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Chevrolet Cavalier

bluemist1bluemist1 Member Posts: 1
edited October 2017 in Chevrolet
I have a 1996 Hyundai Accent (81,000 miles!), and
am considering purchasing a new car in a few

I'd like to know what experiences people have had
with the Chevrolet Cavalier, especially with the
2.4 liter engine, since I'm considering buying that
specific car.


  • mcpaganomcpagano Member Posts: 6
    Bluemist - I purchased a '98 Cavalier for my teenage daughter about 10 months ago. It has about 7,500 miles and it has been fine. I only had one minor problem - water condensation in tail light. It has the 2.4 liter engine and it has great power for such a small car. The engine was the main reason why I bought it. This car had much more power than comparable class cars
  • hypermanhyperman Member Posts: 6

    Buy it, I rented the Cavalier for a week and drove it around California during Christmas, and it was great. I was doing 90 on 101 but was afraid of the cops so I didn't step on the gas further, it climbed I-5 mountains great too-70mph towing 4 adults and a child and a trunk packed full(I had to forced it shut with my body weight).

    Mile per gallon is great too!

    The only problem we had was the trunk, I think my dad broke the trunk latches, but I got luggage out through the folded back seat(it was wide).

    I didn't test the AC because it was freezing in CA.

    From Wed-Sat: San Jose to Anaheim then back.
    Sunday: San Jose to Tahoe then back
    Monday: San Jose to SF Union Square
    Tuesday: San Jose to Monterey Bay (17-mile drive Pebble Beach) It was beautiful! I saw a bunch of Cavalier, Grand Am and Alero there.

    Cadillac is the Official Car of Pebble Beach and Company.

