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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Just keep in mind that our troubles didn't start until the car was 4-1/2 years old and had 44,000 miles on it. Since then, it's been a head gasket every 4,000 to 6,000 miles. Nice how they timed all this stuff to happen after the warranty expired.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    It's also very interesting that your '92's head gasket went at almost exactly the same time and mileage as our '95's. Almost TOO interesting.

  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I replaced a head gasket at 80,000 miles but it was a non issue it cost me $14.I now have a 99 & 00 2.2 just waiting.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Actually, we had a 91 Cavalier previously and it had 140K when we sold it. Never had any problems aside from rust on that one either. The cars are ok, you just got a bad one. It's unfortunate, but Mazda reliability isn't any better than GM's. Hopefully you will have better luck though.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I'd like to know how you replaced a head gasket for $14. It's usually more like $700. Are you sure you're not talking about a valve cover gasket? They're two very different things.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I'm not going to get into a pissing match with you here, but two things before I rest my case ...

    (1) GM would not have issued a recall on the head gaskets if mine were a rare case. They've had enough complaints to make them issue a recall. You don't offer to fix tens of thousands of cars at $600 a pop out of your pocket unless you did something wrong.

    (2) I own a 2000 Protege with 28,000 miles on the odometer. No (zero) problems. By the time we had reached 28,000 miles on the Cavalier, we'd already replaced the alternator, two stereos, all the belts and a broken headlight switch. I also owned a 1992 Mazda Protege. I drove that car 83,000 miles in only 27 months (more than 100 miles a day) delivering pizzas. Also, never one problem with that car. None! You won't find me believing any of your statistics (not that you mentioned any) when I have the proof in my driveway.

    But in case you're one of those guys who believes everything he reads, then here's a link for you. Notice how there are NO Chevrolet products in the "Good Bets" category, and there are NO Mazda products in the "Reliability Risks" category. Oh well.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Unfortunately your experience alone is not statistically significant. Chevrolet rates higher than Mazda in quality and satisfaction (according to JD Power). That said, there is no doubt some models of Cavaliers have problems. I'm not trying to minimize your experience and I don't blame you for buying something else. I'm only trying to say that Cavaliers are not bad cars in general.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    My best friend has a 1996 Cavalier right now. It blew its transmission right at 100,000 miles. The water pump went 4 times, the struts went at 100K as well. The thing rattles, bangs, and clanks like a 10 year old car. I had a 1996 Cavalier myself about 2 years ago, and had nothing but trouble with it. From brake problems, to stalling, to check engine lights every time I turned around. I am not trying to talk down Cavaliers, but almost everyone I know (and I know a bunch of people who have had them) has trouble with them.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    everybody has a " my friend has one and it was awful' type of story. Leave it alone, you got your Mazda, live happy and don't stress, trying to convince ANYONE that their point is wrong or right is a waste of time and energy. Some Cavaliers have problems, some Mazdas have problems, and some Hondas have problems, it's a car for Christs sake get over it and move on. Good luck with whatever you own. :-)
  • You really can't seriously be comparing Chevys with Mazdas! ROFL
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Well, I've had to consecutive Cavaliers, my mom had a Cavalier and one of my best friends had one and all were fine. Nope, they aren't perfect and ya they probably have more problems than a Civic, but they are pretty good on average.

    I hope the next generation compact from Chevy isn't called a Cavalier. I think they need a new name as it should be a big improvement.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I went to the J.D. Power website and found that the Protege ranked higher than the Cavalier.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    You are obviously bitter so it's difficult to have a civil conversation with you.

    Yes Protoge ranks a little higher, but Mazda as a whole ranks lower than Chev in both customer satisfaction and quality in general. I had a 626 for a short time and although the car was ok, Mazda used to fight every warranty claim. That all said, just be happy with your new car and enjoy it. Life is too short to let stuff like that get you all down and out.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    When I was telling you that I've had three Proteges, we've also had two Cavaliers. The last one was a 1991, and by 60,000 miles it was leaking transmission fluid and antifreeze like a sieve. The dashboard visibly shook at idle and the car belched smoke like a transit bus. Funny how my 1992 Protege went 83,000 miles and was driven much harder (for pizza delivery) and it was still behaving like a relatively new car when I sold it (bad mistake).

    Dindak, I just spent the better part of a half-hour going through the last several hundred posts in this topic to see if my gasket problem is, in fact, an isolated case as you claim it is. Seems it isn't. The following people have also had to replace their head gaskets due to GM's "hidden recall" and some have had to foot the bill themselves:

    216591 (post 99)
    vcjumper (post 172)
    geena19 (post 187)
    anunnqi (post 190)
    treasguy (post 191)
    buyingimpala (post 192)
    tommy100 (post 391)
    jenny14 (post 441)
    onepumpkin (post 443)
    tony22r (post 512)
    occupant1 (post 559)
    vocus (many posts)

    ... and that's just in the "sedans" Cavalier topic. I haven't checked the "coupes" section for the 2-doors, or the Z24 topic, or any of about another half-dozen topics I could check.

