Chevy makes some good cars. Whether it’s the comely Camaro or the couth Corvette, Chevy knows how to lure buyers and, with more performance than ever before, keep them enchanted. The enchanted aspect is perhaps more important than just being able to lure a buyer in today’s market. The whole story, however, started early in the days of the auto world. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Chevy built some quality stuff, although these years were not without their faults. Indeed, some things were just purely unacceptable. You can write a novel on Chevy’s misdoings from that era, but to kind of give you a general idea, Chevy (and even Ford) didn’t care as much about the lives of drivers as they perhaps should have, as evident from numerous lawsuits and known losses of individuals related to issues that were related to cheaply built parts or flat out unsafe parts.
Chevy and parent company GM used to get involved in a lot of recall cases. When the government wasn’t as tight as it is now, GM used to completely ignore the recommendations given by it. It was only when the government started taking these issues more seriously that others followed suit. The reason I mention recalls is that for some of these complaints listed here, a recall was suggested by the affected motorists.
We looked at complaints from carcomplaints.com for this article. Judging solely by the numbers, the Impala is more troubling than any other Chevys at a massive 4,584 complaints.
22 ENGINE MISFIRES
This is another one of those problems that are decently serious. There are various reasons why a misfire could happen. There are three parts that are needed for an engine to fire: fuel, oxygen and spark. The fuel and oxygen burn together, and the spark provides that push to get the process going.
When any of these goes wrong, you have an engine misfire. The consequences of the misfire are rather serious.
You may start seeing a suboptimal fuel economy or have higher emissions. Or the engine itself could be damaged further. Various Chevy models are known to have this problem.
21 TRANSMISSION FAILURE
This is one of the most heinous problems that could come knocking on your door. It’s such a serious problem when this happens, that drivers are often at a loss of words. It could manifest in many ways. Some people’s gears won’t shift after starting the car, some people’s gear won’t go to the next level and on and on. Various people have reported this problem in various lineups, including the Tahoe, Malibu and Silverado. Some people who complained of this listed that their car was brand new. And then of course there were those who had an old, second hand car, and the transmission gave up.
20 RANDOM AIR BAG DEPLOYMENT
Here’s another problem that’s not common at all. This guy was driving his 2003 Corvette LT1 back in 2006 in Florida. The ride was sweet—hey, it’s a Corvette, after all—the day was likely sunny, and the speed was 76 mph. And then BOOM! The airbags also decided to enjoy the sun, exploding out of nowhere. No accidents. No collisions. Just one wacky airbag that decided to deploy on its own. The guy broke his nose from the trauma though. While you don’t think about this—and neither should you, unless it’s a common problem—it’s kind of surreal to realize anything could happen the next moment.
19 POWER STEERING DEACTIVATES
This is another common issue that’s found in various Chevys. This is kind of scary. We have gotten so used to so many things that it’s only when they go away that we realize what we had. I guess that’s why they say to always be appreciative of the things you have in life.
Anyway, this has been reported in various Malibu models. Problems range from it going out for a split second to not working until the car is started again.
As much as this is a pain to have happen while driving, sometimes it could be outright dangerous, depending on the traffic situation.
18 LEAKING COOLANT
This is not a fun one either. When the coolant of your car leaks, you essentially end up losing the very fluid that cools your car, meaning overheating is inevitable. While this could be caused by a million problems, three are common. One, you could have a leaky radiator cap, which may cause the coolant to be lost when there’s an overflow. Another reason is that you might have an internal leak, which won’t be that obvious. The last common reason is an external leak, which is perhaps the easiest to see and cure. The Malibu, Blazer, and Avalanche are known to have these issues.
17 EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION
This is not a true emergency, but it’s something that would need to be fixed. Because if you keep running out of oil, you’ll have to continually have it filled up, and that’s where several things could go wrong if you don’t keep an eye on the oil level.
Some people have had this problem and have been essentially conned by dealers by having some fluff fixes (plugs, rings and so forth) while the real solution was avoided.
