Chevrolet Cavalier Problems

Engine Overheating Due to Head Gasket Failure on Chevrolet Cavalier

Problem Description and Possible Solution

The 2.3L 4 cylinder engine can be prone to head gasket failure. This can result in coolant loss and engine overheating.

(13 people reported this problem)

Chevrolet Cavalier Vehicles With This Problem

RepairPal Fair Price Estimate
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 111,081 (31,517–200,000)
Engines affected: 2.2L 4 Cylinder, 2.3L 4 Cylinder, 2.4L 4 Cylinder
3 model years affected: 1995, 1999, 2003
Not Your Chevrolet Cavalier Problem?
Brake problem? Or maybe a faulty head gasket cylinder?
Learn About Your Car Problems
Search For a Specific Car Problem
Viewing 1-9 of 9 comments
Overheating, new water pump, new thermostat, radiator cleaned and checked and engine flush. Still ran hot. noticed water in engine oil.
Car was very quiet and ran fine. Checked oil for milky color as every other month had to add antifreeze to overflow but the cap doesn't tighten correctly as someone cross threaded it. No milky color to oil under the cap or on the stick. Car ran fine then parked it with less than half a tank of gas. It was cold over night and in the morning the car started then shut off after 3 seconds like it was not getting gas. Thought I had gas line freeze due to the cold as the car would try to start then die. Heard fuel pump turning on and off properly. Gas line had pressure. After 2 days it would not longer try to start but just turn over. Had it towed to the garage as I thought I may have faulted the spark plugs. Was told the head gasket was blown and there was a bunch of antifreeze filling the spark plug holes. I had checked the oil just before having it taken to the garage thinking maybe the oil was low and there was no antifreeze smell or residue on the stick or under the cap. Fifteen hundred dollars to repair head gasket and now the water pump impeller is apparently broke also taking the bill up to 2200 dollars now. There was no noise indicating a bad pump or any leaking underneath the car. The gauge once a month back indicated the car overheated after driving 1 mile but the engine was not even warm yet. The gauge went from cold to red in a matter of seconds. Immediately pulled over to make sure nothing was wrong. Engine was not even warm to the touch. Opened overflow as it was not warm yet either and topped it off just to be safe. Temp gauge had went back to cold again and the car ran fine home and had no other problems. Temp gauge stayed at the middle when driving when motor was warm all other times. Never went past half way except that once when the motor was still cold. Figured it for an air pocket or sensor not registering correctly. The Low Coolant light has never stayed on. Lastly, I am very good with cars and determining what is wrong by listening to how it runs and knowing a good deal about car repair. Not a novice.
i experienced coolent leak at 99999. i was advised by canadian tire that my head gasket needed to be replaced and it would cost me 1500. but no guarantees as other parts might be damaged also and it may cost me 3000. this car was reliable and i had it for 18 years but with age and head gasket problems now i won't fix it. i will either rent a car or look for a used car. i maintained this car going for coolent flushes and oil changes ect. but with age and wear and tear it will go down it it down after 18 long years.
The car was overheating and couldnt keep coolant in resevoir, couldnt see any leaks. Car wont go over 20 mph now and has alot of noise and stuttering. Runs real rough and cant drive it. Tensioner is bouncing all over also
Drains all water after it runs for a while. It wont overheat, but it will drain all the coolant when engine is turned off
I purchased my car in June of 1995. May of 1998 was the first time I had the head gasket replaced. Coolant was burning up before it hit the ground so the "low coolant" light was the only indication of a problem. In October, 1998, Chevrolet sent out a letter stating they were aware of this issue and had extended warranty coverage to 7 years or 100,000 miles. I have replaced the head gasket 7 times now. As yet, and after many attempts to solve the issue, there is no cure for the head gasket problem.
I had this fail after only 30,000 miles. It then failed again around 70,000, but I think that's because the first shop didn't do a good job.