One thing I will say is that we won't be buying another Cavalier. We've not had any problems with ours (knock on wood) and it's done quite well for my wife (so far), but with all of the stories that are out there, we just can't afford to take a chance.

    We did, however, recently buy an 2000 Impala (we have a baby on the way soon) and are loving it. I know that the price difference between the two is astronomical, but we are quite happy with the purchase.
  • talshiarrtalshiarr Posts: 1
    I obviously drive mine a lot more than most folks, but the only problem I've had was a glitchy theft deterrant system that took 4 trips to the shop to repair. Basically, the car assumed I was always stealing it , thus shutting off the fuel flow. Finally a new ignition system tracked down the problem.

    Other than that, I've had no problems whatsoever. Just normal routine maintenance. My previous Cavalier was a '91 and was going fine at 130K when I traded (hah, not much value there) it in on the current one. From what I've read so far, it seems I've been lucky!
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I don't think you have been that lucky. The Cavalier is a pretty good basic car for the most part. I had a 91 and it was perfect for 6+ years. The 99 we have as a second car is not as nice as the 91, but it's been very reliable and trouble free also. All the people I know who have Cavaliers are happy. It can't be too bad as it's one of the best selling cars in North America.
  • Hay everyone!

    I am a owner of a 1998 Chevy Cavalier in
    midnight black color. 56,000 miles. Unfortunately, I have had many problems. Let me list them:

    -AC broken
    -both power windows will not rool down
    - transmission blew at 30,000 miles
    - engine block needed replaced
    - battery dies every 4,000 miles
    - poor build quality
    - breaks squeak
    - Engine rattles sometimes
    - radio fuzzles

    As you can tell I am a unhappy owner. I also own a
    Toyota Corolla and it is a much better 4 door car in my opinion. Chevy needs to make better cars
    cause it is pure 100% junk!!!!!!!!!
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    He has been in a number of forums claiming he owns that specific car and that it is a piece of junk. He has claimed to own an Intrigue, Cavalier, Camry, Corolla, and Alero, all within the last 2 years. The only cars he claims have been good is the Toyotas. In other words he is a GM basher and a big time liar. So just ignore anything he posts.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Fastfoodman has been bad mouthing every GM car around. I wish the moderators would remove him.
  • Fastfoodman has been spotted recently in the Impala, Bonneville, and Regal forums as well doing the same thing: badmouthing the GM car in that particular forum (which he has always claimed to own) and then praising the Toyota car that he owns (or claims to own). This guy is a total moron, and as such, we need to not pay any attention to what he's saying. After all, his most intelligent phrase is probably.... "Do you want fries with that?" :)

    Oh, and fastfoodman, I'll tell you why high school kids drive Cavaliers. 'Cause they're decent cars and they and/or their parents can afford them. 'Nuff said.
  • bill124bill124 Posts: 242
    Sorry for the intrusion but what is the trunk like on this car? I am thinking of renting a 4 door in Orlando at the Airport to go to Disney. It's me, the wife and 2 small children, with a small stroller. Probably 3-4 pieces of luggage. Will it work?
  • Well, I got the defective head gasket on my '97 Cavalier 2.2 engine repaired at the Chev dealership earlier this week. The bill for this work is nearly $700 including coolant flush and oil change! At least the car had not overheated yet so the head was not damaged. I have been in contact with the Va Dept of Consumer Affairs regarding GM's refusal to cover my car under their "secret warranty" for so many other Cavaliers with this manufacturing defect. There is a lot of information out there regarding this long standing problem - and GM has already issue at least two "special bulletins" letter to owners of the '96 and some earlier years with exactly the same engine. I have copies of these and forwarded them plus a lot of other info to the Dept of Consumer Affairs. I talked with them this morning and they have already directly contacted Chevrolet and requested a response from them.

    The Va investigator says that often Auto companies will either ignore or rebuff their requests, hoping, since this is in essence a small claim, both the State and the angry consumer will just "go away". He told me that if this happens, I should take it to small claims court, where often, to avoid adverse publicity, the Corporation will offer to settle before the case comes up.