    It's funny how in almost all of those cases referenced above, either you or your compatriot Cavalier cheerleader, malibu99, has jumped right on top of the complainant and told them it was an isolated case or some version of "hey, these are economy cars -- what do you expect?" Sorry, I expect a car that will outlast its payments for $12,000.

    As I searched the posts, I found several posts from you yourself calling the current-generation Cavalier "crude," "rough compared to the Protege," and "out-of-date." You even recommended Mazda to someone in post 210.

    I think it all comes down to what American car buyers call quality. Post 540 sums it up completely:

    "My 1997 Cavalier with 53k miles has not given me a lot of trouble and has proven to be reliable so far. Problems were wiper motor that took 3 tries to fix, 2 recalls, replacing the tiny front brakes every 2 years along with a set of rotors, coolant temp sensor, and the usual American made squeaks and rattles."

    I wouldn't stand for that in a car that has only 53,000 miles on it, and I certainly would NOT call the above list of problems "not a lot of trouble" and "reliable."

    Last thing: You got all over me last year when my SECOND head gasket was installed by my dealer using old head bolts, and I complained. You said: "But they fixed it under warranty, so GM did it's part. The dealership screwed up from there." Well, now TWO head gaskets later, fixed correctly, it seems GM's "warranty" isn't worth the paper it's written on -- and the problem is not in the head gasket. Do you really expect a by-god Chevy part, signed by Mr. Goodwrench himself, to last only 4,000 miles, not once, but THREE TIMES?

    When is GM going to admit that they manufactured an inferior head, machined of aluminum that is too thin, that warps when heated and blows head gaskets? They won't, but they haven't fooled me. They've lied to me and lost my business. I really expected a brand-new car, whose oil I've changed every 3,000 miles, whose recommended maintenance I've followed to a "T," to last more than 42,000 miles without having thousands of dollars in problems -- and the same problems over and over again. Yes, you're damned right I'm bitter.

    I find it hard to believe this "coincidence" you refer to as my head gasket problem is truly so coincidental when so many others here have had the exact same problem. Go read any other topic and see how many people are complaining about head gasket failures in such low-mileage cars. This problem has been documented not only by consumer agencies but by GM itself. Why are you denying it? I don't need any more proof than the now-worthless letter from GM sitting in my file cabinet at home. You'll defend Chevy to the death -- why? And if Cavaliers are so great, why are you now driving an Oldsmobile?

    I think I've made my point here. Seeing your history of posts, I don't expect you to do anything but try to have the last word. So here's mine -- our final Cavalier will be sold this month, and you won't have to deal with my head gasket complaints anymore -- but you will see more head gasket complaints. I guarantee it.

    Have a nice life!

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Like I said, I think you are simply too wound up about this whole thing so I can't really talk to you. I will say that I NEVER mentioned the head gasket in any of my posts. I NEVER denied there was a problem ever. I think you are mixing me up with someone else. There is probably a problem, but I haven't had any.

    Question for you is.. if you were so displeased with your first Cavalier, why did you buy another?

    As for GM, the Cavalier is it's oldest design on the road and should have been replaced years ago. Unfortunately the truck market is much more profitable for them so that is where they put the development money. GM makes good cars and trucks in general and Cavalier although ok IMO, is probably the weakest car in the line up.

    My advice to you is enjoy your Mazda and relax. I never said you made a bad choice and in fact the Protoge would be on my shopping list today if I was looking for a small car. I really like the new hatchback.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... because my wife's mom worked at a local Chevrolet dealer at the time and got my wife a good deal.

    By the way, as a parting thought, let me quote to you what the GENERAL MANAGER of Whitlow Chevrolet here in Richmond, Virginia, just said to me over the phone. Maybe this will shed some light on how much trust she places in the product her dealership sells:

    "We don't build them. We just sell them."

    See ya.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    You say get over it and move on. If you were in the situation where MD is right now, you telling me you wouldn't be mad? If someone told you to your face they can't fix your car for the same thing a THIRD time and then said "we just sell them, we don't build them", you wouldn't be mad? Put yourself in his position with a car with only 53,000 miles on it and all these problems.

    And yes, Mazdas do have problems. Every car has problems. But some cars have more problems than others do. It's the crappy customer service that's the problem with Chevy it seems. And also inferior products, which they knew because they kept the 2.2 head gasket problems secret as long as they could. That's messed up and not fair.