    The Cavalier handled the road very well.
  • hypermanhyperman Member Posts: 6
    BTW we put over 2050 mile on it in 6 days. Not to forget the Daytime running light, it was a great feature for the road condition that week and the places we went.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    I have a 96 Cavalier and it started out pretty good, but at 27,000 miles, I discovered quite a number of problems while I was doing an oil change. The items consisted of : Leaking oil pan gasket/sealant, leaking oil level sensor, leaking A/C compressor, serpentine belt glazed, rear struts leaking, valve cover gasket leaking, horn quit twice. Believe me, I change my oil every 2k-3k, so I do not neglect it. I can't say for sure that Cavaliers in general have had these problems at this mileage, but I certainly have. I do have to say that my car starts each and every day without fail (even at -10 degrees), has never left me on the side of the road, and is fairly comfortable, though I wish the seats had more support. My recommendaton is that if you buy this car and intend to keep it for a long time, buy an extended warranty....not a bad car, though.
  • alphaalpha99alphaalpha99 Member Posts: 2
    I was wondering if anyone has had success with fixing the mysterious rattling that occurs in the Cavalier dashboard. We have had the instrument cluster replaced once and had seals replaced around it with no luck. We have a '95 2.2L automatic.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    Is that the plastic on plastic type squeak noise fron near the instrument cluster?? Does the noise go away if you pull up on the top of the dash?? If so, I've fixed this noise with a small piece of double sided tape or adhesive backed foam between the dash pad the the instrument combi.....
  • alphaalpha99alphaalpha99 Member Posts: 2
    Yeah, sounds like you've had the same problem. I will try what you suggest and see if it works. Thanks!
  • bethbeth Member Posts: 1
    I'm looking to buy the Chevrolet Cavalier LS. Does anyone have any comments? Is this a reliable, dependable car? What makes it good or bad? Thanks!
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    That depends on your definition of reliable....
    If it means that it is fairly dependable and will get you from point A to point B, then yes. If it means that you won't have many repairs to worry about, I would look elsewhere. I had a 1996 Cavalier that I traded in a few weeks ago...the Cavalier is uncomfortable on long trips, feels cramped, feels cheap, and had it's fair share of warranty problems (problems that could have been relatively expensive) in it's low mileage. Within 3 years (less than 28,000 miles), I had to replace the horn twice, had the exhaust system repaired, had the oil pan gasket replaced, had both rear struts replaced, had the oil level sensor replaced, had the valve cover gasket replaced, and also had the air conditioning compressor replaced...all due to leaks. Granted it was under warranty, but those are some pretty significant failures for a car with low mileage. To be honest with you, it was definitely the least satisfying car I've owned....traded it in March 13 for a 1999 VW Jetta GLS.....so far the most fun car I've owned!!!
  • tffkaptffkap Member Posts: 11
    I had a Cavalier for about a year. It really comes down to preference. I am a pretty big guy (6-2, 290 lbs) and the car was actually pretty comfortable for me, except the lack of leg room. The only problem I had (and it was under warranty) was the fuel pump broke at about 28000 miles. I think it was just a freak thing, because I had no other problems besides that. I think this is a really good entry level car. Good for a family just starting out, or for a first time owner.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    Also, when reading my previous post, please keep in mind that I thoruoghly look over my car frequently, especially underneath.......most people don't even know of problems they have with their cars, because they have no way to get underneath them and do a thorough inspection.....
  • tffkaptffkap Member Posts: 11
    True enough. I do a thorough undercar inspection every time I change my oil. You can diagnose so many potential problems just by doing a check. That is why I think EVERYONE should change their own oil!
  • sbonnellsbonnell Member Posts: 1
    I am about two days away from purchasing a 98 Cavalier Sedan. I really liked the car. I didn't realize however, that there were so many negative comments out there. And yes, it is the blue so much talked about. I would really appreciate hearing from someone owning the same car and how they feel about it, i.e. did you make a bad choice! I figure with all of the test driving and looking around I have done, if this is what I've come up, based on the comments I have heard, I am in BIG TROUBLE.
  • mcpaganomcpagano Member Posts: 6
    I purchased a 98 Cavalier with the 2.4 liter engine for my daughter about 14 months ago and she has 10,000 miles on it. It has been fine. I only had one minor problem with condensation in a tail light and the dealer replaced it. I really recommend the 2.4 liter engine. The car has a lot of pep to it and my daughter loves the car.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    I wouldn't say that the Cavalier is the worst car out there.....there are certainly better and certainly worse. I found most of the problems with my Cavalier, the dealer never mentioned any of them.....while under my car for tire rotations and LOF's, I noticed all of the various fluid leaks.... Keep in mind that people's opinions of reliability differ, and also many people's awareness of problems differs. For someone like me who is always checking out their car (top and bottom), I will certainly see more than the person who barely knows where the hood release is. The Cavalier was certainly fine for around-town driving, not so much for highway cruising, as the seats become very uncomfortable due to their lack of support. The A/C system is great, and the stereo is about average. I did like the front legroom, although shoulder room was a bit tight IMHO. I sort of miss the Cavalier in some ways, but the Cavalier didn't suit my driving style, and handling was fair to poor, IMHO. I don't regret trading in the Cavalier for what I bought, and I do hope my ex-Cav will serve someone well....I had heard that American quality was up, and indeed it was, but not to where I feel it should be.
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Try www.carpoint.msn.com for reliability ratings
  • hindsitehindsite Member Posts: 590
    Rented a 99 Cavelier LS for a month and it was the worst riding car I remember since the K car. One time I was accelerating and the car just died. It did restart on the first attempt and there was no more occurance again. Steering was very jiggly . . . guess it is suppose to be that way. It had traction control and the light did come on once while driving on smooth dry pavement. I guess that was a fluke also.
  • jonelljonell Member Posts: 2
    I would like to know is a
    Cavalier Sedan 1999 a good car
    to drive? what about the parts
    are they affordable? Do you know
    what the standard featured it
    has is it a big a car or a small
  • jonelljonell Member Posts: 2
    I would like to know is a
    Cavalier Sedan 1999 a good car
    to drive? what about the parts
    are they affordable? Do you know
    what the standard featured it
    has is it a big a car or a small
  • smakinsmakin Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone else found rattles in the doors in the 1997 models? I have had the squeaks in the dash and have had to fix them myself.

    It's been a good car but the dealerships have not been very good.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    Is the cavalier a big car or small car ??? Ya mean you've never seen a Cavalier on the road ??? Seriously, if you're looking for relaible and safe cars, this certainly is not the ride for you. If you want inexpensive and relatively inexpensive maintenance, it's not bad. If you're looking for a fun to drive car, you'll be sadly disappointed.
  • jarvik007jarvik007 Member Posts: 2
    hello everyone i own a 99 z 24 5 speed (yeah i know this is a 4 door town hall, but it's the only one with some recen activity) some times when i cruise and i roll up to a stop light and people start reving their engines, i'll do the same jsut for fun. well, this has happend a couple of times..i would give enough gas to rev my engine up to about maybe 4 then let off..and the car will die. it starts right up again just fine but i was wondering if anyone else had this similar problem.

