Considering a 2002 Cavalier Sedan...

Messages
9,120
Location
Illinois
Where Dad works, they're getting rid of a 2002 Cavalier Sedan with 37,000 miles on it. They took it out of the fleet, and replaced it with a minivan, due to a change in needs. Dad has driven it a few times in the past, it has the 2.2 liter engine. I've seen it a few times, it is a white base model with grey interior, with automatic/cruise/tilt/air/delay wipers/CD. KBB shows a value in "good condition" of around $4500, and trade value of $3400. Right now, I'm considering placing a bid on it for around $3000, and see what happens. What do I need to consider on this unit? I've already discovered that it is one year too old for the Ecotec 2.2 engine. Too bad it isn't a 2003! I would be getting it for my niece, who is getting married soon. Right now, she has a 2000 Grand Am with 135,000 miles on it. If I could snag this Cavalier for $3000, it would be a good inexpensive upgrade for her, that she could drive cheaply for another 3-4 years. I figure that I could sell her Grand Am for $1800, and she could pay me back the other $1200 at $100 per month for a year. And if she'd happen to forget to pay... then the car may disappear for a day or two...
 
Messages
18,611
Location
Michigan
Just rust proof it and you will be fine. smile Only major thing that makes me mad with these cars. I've been quite anal about keeping the wife's car clean year round, and still have some rust.... With the high price of cars right now, 3 grand is not bad...
 
Messages
18,611
Location
Michigan
Sorry I forgot to add some stuff: It's the old 2.2...slow (115hp) but quite a tough little engine. Parts (for the most part) are cheap to replace. Has struts on both the front and back. Quite sure (hopefully) that it is the 4 speed auto. They don't make many decent tires in the 14 inch size anymore.. One annoying thing about them is that they like to eat control arm brushings..I'd check those. Let me know if you have questions.....could give you a nice list depending on what you are looking for. smile
 
Messages
4,056
Location
Chicago, IL
it is a 10 year old car... and it kinda depends on how it was driven and maintained... but other than that: I've had family members and friends with cavs - and one got 180K miles on it before rust took its toll. the other put 180k on it and it had plenty of life left.the 2.2 is a decent engine for durability. the car is easy to work on...
 
Messages
3,894
Location
missouri usa
The sedans don't usually rust as bad as the coupes. Honestly they aren't bad appliances. Meaning a tool to get you from a to b . However they are awful in the car sense power window motors suck interior pieces crack. Engine is noisy and doggy. Transmissions usually aren't to bad. I'd much prefer the 5 do though. Honestly if all you want is a cheap car that isn't really good at anything but gets the job done a cavalier is it. They are also pretty easy to work on. Good thing alternator, water pumps, control arm bushings , head gasket , rear heater hose outlet, fuel pumps and in accurate fuel gauges are common issues. Some fuel gauges are even listed as problems on gm service bulletins. I'm not trying to scare you away but informing you honestly with the miles for the money if Its been cared for id buy it. And it may have 15 in wheels some did. Just depends.
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
If it's the 4 speed, it should be fine. Be prepared to replace the alternator at between 100-130k miles (It's right above the exhaust manifold, so the rear bearings and diodes get cooked). Also, the interior dash trim piece costs $300 from the dealer if it gets cracked. The 2.2 is slow, but generally pretty sturdy. Running with the A/C on absolutely kills any power the engine may have to begin with.
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Expect boredom. I've had 2 Cavaliere's and a Sunfire (same car) in this family, used as kids cars. All were excellent, one my daughter just sold with like 300k miles on it! Not exciting, but ours were very reliable and we experienced very few problems. They are indeed cheap to fix and easy to work on, but I did surprisingly little to them considering the drivers were teens!
 

mrsilv04

Thread starter
Messages
9,120
Location
Illinois
Thanks everyone for the input. She's not used to a whole lot of power, as she's been driving a 4 cylinder Grand Am for the last three years. I know about the 14" tires. I'm almost certain that it has 14's. I suspect that this car still has the factory Goodyear Conquest tires on it. At least General does make an Altimax RT in this size, and Cooper still makes the Lifeline GLS for it as well. Either one would work fine for a car like this, and are easy to get in this area. I won't be getting it unless I can get it at MY price. And if I get it at MY price, it should be worth it. No doubt about it, it is a fleet car. I don't think it even has power windows or locks. But that's less to break. She's getting married, and neither her or her husband (to-be) have a lot of money right now, so it would be a good car for them at this point in their lives. Her Grand Am is aging very quickly. It has endured as her first car. It has many wounds to prove that it has been in the hands of a teenage driver. She has put 55,000 miles on it in the last three years.
 
Messages
142
Location
Cleveland, OH
recently had a '00 cavalier with 2.2L and 3sp. and boy was it a dog, but it was reliable for the most part. odd things i replaced was the fuel pressure regulator (was hard starting). do the fuel filter if you can, it gets pretty rusty back there. also check the power steering lines that drop from out of the pump (the hard line section after the rubber in particular). part of my hard line section had rusted out and was leaking. i got rid of it recently because i couldnt deal with the amount of rust anymore (door bottoms, rear passenger fender, and rear bumper support). i'm also pretty sure my power steering rack was leaking somewhere (i was losing fluid but not dripping anywhere).
 
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
For a person needing a cheap, hard to break car that'll run okay, that Cavalier would be very hard to beat. It's so low-tech it's almost 1980's. For two newlyweds hard on money, having a reliable, easy/cheap to fix car will be a blessing. One less money issue to fight over.
 