    You know what I had a service technician tell me about my Cavalier when I had it? He said to me, "why don't you just drive the car and enjoy it?" when I took it in for brake problems. I WENT OFF right in the dealership. I got him fired that day for his comment. And I told him to his face, "now I am going to enjoy this".
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I can't blame you for being hot under the collar with that comment. I would take an ad out in the local paper highlighting my problems, and use everything but the name of the dealership (name, phone, location, and all). That way, they can't get you in any legal trouble for it. That would teach them.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    But I'm not going to spend ANY more of my time and money on this car, even if it's only to get back at the dealer. Dindak and his minions can say all they want about legendary Cavalier quality, and that's great. If Canada's like the U.S., they are free to think any way they want and own anything they want. As for me, I'll exercise my right to freedom of expression and speak with my wallet. Chevrolet, GM and Whitlow all lost a customer for life today. Too bad. All they had to do was treat their customer with a little respect, but no one even offered to help. All they did was make excuses. That's really sad, especially in today's economy when car makers are having to almost give cars away to get customers.


    P.S. I did get the e-mail address of a contact at NHTSA and left him my service record and a few links to people who've had similar problems. NHTSA does perform investigations on multiple complaints of a similar nature; we'll see what happens. But whatever outcome there is won't affect us very much. We'll probably have a Protege5 in our driveway by Christmas.
  • It's funny that any time someone in here has a problem they get "it's just a fluke" "you must've just gotten a bad one". Well it seems to me that considering the limited number of people who post in these forums there is a little more to it than people just getting bad cars. I myself just read about 100 posts and I think about half of them had some kind of problem.

    It's also strange that out of the 20 cars we have had in the last 6 years the only one that was purchased new that required warranty work was a 2000 Chevy Silverado 5.3.
    Let's see....
    1. The frame around the rear sliding window cracked. This is a common problem with these vehicles. Did they find a solution? No, they replaced it with an aftermarket sliding rear window.

    2. The throttle body was sticking. They did repair this. But it needed a new throttle body with less than 500 miles on it. And it required 2 trips to the dealer to get it repaired correctly.

    3. Brakes juttered. Brand new truck required new brakes.

    4. Also while we should've noticed it when we bought it the truck had rail dust all over the paint.

    5. When it was traded at 7,000 miles and 2 oil changes for a 94 LS400 the transmission was clunking when turning corners at low speeds.

    We were done with this vehicle at that point after owning several high mileage Hondas that had zero problems. The Lexus runs like a champ and required only a transmission fluid flush and 2 new tires with 113,000 miles on it.

    We also had a 97 Toyota RAV4, a 98 Civic EX, a 99 Accord EX 4 cylinder, and a 01 Accord EX V6 that were purchased new and none of them required anything other than oil changes. Same with every used Honda/Acura/Toyota that we have owned. I guess we just got a bad one too. But if you look at the GMC/Chevy Silverado forums these problems were run of the mill, we just couldn't adjust to making unscheduled trips to the dealer and were afraid of what the after-warranty experience might be like. All of the problems that we had were listed in the forum as typical problems with that particular truck. So don't even try the "you just got a bad one".

    A friend at work has a 97 Cavalier Z24 ... it too had to have an engine replaced so I definitely don't want to hear that the head gasket problem is a rare occurence because it's not. A short visit to this forum should be all it takes to disuade someone from purchasing this problem ridden, out-dated car when there are much better choices out there.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... how some Edmunds car topics are filled with enthusiasts, for the most part -- people who discuss how much they enjoy their cars, the kinds of accessories they're adding, etc. -- while other topics, such as this one, consist almost entirely of people coming in seeking solutions for problems -- only to get told "it's a car for Christs sake get over it and move on" by the small, defend-it-to-the-death gestapo faction that will not consider that the person actually may have a valid concern. Yeah, the car was built by GM -- there's no way a big ol' friendly American automaker could have made a big boo-boo and lied to cover it up, now is there? Not since, oh say, the side-mounted truck gas tank dilemma? Or the Ford Pinto?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I don't want to make you feel bad but i do my own work.Took the head off with everything on & the valve cover gasket was neoprene so used it over.Bought the head gasket at Advance Auto Parts for $14.Changed the oil & filter but chalked that up to normal maintenance.It costs me more to change my transmission oil & filter than to replace a head gasket on a 2.2.40,000 miles later i sold the car and the gasket was still good.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Joe -- If it's that simple a fix, why do the dealers charge close to $1,000 to fix it? Yet another example of being reamed by the big GM?

    (Really, thanks for the advice. I do certain things myself but never tried tackling a head gasket before. But I may look into it if the leak affects our trade-in value a lot.)