    99 Z-24
    5 speed
    7600 miles (had this problem since i first got it at 2500 miles)
    email [email protected]
  • jarvik007jarvik007 Member Posts: 2
    Jonell, if you're looking for a fun to drive car dont get a sedan cavalier get the z-24. its more expensive but its a whole lot better. 2.4 engine is pretty quick. you can beat neons r/t's, ford Zx2's, old camaro 3.4 liter v6's (automatics), probes, the list goes on. unless your pocket book is very shallow get the z 24, its just like when you buy a mustang or a camaro..dont get the base line..get the GT or the z 28 or the Trans am. when you go, go all out.
  • fairdealfairdeal Member Posts: 2
    I have just turned 4,000 miles on my Z24 5 speed. No problems except some dash rattles and poorly designed seats. While the sticker price is too high for what you get, I dealt it down to invoice and had a $1500 rebate, $400 college rebate, and $500 autoshow voucher from GM. It took it to the low $13s. That is the only way this car makes sense is when you can deal. It's still a hoot to drive.
  • franky10franky10 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 1998 Cavalier LS sedan last January with all the bells and whistles, and 2.4 liter engine. Price was an appeal for what you get. I found the handles were somewhat flimsy,requiring repair when one was sticking; the gear shift rod was poorly designed, which requires operating it from the top with the thumb, rather than from the side.
    Car seems to run OK otherwise.
  • dprimodprimo Member Posts: 1
    I have a '99 cavalier 4 door sedan with the 2.2 liter engine. It is brand new, yet it runs very roughly at low speeds, and it does not accelerate smoothly at all. Is this a function of the engine? Has anybody experienced similar problems?
  • ralph124cralph124c Member Posts: 36
    I rented a 1999 Cavalier sedan (4 dr, 2.2 liter engine, auto/air) in S. california last week. Not a bad car a t all-good acceleration and decent handling. My only concern was gas mileage-in 300 miles of mostly freeway driving, I got less than 25 mpg-seems low for a car this size. Admittedly, the AC was on all the time 9it was hot)-on a very hot day (98 F) it stalled once-could this have been vapor lock?
    I would consider buying if I could be assured that the car would be reliable for the first 100K miles.
  • havertownhavertown Member Posts: 1
    To anyone, I am going in to hopefully lease a 99 cav sedan for $139/mo, no money down and all the business like college grad, no security deposit etc. Does anyone here have leasing experience? I am trying to find out about how dealers try to screw you at the end of the lease, I know as long as I stay within the 3 yr/36,000 mile term, they can't screw me in that regard. Is it better to pay the taxes and destination fee up front? Does anyone know how much I will have to give them initially if I only pay taxes, tags, and destination fee? I know these questions have dealt with leasing rather than the Cav itself, but hopefully someone is out there leasing a Cav and could give me some advice. I know I don't want to buy it because it is a starter car, but this appears to be the best lease deal I have found in the past 6 months. Please respond, anyone. Thanx!
  • dynomike2000dynomike2000 Member Posts: 5
    i own a 1996 cav 4dr sedan a/t,with the 2.2eng and iam happy to report zero problems at 65,000+ well kept miles,although i did have one oil leak at 34,000 miles. p.s the dash noise is common problem.
  • gotmilk1gotmilk1 Member Posts: 1
    How much did it cost you to purchase a 1999 Chev. Cavalier Sedan and what kind of insurance rates did you get? I am buying a car this week and need some quick help, please. Thanks..
  • saturnboysaturnboy Member Posts: 89

