1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Reviews - Page 2 of 16

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 2.4 liter from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.4 liter Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Previous carHonda Prelude

Summary:

Has been a great car for me

Faults:

Water pump.

Radiator.

Coil pack.

Air conditioning.

C.V. joint.

Distributor package.

Headlight switch.

Sunroof.

General Comments:

Have had the Z24 for 15 years.

For the many things that have went wrong, it been a great car.

Very quick.

Decent gas mileage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th March, 2011

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier 2.2 from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.2 Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.5 / 10
Distance when acquired79800 miles
Most recent distance105500 miles

Summary:

I got this car for cheap... and now I know why

Faults:

Had to replace alternator at around 83,000 miles.

Had to replace gas tank at around 85,000 miles.

Had to replace radiator at around 90,000 miles.

Had to replace head gasket at around 95,000 miles.

Had to replace brake lines at around 98,000 miles.

Had to replace battery and alternator at around 100,000.

Had to replace exhaust system at 105,000 miles.

General Comments:

Seats are uncomfortable.

Acceleration is poor, it takes forever to accelerate on the highway.

Cargo room is not that great, but it is OK for a car this size.

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

Review Date: 27th January, 2011

27th Jan 2011, 14:26

Hopefully you've replaced enough components now to where it won't any more work for awhile. The head gasket was a major one. You might as well check the timing chain too, and replace THAT if necessary.. Do that, and maybe you can make it to 200k miles and get your money's worth back out of it.

27th Jan 2011, 22:35

The Cavalier with the 2.2 litre 4 cylinder engine was notorious for head gasket failure. GM used the same 2.2 engine in the Corsica also, and it also had head gasket failure. My dealer told me GM made a design change to the exhaust manifold to make it fit into these two passenger cars, by shortening the exhaust tubes, so the entire unit sat closer to the engine. The result was head gasket failure on both cars due to the heat buildup from the manifold.

GM also used the same 2.2 litre 4 cylinder engine in the S-10 pick up. The S-10 did not have the short exhaust manifold, but had a longer exhaust manifold, which did not sit as close to the engine block and cylinder head. The S-10 did not have head gasket failure.

Everyone I knew who had a Cavalier or Corsica with the 2.2 litre 4 cylinder engine has complained about head gasket failure.

13th Dec 2011, 13:30

1997 Chevy Cavaliers and prior were junk. 1998 and later was a lot better, because they redesigned the heads, and they did not eat head gaskets.

Also, the GM DEXCOOL was a joke. It ate away at the head gasket, because there is a coolant jacket at the corners of the motors, and instead of eating through the fire ring at the cylinders (thank god for the consumer they did not), they ate at the gasket, and they leaked externally.

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Base 2.2L OHV from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.2L OHV Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.5 / 10
Distance when acquired155000 miles
Most recent distance170000 miles
Previous carDodge Shadow

Summary:

It's a standard 4 cylinder car that just needs a little TLC

Faults:

I've performed a complete tune up.

Replaced all wheel bearings.

Had to replace the tranny because the previous owner left the pan loose, and all fluid drained out... XP.

All brake components

Needs all new strut mounts and mount bearings.

Timing chain tensioner.

Idler pulley.

A/C pump clutch.

Runs hot..

General Comments:

I have had to do a lot of repairs on my Cavvy, but I do like the engine and transmission used in these cars. The few common flaws they do have are usually easily fixed..

Just to clarify, all the parts I've had to replace were either far beyond due a replacement, or were not properly maintained by the previous owners.

Since I've owned it, I've taken very good care of it, and through personal experience, I discovered these quirks about the vehicle..

Biggest one: The torque converter lockup clutch tends to go faulty, making the car jerk and buck like it's misfiring when you're cruising with a steady foot down the road. The fix is to unplug the light blue plug on the top of the tranny's bell housing, reachable from the front of the car. You'll get worse gas mileage, but the jerking will stop.

Next: ABS light is often on because the tire speed sensor in one or more tires is faulty, or the wiring to the sensors is shorted... to replace the sensor, you must replace the entire hub assembly.. If your dash lights or other lights tend to flicker when you press the brake pedal, there's a good chance you have a short somewhere in your brake wiring..

Then: tippity tapping noises like crazy! Solutions; Use only recommended 5w30 conventional motor oil in the engine, and stick with what the car likes. If the tapping is coming from the left/pulley end of the engine, it's time to replace your timing components.. I suggest replacing all possible components (about $50-100 for parts), because if you just replace the tensioner or chain, a small unrecognizable flaw in the sprockets could quickly cause new parts to wear down.

Overheating: First thing to check is to get all the air out of the system... GM built a special bolt in the cooling system to purge the air... if you don't, the air bubble will settle against the thermostat, and since the air doesn't transfer the heat to the thermostat as well as coolant, the thermo opens late, allowing the engine to overheat..

Beyond that, it's a regular cooling system.. flush it, refill it, purge the air, check for leaks or bad hoses... if it's none of those things, you've probably got a clog.

Bottom line: The 96 Cavvy has a simple, straightforward design that is very reliable if maintained, but destroyed quickly if not tended to.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2010

13th Dec 2011, 13:37

Unplugging your torque converter clutch solenoid is a good way to kill the transmission. The transmission not only goes into overdrive for gas mileage, but at the same time it allows the fluid to cool off, because the fluid is not getting heated up by the torque converter, and is redirected to the trans cooler under the radiator. Why not just drop the pan and fix the real problem, instead wasting gas and the transmission.

Average review marks: 6.8 / 10, based on 71 reviews