JTK

Messages
13,518
Location
Buffalo, NY
+1 to that. Also, with the price used, good on gas vehicles are going for today, it's a darn good buy for $3K. Joel
 
Messages
15,128
Location
Canada
That's the EXACT car I got rid of 7 months ago. Oil changes, if you care, are IMPOSSIBLE with where the filter is located above the tranny pan. It'll drive you nuts. That said, engine is very easy on oil - I did lots of extended OCI's on regular oil, and engine ran like a top, with next to no consumption. Suspension is soft, and will slowly wear out to the point where it starts affecting the tires - it's what made me get rid of mine. The suspension mounts, front and back, get very creaky and noisy. The electronics can get really dodgy as the car ages - lights go out, then on randomly, and fuses blow. It never stopped my car from running, but it made stuff interesting. Engine and tranny are bulletproof - my tranny started to slip and shift funny near the end, but it didn't have regular servicing. Engine can be hard to start if you try to re-start soon after a long, hot run. Rust isn't a major structural problem, but the edges of everything will rust away - trunk, doors, hood....floors seem to stay solid. In mine, the windsheild frame rusted, and caused the w/s to break twice - not a common problem, but it happened to mine. The seats, with hard use, wear out and get very uncomfortable later in the cars life. You end up really feeling the springs and supports, and it kinda sucks. Just some observations from 5.5 years with this car!
 
Messages
2,543
Location
Rochester, MI, US, World
Originally Posted By: daves87rs
Sorry I forgot to add some stuff: It's the old 2.2...slow (115hp) but quite a tough little engine. Parts (for the most part) are cheap to replace. Has struts on both the front and back. Quite sure (hopefully) that it is the 4 speed auto. They don't make many decent tires in the 14 inch size anymore.. One annoying thing about them is that they like to eat control arm brushings..I'd check those. Let me know if you have questions.....could give you a nice list depending on what you are looking for. smile
Everyone, remember here that the 2.2L that this Cavalier has is NOT the OHV pushrod engine that was used in the 90's. This 2.2L is the EcoTec motor, the same one that the Cobalt used.
 

JTK

Messages
13,518
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Klutch9
Everyone, remember here that the 2.2L that this Cavalier has is NOT the OHV pushrod engine that was used in the 90's. This 2.2L is the EcoTec motor, the same one that the Cobalt used.
I thought they didn't use the Ecotec in the Cavi until 2003.
 
Messages
2,543
Location
Rochester, MI, US, World
Actually, I just did some research to be sure, and 2002 was the final year for the 2.2 OHV, and also the first year for the 2.2 EcoTec in the Cavi. So the OP could possibly have either engine in their car.
 
Messages
11,423
Location
Phoenix
I think he already confirmed it was the 2.2 OHV, That year I *think* only Z24 models got the Ecotec. I had a '95 and '03, both were solid and I actually enjoyed driving them around the city. It's not a roadtrip car at all - but for errands and short trips I liked them a lot! And yes the oil filter is a pain on the OHV, but everything else is simple.
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: dishdude
I think he already confirmed it was the 2.2 OHV, That year I *think* only Z24 models got the Ecotec. I had a '95 and '03, both were solid and I actually enjoyed driving them around the city. It's not a roadtrip car at all - but for errands and short trips I liked them a lot! And yes the oil filter is a pain on the OHV, but everything else is simple.
Oh god I forgot about the oil filter. That engine was made for RWD, not FWD. In FWD configuration the oil filter is one of the biggest PITA I've ever dealt with. Other than that the engine is solid.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,199
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: dishdude
I think he already confirmed it was the 2.2 OHV, That year I *think* only Z24 models got the Ecotec. I had a '95 and '03, both were solid and I actually enjoyed driving them around the city. It's not a roadtrip car at all - but for errands and short trips I liked them a lot! And yes the oil filter is a pain on the OHV, but everything else is simple.
Oh god I forgot about the oil filter. That engine was made for RWD, not FWD. In FWD configuration the oil filter is one of the biggest PITA I've ever dealt with. Other than that the engine is solid.
Seized solid? grin
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: dishdude
I think he already confirmed it was the 2.2 OHV, That year I *think* only Z24 models got the Ecotec. I had a '95 and '03, both were solid and I actually enjoyed driving them around the city. It's not a roadtrip car at all - but for errands and short trips I liked them a lot! And yes the oil filter is a pain on the OHV, but everything else is simple.
Oh god I forgot about the oil filter. That engine was made for RWD, not FWD. In FWD configuration the oil filter is one of the biggest PITA I've ever dealt with. Other than that the engine is solid.
Seized solid? grin
Well, in my particular case, yes... Lol but I'm fairly sure mine was an anomoly. I'm not even mad.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,199
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: dishdude
I think he already confirmed it was the 2.2 OHV, That year I *think* only Z24 models got the Ecotec. I had a '95 and '03, both were solid and I actually enjoyed driving them around the city. It's not a roadtrip car at all - but for errands and short trips I liked them a lot! And yes the oil filter is a pain on the OHV, but everything else is simple.
Oh god I forgot about the oil filter. That engine was made for RWD, not FWD. In FWD configuration the oil filter is one of the biggest PITA I've ever dealt with. Other than that the engine is solid.
Seized solid? grin
Well, in my particular case, yes... Lol but I'm fairly sure mine was an anomoly. I'm not even mad.
I know, but I couldn't resist grin
 
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