I'm from the Philippines. We also have a 2004 Chevy Optra 1.6 liter AT. I got it 2 years ago. It's not that bad... because the after sales department here in the Philippines had a better way of fixing the problems.
I bought my Optra 1.6 last year. Same problem here. Less than six months, the battery goes dead. To make it cheaper, they used a NON-maintenance free battery, which is so unlike their peers.
Brakes were also a problem. There is some slippage on the pedal. And all the service center could offer was cleaning. that's crazy. I don't drive in the Mohabi desert. How can it be that dirty in one year?
The Optra's engine is defintely NOT quiet. Last month, when I started the car, the whole body shook and the smell of gas filled the air. The vibration continued and I had to bring it to the service center. But that's less than 2 years.
It scares me to think what would happen when the warranty runs out. These guys are so confident about their warranties that they forget that the buyer does not want to use the warranty.
Overall, I think the Optra is a poor buy. Caveat Emptor.
I bought my Optra 1.6A brand new in April 2004. I travel long distance weekly between Singapore and KL, and occasionally up to Penang. To date, my mileage is past 201000km. I have looked after my workhorse pretty regularly every 10k - 12k intervals. Done my usual maintenances and to date have changed my timing belt and water pump 3 times; brake pads a few times; tyres thrice; the usual wear and tear.
The only annoying thing after driving my car for so long and so far is my headlamps keep burning out even when I use the recommended Philips 55W H7 bulbs. I guess I must have changed this at least 5 times; pretty annoying especially when I depend so much on the lights as I usually travel at night.
So for me, the Optra is even more reliable and surefooted than any Toyota Corolla, which I have also owned some time before. I have owned different makes of cars over the years: Suzuki Swift, Honda Civic, Nissan March, Ford Laser and so I think I know these cars pretty well; the good and the bad. Those who have a poor experience with your Optras, my sympathy goes to you. Probably you are just plain unlucky or maybe you selected the wrong workshop with inexperienced mechanics who pretend to know what they are doing. By the way, I usually average a speed of 120-150km/h when on the North-South Highway. Consumption-wise: anything between 8km to 14km per litre. When I am in the city where traffic jams occur, consumption is higher, needless to say. So you if you ramming your gas paddle most of the time in the city, how can you expect low consumption?
Hope this will encourage those contemplating on the Optra.
Yea I faced the same problem with the Chev Optra. The car keeps jerking and when I bring it to the service center, no one knows how to repair it. They were pushing it from one technician to another, then when it's over the warranty they blamed me for not bringing it to the service centre for an earlier service. Now, they are charging me extra.. were those parts so expensive until they had to cheat me like that? Poor me.. I should have never trust Chevrolet.. huh..
I have a 2005 Optra sedan, which is actually made by Daewoo (I'm sure if you look at the windows or the markings just under the hood you'll see "Daewoo" or on the windows "gmdat"). The car is sold world wide as the Holden Viva I think, and the Suzuki Forenza/Reno or the Buick Excelle, Daewoo Lacetti and the Chevrolet Lacetti (France) This car is being replaced (in Canada at least) by another Daewoo car called the "CHEVROLET CRUZE"; it's the Lacetti premium or something. It's quite the looker and has great reviews. If you are considering another car, I'd recommend the "Daewoo Lacetti" or whatever it will be called in your country!
So as for the headlights burning out all the time, I'm sure it's because someone touched the light bulb itself! If you touch those light bulbs, they burn out REALLY fast! So when installing them (which I know is near impossible to do on an Optra, as I have attempted myself! - Just take it to a dealer.) just be sure that no one touches them.
As for the engine knocking, it is the fuel I'm fairly sure! I took my Optra to Mexico (I live in Canada!) for a random road trip and went to this gas station I had never heard of before and filled up, then later read online that that gas station has bad gas! My car was knocking all the time 'till I filled it up in the states!
My car is a 2005 Optra sedan, and filling it with premium gas really helps the mileage. Also, I would recommend getting the oil changed every 4-5 thousand kilometers! Also, if you have the money, use synthetic oil! It's MUCH better for your car and will ensure its longevity!
I live in Toronto, don't get snow there, and the family lives in Ottawa, I drive up every few weekends (500km) and have yet to have a problem with my car. It handles great in the snow, and in the city or the beach in Toronto!
Anyways, all in all this car is a GREAT buy. It handles GREAT. You just have to know what you are doing I suppose, or better yet, find a dealer who knows what they are doing. I'd recommend before bringing your Optra in to be serviced, researching the dealer online, and seeing what other people's experiences have been with them.
Thanks for reading.
I bought My 2004 Optra used on Sept 25 08, and it only has 44000KM on it, and the clutch slave cylinder went, and no warranty covers it.
I have a leased Chevy Optra. I have had it for almost three years and have 1 more year on my lease (August 2010).
Intermittently over the past two years my Optra will decide not to work. (the vehicle will not turn over) If I leave it sit over night, it will start up, no problem the next day.
It is not a vehicle I can rely on, as I can never be sure when this may occur!!!
As soon as my lease is up it will be turned in.
Service department could not find the problem just told me to let them know when it happens again!!
As I am sending this comment, my vehicle is in the service department, wonder what the dealership will do for me this time!!!
April 28, 2009.
I have an 04 Optra 5 dr and very unhappy with it. I love my little car, but I just wish I didn't have to repair it like it was 20 yrs old. I have had other techs tell me I got a lemon. At least none of you have had the joy of turning off your car and walking away with your keys, only to find out that your car is still running, your alarm going off at 3 am, and head lights going out left right and center. I have actually emailed GM about this car.