And when the warranty expires, lo and behold, the “you need a new engine” card is played. The Avalanche has had a decent number of complaints regarding this.
16 TIMING BELT FAILURE
The Aveo wasn’t exactly widely liked. Whether it was the flat front fascia, sloppy sides or the remiss rear, the end result was the same, a car that screamed, “help me, please help me.”
But the problem with this one goes a little deeper than that. They have been discontinued, so it’s not likely that you’ll face it, but should you decide to get involved with a used one, just be aware that timing belt issues are rampant in these cars. And it’s not that the belt has problems from the normal wear and tear, nah, the Aveo seemingly takes the matters in its own hands and makes them a frequent occurrence.
15 IDLER PULLEY BRAKES IN HALF
This one literally sits there and guides and provides tension to the engine drive belt. It’s another one of those important things that hide under the hood, and as you can imagine, those who had to deal with this weren’t a big fan of this.
It’s a relatively serious problem. Some people were told the engine had to be replaced, which is never a thing to look forward to.
The average repair cost for this problem is two grand, and depending on the car type, sometimes that price can be as much as half the value of the entire car.
14 ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM WORKS UNEXPECTEDLY
As good as the old ones may have been (minus these issues, of course), the new Blazer to be released in 2019 is going to be a blast. It will be of a size that’s between the Equinox and Traverse. Anyway, while you’re waiting for that, let me go ahead and remind you of a very rare problem that happened with the Blazer in the past.
One driver’s ABS continued to engage at low speeds on wet surfaces. Now, folks, that’s just a little absurd. The mileage on that car was 3K and the cost of repair was a whopping $5K—more than the value of the car itself.
13 FUEL PUMP FAILURE
Here’s another failure that’s rather common in the all time famous Cavalier. Fuel pump is essentially what it sounds like (feeds fuel into the cylinders), and when this messes up, the car won’t start.
The typical repair cost is around only $720, so it’s not as exorbitant as the prices of some of the other items. However, it’s still decently expensive.
Someone posted online how there was available recourse for everyone voicing their concerns, being that when enough people had complained, Chevy would issue a recall. There’s even a number posted, with the driver emphatically urging everyone to call now. That’s one solid strategy.
12 KEY GETS STUCK
This gets a severity rating of 8.3. Essentially what happens is that the key gets stuck in one way or another when trying to take it out. One driver had to do a combination of things before it worked. Tap the brake, jiggle the key and press the release button on the shifter—that was the way he danced before the key relented and came out like it’s supposed to.
It’s not an apocalypse as much as an annoying problem. While the affected drivers may have become experts, they still can’t let valets or friends drive the car. This was rather common in the 2005 Cobalt.
11 CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ALWAYS ON
This is one of those problems that you can’t let go of, but nor can you know right off the bat what the problem is. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a leaky fuel cap, in which case all you do is get a replacement. In other cases, the news is a little more troubling, such as when you find the catalytic converter to have stopped working efficiently. At that point, it’ll cost you a decent amount of money. While I’m sure several other lineups were afflicted with this, the Equinox had about 14 complaints. It’s something that you really need to have looked at if it’s present in your car.
10 STRONG FUEL ODOR
While you may not think of this as a conventional problem, it’s still a problem for some. Apparently, the 2008 Corvettes—lovely cars, by the way—gave a few owners some trouble. It’s not the engine, it’s not the catalytic converter, and it’s not the dreaded transmission. It’s the gas tank.
Some people have complained about the entire garage smelling like fuel. Now, I know some people like the smell of gas (don’t shy away!), but constantly having the garage smell like gas is a bit too much, especially when you consider gas molecules are detrimental with continuous exposure.
9 AC NOT WORKING
This is not that common of a problem but was found in a couple of 2001 Corvettes. One guy had a problem with the compressor running constantly instead of cycling. The actuator motor was burned, so it had to be replaced.
While it could be that deep, sometimes the problem is superficial, at the button level.
There was even a guy who couldn’t adjust his AC, heat or the outside temperature. The cost of these things is completely dependent on where the problem lies. If it’s something superficial, it can be fixed for a few hundred dollars; should something more convoluted be damaged, it will cost more.