    If anyone owning '97 and later year Cavaliers with the 2.2 liter motor has had similar problems, please post them.
  • cavy1cavy1 Posts: 2
    there will probably not be enough room. I have a 2000 cavalier which you will probably get one. The trunk is small you could probably get three in but the fourth would be a pinch if they are big pieces of luggage. I would go for a malibu you can get 5-6 pices in them.
  • i have a 92 cavalier we just replaced with a venture (for more room) as we have two kids now. wife's previous car was a accord which i made her get rid of before i would marry her(had to work on that car 1 too many times). the cav is bad on brakes(2 replacements on rear and 5 on front, all lifetime pads) and heater works when it wants too(can't locate problem for 3 years)other than oil changes every 3 to 4K. no problems at 97000 miles. its not perfect,(which no car every will be)i am hard to please and basicly a ford person but know value when i see it. i would recommend the car to anyone who needs a car of that size.
  • ssharsshar Posts: 1
    I have a 1989 Cavalier that I bought new, I have finally come to the decision that I will buy a new car. I was all set on buying a new Cavalier since I have really had no major trouble with the one that I now own. I have been checking out the new Cavaliers and am a little concerned about the info on the crash percentage not being very good. Has anyone bought a 2000 Cavalier recently and if so how do you like it?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    My mother in-law just bought a 2000 Cavalier with 0.9% financing. So far she seems very pleased. She is a heavy driver so we should find out soon how it holds up. We have a 99 Cavalier (as a second car) with 18K on it and it's been perfect. Cavalier isn't the best car in the world, but for the money and features, it's hard to beat.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    My fiance bought a 2000 Cavalier. We are very pleased with the car. It gets us where we want to go and it is very economical. WE got the LS model. It's a fun little car to drive and a very cute looking one too. Good luck! :-)
  • I have a 1996 Chev Cavalier 2.2L. I get a really bad smell especially when I drive fast and the rpm goes high. Well the smell is coming from the engine I think and it might be a leak. Well I hope I am not the only person with this problem and I doubt I am since Chevys all share the same problems. Well I took it to the dealership and they said the head cylinder gasket was not leaking nor was the coolant b/c it smelt like coolant. If anyone can help me plz mail at
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I would take it to a different dealership. It's a bit of a pain, but sometimes one guy can't find the problem and another can. I regularly take our Cavalier over 130km/h and its fine.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    beeslappa, what does it smell like? The oil filter for the Cavalier 2.2 engine is mounted at the back of the engine above the exhaust pipe. Every time I change my oil and filter I'll get a hot oil smell from the engine for about a week. No matter how hard I try, I cannot avoid spilling oil when I take the filter off. Also, if the oil filter is leaking it will drip onto the hot exhaust pipe. Check that out.
  • 89er189er1 Posts: 1
    i'm not pretending to know much about cars, however, i am honestly surprised by all the problems people have reported! I have been upset all week b/c i had to put an alternator, fan belt, and a catalytic converter on my car in one week (almost 600 bucks total!!)
    but, unlike all of you--my cavalier is an '89 sedan- which i have had since '96, and never done a thing to besides new tires until this week! it has 135K and runs great (with all it's new parts!)
    perhaps they used to make cavaliers better than they do now!? is that possible?
    everyone else i know w/older cavaliers say they've been great too!!
    i am however selling it now! just graduated from college, got a job--thinking a used honda???
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Keep in mind the Cavalier is pretty basic transport and most people don't come here to rave about their car. People come here for solutions to their problems. Cavaliers are basically good cars, especially since 96. Used Hondas are pricey. If you go Japanese, I would suggest a Mazda or a Nissan.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    89er1, if you read the comments about other makes of motorcars you'll see that they have just as many problems. I don't think however that the 96 onwards Cavaliers have any glaring defects. Head gaskets were a problem that seems to be fixed up from 98 to now. It's surprising how more supposedly reliable and expensive motorcars seem to give more trouble than the Cavaliers.
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