26th Dec 2006, 21:48


Our Barina Joy (290k mentioned above) is still giving us issues (to the extent that we also purchased a new Toyota Yaris) and still stops every now and again. After 3 weeks with our local garage we have discovered that despite the orange engine light coming on, no error code is recorded by the computer. It turns out that there are many problems that are not recorded! We have also discovered that this usually indicates a problem with either the distributor, ignition igniter module or a bad connection (most likely on the igniter module).

At this time I haven't replaced either part to fix the problem as it usually restarts without an issue and we are no longer using it as our primary vehicle, however, our local mechanic recommended replacing the ignition module first as it's a brand he hasn't had great experiences with. At around $250, it's cheaper than replacing the distributor.

Hopefully this will help you.

19th Aug 2008, 02:42

Hi I own a 96 GSi with high Ks, 250 plus. Bought it second hand 2 years ago, ran great then I cooked it. Had the head rebuilt and since then it\s been running fine again. Still gets hot in traffic, but that's a Barina for you. Still runs very hard and has plenty of torque; a V8 killer

Only bad comments would be the crap steza and accessibility to repair or service B.B.

21st Nov 2008, 16:24

1995 Holden Barina Opel. Having problems with car appearing to start in third gear only when cold. The sports transmission mode flashes when this occurs. Extremely sluggish off the mark when this occurs and dangerous when trying to accelerate into traffic. I don't have a user manual. Any advice?

13th Jan 2009, 15:01

I'm pretty sure the "overheating" isn't a problem as the gauge is calibrated from 90 degrees to 110 degrees, and this is a reasonable temperature range for a pressurised cooling system.

For the other comments people have made, thanks. Having mine checked over today.

14th Mar 2011, 23:45

Hi, my husband just brought a second hand Holden Barina, Swing 1995.

It rattles while driving, something to do with the exhaust, apparently (the old owner reckons).

It looks as though there is oil leaking around the motor.

Don't think the last owner ever gave it a full service within the last 2 years. Any idea what would be the problem before he has to take it to a mechanic? I've heard they are not cheap to keep maintained.

23rd Mar 2011, 00:00

Hi all, I have a Holden Barina Swing 1997 model EFI. When I start the vehicle cold, no problem, beautiful, but as I engage drive gear, the vehicle cuts dead, like as if you switched the ignition off. When I then put the vehicle into park and try start the vehicle, cranking and cranking until eventually it starts, and a lot of smoke comes out the exhaust, and it gradually gains momentum to run smoothly. Try engage drive gear when holding the accelerator a little high; the vehicle does not cut out. This cannot be the way to go, I need to find the fault, and nobody seems to know.

25th May 2011, 06:18

Hi. I might be a little late to answer this question, but nevertheless this may help someone else.

This issue sounds like a air / back pressure problem. Unbolt the catalytic converter, then start the car and see how it runs. It will be loud of course, but if it runs OK you know that is the problem.

3rd Jun 2011, 21:54


I bought my daughter a 95 XC Manual Barina as her first car. It went well for the first twelve months, and then water started filling the drivers side compartment when she had the air conditioner (AC) on. I found the condensate drain pipe blocked with dust and lint (the engine bay side end is like a duck's bill, which should only open when there's water present). I cleaned it and it was okay, but then started to do it again, and the airbag warning light came on. I investigated, and found the water had been dripping from the AC onto the airbag control unit and caused it to fail. I sprayed it out with electronic cleaner, but no joy.

I took the vehicle to Holden, and one of the staff said it is a common problem on that model, earlier and also later models. It was going to cost $600.00, but after some pushing it was replaced free of charge (when I mentioned that one of their staff had told me it was a common fault). They also cut a V in the AC condensate drain duck's bill.

I then found three months later we had another water leak around the firewall insert where the brake booster is bolted in. With some cleaning and a reseal, it has been effective (another $500.00 job if I had Holden fix it).

The problem I have now is it won't start (and it's not the battery), so I'm going to check the immobiliser first, and then start working through the electrical system. A good safe little car when it's going, but like all cars, a pain when they're not.

7th Jul 2011, 20:55

I have a 1996 Opel Barina. It's a manual and has about 150k on the clock. It was running fine when we got a hold of it about 7 months ago, but about 3 months ago we started having an issue with the car stalling.

The problem goes like this:

- The car will run fine for the first 10 - 15 minutes of driving, won't skip a beat when actually going.

- At some point we'll pull up at lights and it will begin to labour, and the revs will drop down very low and the car will stall.

- To get it started again, you have to put the clutch and the accelerator down to the floor, and it will sputter into life (like it's flooded?)

- At this point I have noticed a lot of dark smoke coming from the muffler (I assume it's burning off excess fuel?).

- I've also had the car in the driveway idling once or twice (before driving it) and noticed that the same thing will happen, except the car won't stall. The revs just drop, it splutters a bit, and then the revs climb above normal for a little while and then level out.

The problem can be avoided by keeping the revs high at lights or when idling (handbrake on, and just keep the foot on the pedal a bit).

To date we've had the following replaced to no end:

- Fuel pump


- Coil.

Does anyone have any idea what this problem is? I don't want it going back to a mechanic's if it's just going to keep costing me for nothing.

11th Aug 2011, 19:44

Hi, was wondering if you can give more info regarding converting a Barina to electric? We are about to purchase a 2nd hand motor for my 95 Barina swing - depending on the cost - electric sounds great :) Thanks, Julie.


3rd Nov 2011, 13:39

Hi. I have the driver's side constantly wet, but we can't find the hose or where it's coming from. We know it has something to do with the air con, but it's just finding the hose. Would appreciate any advice.