    It sounds like you got a very good deal on your Cavalier, I leased a 1998 Saturn Sl with Ac for 146.00 a month with 2000.00 down, but I don't pay for any services like oil changes or anything for 3 years. I thought you had to pay tax and registration up front. I am supposed to pay a 500.00 disposition fee at the end of the lease but Im going to tell them that I'll buy another Saturn only if they erase that fee and see what they say. Just read the fine print and you should be fine, they are in the 5th year of this style and they are dying to move them off the lot. Good luck
  • tffkaptffkap Member Posts: 11
    That sounds about right to me. I was paying $115 a month for full coverage on the coupe with $500 deductible on comp and collision... Oh yeah, I am also 19 and under my parents insurance policy until I can get a reasonable rate. Without being under them, and without State Farm's good student discound and multicar discount, I would have been paying about 220 a month.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    Well, I read with interest the wide range of satisified customers and very unhappy experiences
    people have had with their Cavaliers. Goes to show what a hit or miss proposition buying a GM vehicle is, I guess. My wife has a 1993 with the 2.2L engine and a 5-speed. The car runs like the day it came off the showroom floor, but the rest of the car is falling apart! The other day I took off from a stoplight and the front speaker grille FELL IN MY LAP! The dome light is working itself loose from its mounts, the power locks don't work, the passenger door panel is peeling away from the door, the shifter boot has decided to rotate freely about the shifter, instead of staying where it should, and a rear seatbelt fell apart. The car has 104,000 miles, so maybe I should not complain...Well, yeah, I should. Cheap materials, shoddy build quality, excellent engine. Typical GM. Maybe I'm just spoiled by my Accord.
  • dynomike2000dynomike2000 Member Posts: 5
    Well,Lancerfixer I do agree,accord is a much more refined automobile,But my attraction was price. A Honda Accord with the same option,s is about 5,000 more, plus Cavalier came standard with ABS breaks.It also has 100,000 miles before its first routine tune up. My car just turned 66,000 and runs as if I just bought her. Although I do agree the car is not built of high standard products, such as independent rear suspenstion and leather which is not available for the interior. It is definitely a wonderful entry level automobile.

