I had the same problem with my 2004 Pontiac Sunfire (coup/sports package). I took my car to a trusted breaks shop and the guy told me the problem was the cheap brake pads. So I bought some "high quality" brake pads and haven't had the groaning or rubbing sound when I lightly tap the brakes when slowing down.
Hope this helps!
I have a '96 Sunfire and have owned it just over a year and a half. I am on my third set of brakes.
I purchased the 05 almost 1 year ago. Have been very happy except for the braking and very noisy on certain parts of the highway, just cannot figure out where the noise is coming from? Very frustrating! I have had it into the shop, they have ground the rotors, changed the tires... I will try changing the brake pads.
About the brake thing: I've always heard accounts of brakes wearing quickly on GM vehicles. And I'm not trashing GM, as I have one myself (92 Olds) and wouldn't trade it for any import. However, concerning the Sunfire, the twin of the Cavalier, remember that while some cars feel faster than they are, others tend to feel slower than they are. The 05 Cavaliers, with the 140hp 2.2L, can get to 60mph in 8.2 with the auto trans. Compare that to an auto Civic of this last generation (01-05), which gets to 60 in 10.5. And before any Civic enthusiasts trash that info, I got it from Consumer Reports. That's the one that accepts no advertising dollars. (Not to be confused with Consumer Guide, a cheap ripoff, which does accept advertising. That's why their service is free.) Just a thought on the brakes, not a call to arms to smoke every Civic you meet at a light. But if you do get the urge, remember that a Civic Si (ooohhhh...) from 2002-2005 gets to 60 in 9.0s with the 5-speed manual (Consumer Reports). Feel free to smoke them. As a brake comparison, I have a 92 Olds Cutlass Supreme with 4-wheel disc brakes and ABS, and a 3375lb curb weight. I need new front brakes every 14 months or so, and changed the rear brakes for the first time at about 102,000 miles. How about that for evidence of brake dive.
Anyway, I hope I've provided food for thought or something.
I'm a little surprised that a lot of people seem surprised by the cheap feeling and maintenance costs of the Sunfire. Considering how cheap the car is even bought new, you should realize you get what you pay for. Sunfire has always been car designed for the masses and cheap to produce. I know you expect a perfect car when you buy new or nearly new, but you really do get what you pay for and in this case with such a low price, compromises have to be made.
I guess some will learn the hard way, but if you see a better car out there that's $5000 more, definitely go for it. Just about any other compact you can think of out there is of much higher quality than a Sunfire!
I disagree with the above comment. I have owned several economy cars before my Sunfire and they were all of similar quality. I would say the Sunfire has been better than the other ones because of its engine. No other economy class car at the time had 140hp and 150lb/ft of torque in base trim (some do now, but none did in 2003).
The noise on the highway is the plastic thing under the radiator. It's loose, and when on highway it moves and makes a noise!! Hope it helps.. I love my 05 Sunfire!!!
I love My 2005 Sunfire Sport. The only problem since I had mine were that the power window were not operating well. The usual for a Gm car. The loud noise from breaking came from cheap brake pads. I race my car and this is the first factory car I owned that can hit maximum speed (110mph) and still perform great. It's a shame that they no longer make this terrific car anymore. The cup holders up front should have been relocated though, but the ones that are in the arm rest are just excellent when you have passengers in the back.
First of all, a Sunfire is not a sports car, a performance car, or a muscle car. Therefore, stop "racing" with it. 0-60MPH in 9 seconds (2003-2005) or 0-60MPH in 11 seconds (1999-2002) is not fast!
Secondly, these are economy cars, they perform adequately.
These cars are good, if not great. That's why you see so many of them.
For the owners of 2 dr Sunfire, Cavaliers, do not drive like you are behind the wheel of a sports car, because we all know its limited capabilities and high 0-60 times!