    BTW dindak, I'm not that wound up that I can't carry on a conversation. You keep coming back and repeating that I'm too wound up to have a conversation with. On the contrary, it appears to me that some people would rather not carry on a conversation with me since I am understandably passionate about this problem. I will not "relax and enjoy my Protege" while that worthless heap of Detroit crap still sits next to it in the driveway. Bitter? You betcha! Even more now! Why?

    "We don't build 'em, we just sell 'em!"

    Thanks Vocus -- I think any of us (those of us who are honest, that is) would be bitter too if they'd just been told to "suck it up" and pay close to a thousand bucks for the third incidence of the exact same problem in 54,000 miles! What -- should I happily pay my kilobuck and start saving my pennies so I can do it AGAIN in 6,000 miles? That's how long the last two lasted each! What would you do?

    Hey -- one new head gasket repair every 6,000 miles -- that comes to 17 cents a mile! At our average of 12,000 miles a year, that's $170 a month! I'd better start my "Head Gasket Piggy Bank" right away!!! Funny; the monthly payment on the old Cav was only slightly higher than that. Yep -- Chevy Cavalier ... the gift that keeps on taking!

    Am I supposed to calm my rage toward GM by knowing the the Cavalier is the "weakest link?" Excuse me, but the 12 grand we put toward the Cavalier meant just as much to us as the 12 grand somebody might put into an S10 pickup (which by the way is no pinnacle on the reliability scale either). Since when does GM get to pick which vehicles it takes the time to build right and which vehicles it dumps on the public with manufacturing defects? What an excuse.

    How fast has my opinion of GM products fallen in the last year?

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    JD Power's #1 compact pick up for initial quality - S-10 pickup.

    Name calling and misquoting me is really showing how emotional you obviously are. I think you really need to take a step back and get a grip. Your experience with a GM car is not everyone elses. I thought you sold the Cavalier?

    I've tried to be nice and have a civil conversation, but I can't obviously say anything you aren't going rip to shreds.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I am sorry, but I have to agree with MD. I would be royally pi$$ed too if my head gasket went 3 times within a year or so. And the mileage on the car has only increased by like 5000 in that year, so that's even more a reason for the gasket not to be blowing left and right. To me it is anyway.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    If you look back at my past posts you will see I clearly said, "I don't blame you for being mad and buying something else". All I'm just saying GM and American cars are not all crap like he says. I've driven both Japanese cars and American and nither is clearly superior in general.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I've always loved that survey. Initial quality measures how well the manufacturer lived up to delivering a vehicle with no defects. But all vehicles come with warranties to take care of any initial glitches. How about something more important to car buyers, like long-term reliability? I'll refer you back to the same link I posted the other day:

    You use your consumer sources, I'll use mine. We can back ourselves up to the bitter end. And speaking of misquoting ... I never said I've sold the Cavalier. Geesh, I just said yesterday I was going to sell it ... it takes a few days to clean up the green mess under the hood, give it a bath and get it ready for trade-in inspection! We'll probably try to wait until the end of the month -- oughta be an incredibly rich buyer's market then!

    And another misquote on your part ... I never said my Cavalier experience was everyone else's either -- but I don't have to. Dozens of folks have posted this common Cavalier problem on Edmunds topics anyway! And GM itself admitted it! So YOU get over it -- no matter whether I said it or not, it IS a common problem. I don't think I've been unlucky having this problem -- I think YOU have been LUCKY not having it.

    And there you go again -- the third time today, I think -- calling me emotional. Why do you keep harping on that? Yes, I AM EMOTIONAL! Wouldn't you be too, if you had a car that bites you in the financial derriere every six months? Remember ...

    "We don't build 'em, we just sell 'em!"


  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    There you go misquoting me again. I never said GM and American cars were all crap. If you can remember last year, I said the exact opposite TO YOU, sir. September 15, 2000 ... Post 284, if you'd like to check it. I said:

    "No, all GM cars aren't crap. My dad and stepmom both have Buick Rivieras and they're fine. My experience, however, makes me hesitate to buy anything built in America ever again ..."

    I maintain that opinion. Once bitten, twice shy ... I had a shred of hope after last year's second head gasket replacement -- I hoped that maybe this time it was fixed. But I was wrong, and now I (ME) (MYSELF) (JUST ME) (NOT YOU) (NOR ANYONE ELSE ON THIS TOPIC) (WARNING: FOLLOWING PHRASE IS MY OPINION) (YOUR OPINION MAY VARY) prefer not to take the chance with GM ever again.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's just try to focus on the car instead of quoting each other and arguing about it, okay?

    Sedans Message Board
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You're right; there's no need to continue this. Especially since I'm getting rid of the Cavalier. I'm finished beating this dead horse (the topic, not the car.)


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