2004 Chevrolet Aveo from North America


Thank goodness that I evidently got a good one

General Comments:

I like the way it sits and handles, but that is personal.

Good mpg (in the 30s), but not for power-hungry drivers (dropped to 29 in the middle of winter, short town drives, up again in warm as is usual with most cars; I just had front-end alignment and the mpg went from 33 to 35; don't know whether due to summer and longer trips, or alignment, but although the mechanic said it hadn't been bad, it did seem to steer slightly better afterward).

It has a crank to raise the seat, which is handy to position the head looking out the middle of the driver's side of the windshield.

Full sized spare tire well, with a donut-tire inside. I got a real spare tire on a real rim, and it fits in the spare well. I had to cut top from the styrofoam jack-holder (sits within the upside-down spare tire) to make it fit into a real spare (handy also to have a piece of thick metal as a bottom support for jack in case of need; car-makers never think of this; I made one myself).

Key has a chip and will not start without it, and a spare key costs lots at a dealership - however, that is better than what I did: chip key does not register as such in the key center at hardware store, so I had a spare made, which promptly got stuck in the ignition lock (not their fault; but I later warned them against this type of car, re key). Had to get new ignition lock, now have sets of keys, one for doors and one for ignition. Don't go this route. Beware of key problems with this car.

Speedometer could have been placed a bit to the left of where it is; its placement is that when right hand is on steering wheel, in standard position, and driving gloves on (in cold weather), can block its view at times from driver.

The odometer is digital, and hard to read unless the real headlights are on. Daytime running lights tend to fool one into thinking that the lights are on at night (I have had the habit for years of turning full lights on in rainy weather anyway, and still do). I have seen others who have been misled by daytime running lights; what good is a "safety" feature that may be unsafe? Check the dashboard panel to make sure the lights are on.

Center brake light really could have been mounted instead on bottom of rear window, as its position on top tends to block a bit of far-off view (I am used to an old station wagon with wide glass rear window which let me see rear way off).

Rear seat head rests blocked some view, so I removed them and store them in a bag under the front passenger seat in case I ever have a rear seat passenger, will install them for that.

Locking system is a bit crazy - the driver side door lock controls all door locks, whether you want it or not. I'd have designed it better. Should have choice as to locking trunk, but no such choice (the trunk light comes on whatever door is open, not just the trunk door, so I put in a switch to fix that).

Beware of lifting car by rocker-panel lips; they can mash (at least in the middle-rear; I think the dealer did that, the former maintainer did not recognize that one. I had it fixed, and do not plan to have that dealer lift the car again). In the back, the big beam between the wheel and the body support seems strong enough. I tend to use wheel supports when in doubt, if they are strong enough. If one looks underneath, one can see that the places the little divets are, toward the extreme front and rear of rocker panels, are reinforced more than most of it, and I think these may be the jack points (the driver manual says nothing about it).

I like the car better than I liked the (non-Chevy) dealer. I had just bought a case of engine oil and an oil filter, and met the guy who recognized the car (by its very small dents and dings) - his wife was the former owner and he had maintained it well, and I liked him. It's nice to know that a used vehicle has been taken care of by its previous drivers. I plan to take care of it, and keep a little book for its records.

The only thing I really hate is the stupidly set up "security system." If you put another key (such as a spare key that isn't a programmed chip key) in the ignition, it will get stuck and you have to get another ignition lock. I'd had a "spare" key made, but it wasn't a chip key, so got stuck. After the new ignition lock, I then had a proper spare ignition key made, and when the guy programmed it, he said don't carry the spare (old) door key on the key chain as otherwise I'd someday get mixed up and put it into the ignition, so now I have to use the button to lock (and unlock) the car (I hate the automatic button system, and the noises it makes when it locks up). I'd much rather have a simple non-security system, or one that gives a person a choice.

People write that customers choose cars with the features they want, but that is just not true; they often do not know all the features and do not have unlimited choices, and can get stuck with features that some idiot in designing thought would be cute to include, but which turns out to be a nuisance. It is amazing that with all the computer systems in cars, that they cannot even make a little pad where one can, when the key is in the accessory position, program certain choices of features, which could be sorted by menu, thence by number, the numbers could be listed by their features in the drivers manual. But they don't, and you have to put up with the choices they make for you. Otherwise, I like the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th May, 2009

23rd Oct 2010, 10:52

This is an addendum to what I wrote about it a year or 2 ago: The Aveo tends to be sensitive to slight changes in front end alignment. I had it done twice (this due to potholes in roads), and a co-worker, who bought a new 2009 Aveo, had tires wear due to this. They seem to be fine after they get front-end alignment (each time the shop guys said it hadn't been out by much, but each time I could tell in the steering and handling that it was so much better afterward). Solution is to watch out for this and simply get it realigned whenever necessary.

Sometimes a tiny pebble gets stuck in the front brakes by the pad, and it causes a screech (the pads were fine). The first time the shop guy found it, popped it out. The second time I backed up and the pebble popped out by itself.

Spare rims: I got spare rims (for snow tires in winter) from a junkyard off a junked 2000 Daewoo Nubira, which had the same exact wheels (size, lug-nut distances, hub-hole diameter, and shape as I checked with a template I'd cut out of cardboard that fits into back of rim to make sure of the fit). I found that snow tires on rear (as well as front) help keep it from swinging around in a spinout, which happened once without rear snows, and which can be hazardous. It is better to have all 4 snow tires.

2004 Chevrolet Aveo from North America


I won't buy one again


Most recently, the interference engine melted when the timing belt broke. Note to self: Change timing belt before 60,000 miles. A couple hundred buck versus a few thousand to replace the engine.

Front door locks fell into the door first year or two. I've noticed other Aveos with empty lock holes as well.

Gas cap broke off, of course.

General Comments:

Another Aveo driver recently pulled up alongside me at a light in town.

"Looks like you have a piece of crap, too," she called through her open window. "My gas cap's broke, too."

On the bright side, the Aveo took my teenagers across the nation to New York, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Amarillo, Las Vegas and back to home in Reno, Nevada.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th April, 2009

18th Dec 2009, 19:47

The interference engine can't "MELT" when the timing belt breaks; all that happens is the valves get damaged. I've never seen an engine melt in my life.