I owned a 1992 Cavalier in the past and I loved the car. It was my parent's car before mine. I traded it in at 162,000 miles and the largest repair I had to make on the car was spark plugs at about 140,000 miles, so I thought another cavalier would be a good choice, I was wrong.
I bought this car brand new at a dealership. I was very excited at first. About the first 2 years I loved this car.
I drove a lot of miles to get to work, sixty miles each way (all highway). At 60,000 miles, my fuel pump went out on me. It happened right around Christmas and I was about 60 miles away from my house. I didn't want to pay for a tow, so my car sat in the parking lot of work over Christmas until a relative had time to tow it to a repair place near our house.
Then, I have had numerous problems after that. The next thing was the spark plugs at about 100,000 miles.
Then there was the struts. I drove it dangerously way to long with this problem. I believe it started at about 110,000 miles.
At about 125,000 miles the A/C stopped working and it needed a new condenser. I didn't even repair it. It would have cost me about $900.
At about 135,000 miles the ABS light started to come on. I could drive 5 miles or 100 miles before this light would come on, but once it came on it stayed on. I tested it one night last winter when it was snowing. I hit my brakes when the light was on and I had no ABS.
At about 140,000 miles the E-Brake light started flashing. I never use my E-Brake, so I thought that this was odd. About the same time this started my rear defrost stopped working.
Then at about 140,000 miles the transmission fluid started leaking, that cost me about $200.00 to fix.
At about this same time my oil started leaking, which is another $200 to fix.
So, to wrap it up. This car is six years old. It acts like it is about ten or fifteen years old. I know it has a lot of miles on it, but most of them are highway miles and the first major thing that went wrong with it was at 60,000 miles and the car was fairly new then.
My suggestion is if you are looking to buy a used car, do not buy a cavalier, you will have more headaches than with many other cars out there.
If you are looking to spend about 12,000 or so on a new car, do not by a Cobalt (which is the new version of a cavalier, since they don't make cavaliers any more). I wouldn't trust it. I think for about that much money you could get a nice 2-4 year old higher class car with pretty low miles on it and be more comfortable and happy. Also, if you look at Kelly Blue Book, the cavalier is one of the worst cars for retaining it's value over time.
I don't think Chevy makes cars like they used to because the repairs on my 1992 Cavalier were minimal to the money and the things that went wrong with this car.