    P.S. Has proven to be a dependable car for me,although it has a rough ride and cheap interior parts that squeak.
  • tffkaptffkap Member Posts: 11
    I totally agree with the above posts. No one is going to buy a Cavalier for luxury and refinement. It is what it is; a great little reliable (mechanically) car that is very inexpensive to own. As much as I dislike the accords, (just my personal preference) Cavaliers are not even close to the same class. But I still love them!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    I didn't mean to suggest that an Accord was a good alternative for a Cavalier (it is, if you have the money)but I do think GM needs to pay closer attention to its building practices. This is completely personal preference, but for not much more than a Cavalier, you could get a Civic or Golf, with better build quality, more character (well, the Golf has more, anyway) and much higher resale value, which means better lease rates. the ONLY drawback to a Civic over the Cavalier is that you have to spring for the top of the line model to get ABS. Routine maintenance also costs more, but I feel the peace of mind factor, combined with the fact that the Golf and Civic are just plain more fun to drive (particularly the 5-speeds), and superior construction and quality control leave the Cavalier lagging.
  • dynomike2000dynomike2000 Member Posts: 5
    And yes again I would agree with you. If you do not keep your cavalier until it is paid off,odds are you will owe more then its worth. P.S Check out the 1999 ford contour SVT 200hp with a silky smooth 2.5 liter. This car is built very solid and can out handle most.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    I have checked out the SVT Contour, and you're right. It's fast and handles like it's on rails. However, the interior layout is both poor and of cheap materials--I'm guessing the SVT's interior would start looking like my wife's Cav after a couple years. Also, only select dealers carry SVT vehicles. The one in this area (Portsmouth, NH) was a complete jerk to me, to the point of being rude, and I almost had to beg to try out the car. I wouldn't buy a car from that dealer if I had to.
  • dynomike2000dynomike2000 Member Posts: 5
    I have not had the pleasure of test driving the SVT yet,but I have driven a ford contour. A friend of mine has one. And although I only drove the car once and for a short time.I thought it felt solid and handled well, for the base model. My love for the motor came from owning a 1993 ford probe GT with the 2.5 V6 . WOW! Did I love that engine. Redline was at 7,000 RPM and this engine pulled hard up to 7,200 RPM. The down side was it did not start to make power until about 4,800 RPM. Now SVT slaps a supercharger on it and I would say the power comes on sooner,and a whole lot harder. P.S I miss my GT
  • chevy5chevy5 Member Posts: 1
    I hope the person who entered #20 above will read this and post exactly how you fixed the dash noise on your Cavalier. I am desperate and at the end of my rope. Right now my car has been at the dealer for a week for this problem, brake noise and a dash light that has been coming on. I have a rattle in my dash that occurs intermittently and that the dealer has not been able to fix because it does not occur when they test drive the car. When the dash is quiet the car is a wonderful little car to drive. There is also a sound that sounds exactly like 2 pieces of styrofoam rubbing together that is coming from under the steering wheel at times. This and the dash noise is the main reason I will never buy a Cavalier again. I had one in 1984 and loved it so I bought my 1997 on blind faith and without doing my homework. It has been a big mistake. My nerves are so strained from this experience I am seriously considering buying outside of the GM line for my next car. I have never been as unhappy with a car simply due to the dash noise as I have this one and my first car was a 1978 Maverick. There are many features I do like about the car: the fact that you can open the trunk from the inside, the fold-down back seat, the way the gas cap is attached, the gas mileage, the fact that I do not hear a lot of wind noise and the interior colors. I wish the dealer would not discount me about the dash noise just because it does not happen in their 5 mile test drive and at least TRY something-anything to fix it.
  • jim108jim108 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone experienced trouble with an occasional but strong smell of gas in the Cavalier LS (2.4L)? We've had our '97 to two different dealers, but can never duplicate the symptom (Murphy's law of car repair). It usually happens after running a short time, with the heat or AC on, so I suspect it comes from the engine compartment.
  • c0mdatac0mdata Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1995 Cavalier sedan. If anyone has this year Cavalier, can you tell me where the trunk light switch is supposed to be? My trunk light is always on for twenty minutes after I leave the car and then won't come on until I open a door. This is the rundown protection, but I want to know if there is also supposed to be a switch in the trunk. I know later years the light was changed.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    More than likely, it probable has a mercury switch, which would be somewhere in the trunk lid itself....but I may be wrong.
  • c0mdatac0mdata Member Posts: 3
    the trunk light is not on the trunk lid, nor does there appear to be any wiring or electrical connections on the lid at all.
  • dubosedubose Member Posts: 1
    My first brand new car was a 1987 cavalier so I thought I'd take a look in here and see if they had improved in the 90's models after all the problems I had with mine. I have not and probably never will own a GM car again in my life. Even when my car was only a few months old I was visiting the dealership service dept more times than I care to count. I hate it that I feel that way about american cars but the cavalier left a lasting impression on me and i'm heading out to buy my second honda accord. good luck to all of you that own a chevy cavalier 'cause you're gonna need it.
  • c0mdatac0mdata Member Posts: 3
    Just to let you know I found the trunk light switch. It should be mounted on the hinge. It got tucked into a hole where the trunk hinge goes. I was able to put it back where it belongs, no harm done.
    All I can say is thank goodness for GM's battery run-down protection, or I would have had a lot of dead batteries over the last year
  • emposempos Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 1996 Cavalier Sedan almost 4 years ago. It has about 52000 miles on it now. I have had now major repairs on it (knock on wood) and the only time it's been in for anything other than regular maitenance was a defective sensor that kept turning the engine light on. One nagging thing I have noticed is that the ABS brake comes on when I stop a little more quickly than normal and it stays on until I turn the car off and then restart it. This makes for a nerve-wracking trip when you are traveling for a few hours with the light on the whole time wondering if your brakes are going to be there. There is some rattling with the dashboard also. Besides those few little glitches I have been satisfied with my car. I think though that I will buy an Escort or Protege or something different next time, just for a change and to try some of the more popular economy cars.
  • tffkaptffkap Member Posts: 11
    Has anyone had a chance to see the new 2000 cavalier yet? No major differences that I could tell. Just a little cosmetic work on the outside and it looked a little different on the inside too. Just makes an already attractive car a little nicer looking.
  • mitsukimitsuki Member Posts: 2
    I had to drive the Chevy Cavalier for my rental car when car was being repaired (I got into an acciden). I drive a Nissan Sentra!
    Well anyways.. the Cavalier! That car is so terrible! The interior is soo cheap! The Parking Brake, the shifter.. the seats and especially the rear seats it is hard as a bench!! The dash is quite awkard where it curves down! The dome light cannot be controlled! The gas pedal, my goodness you have to really push! it isn't as sensitive as the sentra. Also when I turn off the engine the engine shakes!! The car is loud overall!

    On the plus side of things.. the headlights are good, the brakes! comparing this car to it's Japanese Compeitors, they win! The Cavalier isn't as refined !! It doesnt feel very solid !! When I got my Sentra back... oh man! it felt soo good!! because it's much more refined and everything!! and it doesn't rattle and wine like the cavalier!! If GM improved their small cars, people might consider buying one!! instead of the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic!
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    mitsuki. You have to bear in mind that a loaner car is not being taken care of by anyone. Also, many loaners and rentals are equipped with the least powerful engine for that model AND an automatic transmission. Anathema!

    You might still prefer a Civic, Corolla or Sentra to a well-maintained, 2.4L, 4spd auto, ABS, traction control Cavalier - but it would be considerably more competitive. Especially at the price of a 2 year old model.

    just my 2 cents.
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