A very neglected car when I purchased it. Brake pads, shoes and rear hubs required replacing not long after I bought it. Also required a good service with an oil change, filters and plugs, leads and distributor cap/rotor arm change.
Fuel pump was leaking fuel into the oil, so needed replacing.
Petrol tank has a leak on the top.
Full exhaust and tyres recently needed, but this is due to wear and tear.
Metal caps in the spare wheel well rotted away and needed replacing.
Battery died last winter, again a wear and tear item.
Metal heat protectors on the new set of HT leads caused shorting out to the engine block, making it run very badly.
A vacuum pipe on the carburettor split recently causing the choke to run rich and longer than usual. Got a new piece of pipe and it's as good as new.
It could really do with a new set of shock absorbers, but I keep running it as it is.
Clutch cable and gear linkages need regular lubrication to stop stiffness and noise.
Drivers side window keeps jamming due to the felt runner (what the glass runs up and down) getting twisted.
Central locking doesn't always unlock first time.
The list of things that have gone wrong may put you off, but I can honestly say this car has never let me down. A lot of the problems I have had are due to neglect by previous owners.
Even though it's 11 years old now, it still drives like a new car and is very comfortable. Interior is just starting to show signs of wear on the seat edges where you rub against them to get in and out. The body is just starting to fail and is in need of tidying up on the rear wheel arches and a spot of rust on the hatch. The paint comes up nice with a T-Cut and wax.
Fuel economy is around 30 mpg around town and 45 mpg on a run. Although I do have mine regularly to the garage to check the emissions and be serviced, which helps.
Servicing and parts are extremly cheap and easy to obtain both new and second hand. Working on the car yourself is very easy too with easy access to most components. No strange tools needed either.
Just gone through an M.O.T. with only £100 spent on a small patch of welding, rear wheel bearings and front to rear copper brake pipes.
For a 1.6, the performance is quite good, although nowhere near the same as my previous car! (SRi 130).
A nice feature of Cavaliers is the central locking, which also locks the petrol cap and incorporates a dead locking system.
The boot space is brilliant and easily takes a pram and the weekly shopping.
The only thing I wished my car had is Power Steering and Electric Windows.
I'm a very happy chappy with my Cav and would recommend them to anyone, just be careful of neglected examples. These cars have the potential to run forever with the proper care.