13th Nov 2011, 21:06

Bought my Optra LS 2004 in October 2011. It's been now one month since I've had it. My engine light came on with a code : P0342 = cam sensor low. Will be going to a GM garage to fix this problem. It is hard to believe all the problems for this car. Overall, might sell it before more trouble starts.

11th Dec 2011, 17:07

I, too, had the check engine light coming on - after paying the dealership over $120 for the "repair", I found out that if I periodically add Fuel System Cleaner, the problem disappears. This car's sensitive to dirty gas. I drive a 2005 with <36000 km. and it's still going strong. The factory tires were terrible, so I put on Nokian WR-G2s, and wish I had done it sooner.

20th Dec 2011, 14:31

I own a 2004 Optra. Since I've had it, I have replaced the whole clutch and the head gasket. Now the starter is gone. I have spent $5000 Canadian in repairs, and still have one year left to pay.

16th Jan 2012, 19:57

This 2004 Chevy Optra is a piece of work.

Why is the engine light on?

Why do my headlights not work?

Why does my horn not work?

Why does my cruise control not work?

Please help.


24th Jan 2012, 05:46

I've been battling a leaking head gasket since 3 months after I bought my 04 Optra LS, and now the head gasket is finally gone.

I may hold the record for most cans of radiator stop leak put in one car!!

The first 3 months were awesome. Then it overheated, causing the antifreeze to disappear. The dealer told me it's not under warranty, as I was the second owner, and had a pre-owned car warranty.

I'm on just above minimum wage, and pay 325$ a month for this hunk of junk.

Now I'm either going to tear the hunk of junk apart myself and fix it, or beat it with a baseball bat and roll it off a cliff.

I changed the thermostat, because the dealer told me to, but for some reason there's no aftermarkets available, and when you go to Chevy, they don't sell you a 10$ thermostat core, they only sell a 120$ core in the aluminum casing in which it rests.

At inspection time, my resonator in my exhaust had a hole in it, which is normal after 7 years. But again, no one makes aftermarket, and when I call Chevy, they want 1600$ just for the part, and 300$ to install. I had my garage install a 70$ one off a Sunfire.

If there's a law suit, I want in. It's clearly a case of manufacturer's negligence, when everyone has the exact same head gasket problem, and they won't do a damn thing about it.


28th Jan 2012, 00:31

Check the thermostat. That might have jammed from silt in the radiator water.


2nd Feb 2012, 17:47

Recently my 2004 Optra's rear brakes come on suddenly while driving, and the back tires seem to lock up. Mechanic has replaced calipers, struts and brakes shoes. Today this happened 5 or 6 times in about ten minutes, and the RPM was high. Check engine light came on, so I pulled off the side of the road, turned the car off. Ten minutes later I restarted the car and everything was fine. My mechanic has checked and can't find anything wrong - who can tell me what's wrong???

7th Feb 2012, 00:13

Just did the timing belt on my '05 Optra Wagon today. Sounded like a diesel when I took it in. Had to change everything, including tensioners etc. $833. 69,000 km.

Turns out that there is a shield on the water pump that can break loose, and damage the timing belt and accessories. Watch for this noise.

Also, anyone had the steering warning light come on, especially first thing in the morning?

The kids are calling this my EMO car, as it always wants attention!

20th Feb 2012, 19:07

Hey. I have that same problem with mine. Now I find out my crank shaft pulley is broken. Here the plastic shield on the pulley is coming off. It squeals, and when I went to move it today, it seemed as if the car was ready to take off without hesitation.

Plus I'm having a hard time finding parts.

9th Mar 2012, 15:54

Hello, I seem to be having the same problem everyone else is. Just had spark plugs and ignition wires changed in my car, and a week later the check engine light was on again. Turned off the car and it disappeared. A week later, the same thing happened, so I took it back to my garage, and they told me no code was showing up!!

This morning I went from a flashing light to a solid light, and back again to flashing!! Taking it in on Monday, but thinking maybe it is the head gasket problem most of you are talking about?? If anyone has any suggestions, I would be happy to hear from you. The car has been good up until now; it is a 2004 LS.

Thanks for your help. Sandie.

15th Mar 2012, 17:51

I have a 2005 Optra with 306,000 KM's. No ticking, just oil leaks. This car has gone through seized struts, cracked transmission coolant lines at the radiator, alternator, and front and rear struts.

Two years after the front struts were replaced, now the strut bushings are shot, outer tie rods are gone (twice), electrical problems with the head lights and air bags, and even an annoying ticking in the dash sound to electrical. GM should be a shamed to have a car like this.

18th Mar 2012, 00:48

Do yourself a favour... stay far and away from this car. A lemon is far better than this car.

19th Mar 2012, 07:50

2004 Optra-5 2.0L engine:

Problem no. 1: Engine light on. Code says change O2 sensor, easy enough I guess. I will change it myself.

Problem no. 2 DLR light comes on when I turn on the head-lights. Should the DLR light be on when they are off?

And also, not that it matters, but the digital clock can't keep the time.

Other that that, the motor runs fine, and it is at 110000Km.

23rd Mar 2012, 14:11

Had the same problem. Part was in stock at the dealer. Had it changed in a jobber garage. Total cost: 139$ part, 50$ labor.

Crank shaft pulley is a common problem on those cars BTW.


16th Apr 2012, 06:08

I am actually amazed at how many comments there are. I bought my '04 Optra in August of last year on a student's budget (falsely thinking that getting a newer car would save me repair troubles... little did I know...) and a week after purchase, my check engine light came on. Soon after, I heard a clunking sound from the back of the car whenever I went over small bumps. Then the DRLs would flicker on and off at will, and the clock turns on and off on its own as well.

I had the car fully inspected, and the guy said my check engine light was a result of a loose gas cap (good luck finding a new one, though!), the clunking was from a rusted-through clamp on the exhaust pipe cover, and the DRLs and clock were from a melted electrical panel covered under warranty. I'm nervous about ordering a gas cap online, so I'm just dealing with the check engine light. I have no idea how to fix the rusted clamp, as I can't get under the car far enough, and I can't even begin to imagine how much it would cost me for a shop to fix it, so I clench my teeth and suffer through the clunking. I have yet to go to a dealer to get the electrical panel replaced, mainly because I'm building up enough rage.

Then, surprise surprise, all of a sudden my brakes go. In one 30 minute trip, they went from being firm and responsive to me having to push all the way down to the floor in order to get any sort of friction or stopping power. Popping the hood up revealed to me that I had absolutely no brake fluid left. A trip to Midas, and the guy told me it's my master cylinder. He's looking to get me one online, because the dealer wants to charge $700 for one, and he said he ran into the same problem on the same model just a couple of months ago, and had to search high and low for the part. Until he finds one, though, I'm going through as much brake fluid as I am gas, and I have to top it up every time I need to take a drive.

I'm torn between throwing in the towel on it or just toughing it out. I keep justifying it to myself, thinking that at least I know what the problems are, but when the brakes went, I realized that I have no idea what hidden problems are going to rear their ugly heads, at the very moment I can't afford to fix anything.

I would stay far, far away from the Optra, no matter how enticing the cheap price is. I'm going to think long and hard before I ever buy a GM vehicle again.