1996 Chevrolet Cavalier from North America


Generally, this is a great car


The main reason which I am writing is that I need some help. I know that this is probably an easy thing to find, but for some reason no one has been able to find my transmission dipstick. Either it has been broken off by the previous owners, or there is some other way of changing and filling the transmission fluid. I have a feeling if I don't find it soon it could cause a serious problem. If someone could fill me in I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th October, 2004

6th Feb 2006, 18:27


On my 97 cavalier, the transmission dipstick is located to the left (when facing the engine) of the brake master cylinder, and is red.

Good luck!

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 2.4 I4 from North America


Fun to drive, but didn't last past 126,000 miles


A tube in the air conditioning unit got a hole in it because it rubbed against the fender. $100+ to fix.

All new brakes at 80,000 miles or so, then new brake pads and resurfacing of rotors at 110,000.

New tires at 100,000.

Master cylinder on clutch broke away from the firewall, which equaled an non-drivable car. Luckly my father was able to fix this, so the cost of the part was less than $100.

Fan motor relay switch was busted when I first got it. Replaced for $40.

Deimise of the car: At 120,000 miles, I replaced the spark plugs because of poor performace, especially during acceleration. This helped for a few months, but the car got progressivly worse. I took it to the mechanic and told me it was misfiring, and replaces the spark plugs again and the distributor cap. About $150.

The car ran great for a month, then went downhill again. I took it back, and he replaced the distributor cap again along with the coils. Another $150.

It ran poorly after this until the day I got rid of it. Twice I had to have the car towed because it was running on 3 cylinders. All in all I spent over $1500 on the misfiring problem until a GM mechanic told me that he couldn't figure out what the problem was.

General Comments:

Besides for the misfiring problems I had before I got rid of the car, I loved this car. It was peppy and fun to drive. It handled fairly well, and looked great too. I loved the manual transmission on it (I don't think I would have liked the car as much if it was an automatic). I even drove this car in the snow and it got around fairly well (with good all-weather tires).

I really liked this car and would recommend it to someone else in a heartbeat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th September, 2004

23rd Feb 2009, 09:48

Yeah it sounds like they didn't have a clue what they were doing.

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier from North America


It's great to drive to softball practice, or even to visit college -- just not constantly reliable


The first thing that went was the air conditioning.

The interior of the car was not at all classy, nor very comfortable. Also, the fabric was cheap and faded badly in the sunlight. Midwest sunlight...

There were at least two recalls on the 1996 model.

The brakes had a strange problem of "pulsing" in and out when at slow speeds while stopping, ultimately leading to it's demise.

General Comments:

This Cavalier was my first car. We bought it from a private owner that was acquainted with my Mother. It had around 129,000 miles on it already, but it was cheap and I needed a car, so we went for it.

It was a decent first car. I got it my senior year of high school, and drove it until almost the beginning of my sophomore year of college, until a brakes-related wreck totaled it (see below). I took it for short trips across town, as well as for multiple-hour trips to college, etc., and it always did fine.

The car was rather noisy, inside and out, but it was largely due to the amount of miles that were on it, according to the mechanic. I took good care of it, although maybe not as well as I should have. I took it for regular oil changes, and I usually had the mechanics check it out to see what else it could need, and took care of those as well. So, basically, I didn't pamper it, but I do feel I maintained it well.

Over all, there weren't very many small problems. The paint was OK, the stereo...well, it worked, all of the plastic parts on the inside seemed to be of good quality and did not break or warp. It handled decently, although the steering was hypersensitive (which, to some, is not a bad thing). Pickup was decent with one or two people in the car, but any more, and everyone felt the car "grunt" to try and get up to speed.

It definitely was a gas saver, although sometimes I did not feel that the gas gage displayed the correct amount of fuel.

The real problem with this car was the brakes. They had a tendency to, at slow speeds or when the car was cold, pulse in and out, making it almost impossible to stop. This was not the ABS kicking in because I was stopping to quickly, it would happen cruising slowly and cautiously out of parking lots. I had it checked out, but they changed my brake pads and sent me on my merry way when they could not duplicate the problem.

Unfortunately, a few days before I was going to take the car in to be looked at, the brakes had an "episode" while I was stopping at a red light, behind a large, industrial truck. I was going maybe 10 mph at most, and that amount of speed caused the radiator to bust, as well as lots of damage to the front end. This small crash effectively totaled my car. When I told the truck driver what had happened, he took one look at my car and said, "That's a '96, isn't it. My daughter had the same problem with hers, although she got a hefty ticket for running a stop sign when she couldn't stop."

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th September, 2004