8 HEAT BLOWS OUT COLD AIR
With this one, it doesn’t matter where you live; it sucks wherever it’s present. Be it the hot and dry Florida or the ever freezing Michigan, winter is brutal for everyone, as people are used to the temperature of their native region.
In the 2006 Equinox, it’s quite common for the heating system to become wanton and blow out cold air.
Now, that essentially means no insulation, and a lot of these people had to go through the winter without heat. That’s just insane. Everything else seemed to be working, meaning the ac was fine, but not the heating system.
7 PASSLOCK PROBLEMS
GM has this passlock system that essentially acts as an anti-theft system. While it sounds all fancy, it’s not the best thing in the world when it malfunctions, and that, my friend, happens very frequently.
There were a whopping 224 complaints regarding this on the 2002 Chevy Impala. While the repair cost is only $520, the pain comes from being locked out of the car because of the fault in the system.
One driver went all berserk in his complaint, with the gist being that Chevy was a thief. It’s an annoying case when the anti-theft system doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.
6 SHIFTING ROUGH
Here’s another problem the Impala has. The symptoms of this manifest in various ways. One simplest thing is that the transmission jolts rigorously when starting out. That’s a pretty bad start, although not the worst scenario. The worst scenario is when the driver gets stuck in one gear, and moving on to the next gear becomes insanely difficult. I don’t think it’d be difficult to find people for whom the 2005 Impala has ruined the image of the entire Impala lineup or, worse yet, even Chevy. It’s just like food. One bad bite, and you start detesting that item forever.
5 ENGINE SHUTS OFF
With a “really awful” rating, the severity of this thing comes to be 9.3 out of 10. It’s a pretty brutal problem when your engine shuts off during operating temperatures, although the good thing is that only three people complained about it.
The problem is prevalent in the 2003 Chevy Monte Carlo.
On various occasions, the affected drivers were stranded. These cars had the weirdest shape. The front looked fine, although was a little bulbous. The side is where it got a little out of control, and once you see the rear, you come to realize the car really got a poor design.
4 REAR LIFTGATE WON’T UNLOCK
Here’s another bad problem to have, although it’s not dangerous for your car’s health. There have been only two complaints (so there’s a very high chance that such things happen more commonly than told/shared online, obviously) on carcomplaints.com, but it’s still a bit of nuisance.
When it happens, there’s no way to unlock the liftgate, be it manually or via the fob. Something is wrong somewhere. One driver tried to call Chevy, and Chevy said it would install the defective part for free—he just had to buy it. The guy was pretty adamant about not wanting to pay for that.
3 EARLY HUB FAILURE
While we always get bogged down with the engine and transmission problems, I think wheels are also something that is important and should be focused on. While you can’t move a car without an engine, the same applies to wheels, so they are equally important (though not necessarily as complex).
Anyway, some of the 2001 Chevy Monte Carlos were affiliated with weak wheel hubs, which meant the assembly showed signs of wear and tear early on.
One of the ways to check out the condition of your hubs is to listen for grinding sound. A few people had this problem, and while it required money to fix, it was fairly cheap at $300.
2 SPEAKERS NOT WORKING
Here’s another trivial problem for some, but a major problem for others; it really depends on your perspective and what you’re expecting from your car. But I’d imagine it matters for 2007 Silverado owners, as that pickup is relatively new. And let’s face it: pickups are in demand, so everyone wants to make sure his/her pickup is all sound.
Anyway, there seems to be a decent number of people who struggled with speakers on this model year. The easiest thing to do was simply have it replaced. The average cost of this problem is $190, according to famous carcomplaints.com.
1 CRACKED DASHBOARD
Some Chevy dashboards are relentless, but I don’t blame them as much as the parent company. These things start as a little crack, and after some time, you end up getting a real split across the dashboard. Apparently, the typical cost to repair this is around $2K, which is just insane. Numerous complaints are on file for this, and it seems GM knew about the defects on the Chevy Avalanche.