Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,999 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Chevrolet Aveo engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Chevrolet Aveo Owner Comments

problem #19

Mar 112015


  • 65,321 miles


I am on a fixed income. I bought this car used with 22,000 miles on it which I intended to take care of and drive for years to come, in fact into the ground. The manual I received with the car indicated that the timing belt should be replaced at 100,000. I live in a rural area where you really need a vehicle. I had driven to another town for a medical appointment. While traveling at 55 mph the car just died in heavy traffic in a 55 mph zone. I was lucky that a good samaritan helped me out of the dangerous condition I was in on the road. My vehicle had 65,321 miies on it. I had to have the car towed to a dealer. It was determined the timing belt broke causing valve damage. I was told it would cost $5,000 to repair it which is what I paid for the vehicle. I did not having $5,000 so I junked the car. This ordeal caused significant problems for me financially, emotionally and physically. I was 62 at the time. The website carcomplaints has 56 similar complaints related to 2004 Chevy Aveos. All of the timing belts failed below 100,000 miles. There are similar complaints for the 2005 Chevy Aveo. Why wasn't I notified about this problem so I would not lose my shorts on my vehicle. I could have been killed. The event was terribly frightening. I suffer from heart failure. My new car payment is very hard to deal with on a fixed income. I took excellent care of the car. I should have been contacted about such dangerous condition. I would like some answers.

- Camp Verde, AZ, USA

problem #18

May 172015


  • 73,000 miles
Timing belt snapped at 73K miles while driving 70mph on the highway. Total loss of power: Steering, brakes, and gas pedal all not responding. Manually managed to coast to a stop on the highway shoulder with my emergency lights on, and without hitting or being hit by anything else. I'm alive and so is my passenger, but I fear we could have died on that day. Related tsbs and NHTSA below to augment reporting this problem. ---- tsb #3936 / NHTSA id #10020573 states that this can happen prior to 60K miles to others as far back as 2006; total engine loss due to damage from the belt at high speed not reported or fixed. Suggested maintenance also is not acceptable for this part: # tsb #060601021 -- timing belt inspection, maintenance, worn, wear. (NHTSA id #10020843, October 01 2006)

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #17

Feb 152015

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
In mid-February after one of our many blizzards, my wife was driving her sedan home. There was a pile of snow on our street that had hardened over. I guess she miscalculated its height (and hardness) and when she went over it, the car lurched up and she heard a loud grinding sound against the undercarriage. The engine started shaking immediately and within seconds died. She called me out and I took a look at the car. It was dead. I walked over to the ice and it was rock hard, so I tried to take a shovel to it and immediately emailed my neighbors to be careful of it. I am not mechanically-inclined, so when I googled what might've happened, I saw several comments that it could be as minor as a damaged oil pan that causes the engine to shut down. Figuring it might be something minor, I called aaa (had to wait a few days since their lines were down) and had the car towed down the street to a service station. I was not expecting the assessment from the mechanic: Apparently during the collision, the timing belt slipped and caused the pistons to bend. This would cost several thousand to fix. Unfortunately, this car has an "interference" design which is prone to extensive damage when this happens. Many Aveo owners have complained about this online. The worst part about all of this is that even though it happened during a collision, our insurance chalked this up to "wear and tear" and we were forced to junk the car. Our car had less than 60K miles on it and we kept it in good condition. This should not have happened. This should have either been handled through a manufacturer recall or my insurance should have treated it as the collision it was and covered it.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #16

Oct 012014

Aveo 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. While driving approximately 40 mph, the contact heard an abnormal noise and the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the timing belt fractured and the engine was ruined. The vehicle was unable to be repaired. The manufacturer was not aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000. Updated 5/4/15 updated 05/12/15

- Colorado Springs , CO, USA

problem #15

Nov 042014


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. The contact stated that the service engine warning lamp illuminated several times and then turned off. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 30 mph, the vehicle was shaking violently and stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and upon pulling over, the contact noticed flames and smoke was emitting from under the hood near the front passenger side. The driver and the front passenger exit the vehicle. The fire was able to be extinguished by the fire department. A police report was filed. The driver and front passenger did not sustain any injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 14V261000 (exterior lighting). The vehicle was not inspected or diagnosed. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #14

Dec 142009

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
I was driving and the car just stopped.. if I was driving any faster or if there was a car behind me I would have been killed!!!!result was the timing belt. The car only had 52000 miles. I contacted Chevy and all they could offer me was a loyalty discount on a new car... which I probably would be entitled to anyway.. I just found a letter from GM indicated that the required replacement of the timing belt was at 60K miles... well my car didn't make it to they know that there is a problem and continue to deny it!!

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #13

Nov 292014

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 163,000 miles


I was driving down the interstate on my way home to knoxville from athens, tn, and I heard my car make a funny noise, and then I heard a loud noise, and the engine began to smoke, I pulled over off of the interstate onto an exit and then the car basically died when I made it to the side of the road. The smoke was white at first, but then it turned black so we ran from the car. The car proceeded to catch on fire and by the time the fire department arrived it was too late. I had a lot of clothing and personal items in my car, and my boyfriend's laptop and really expensive textbooks were in the car as well. The car is completely burned except for parts of the trunk and there was nothing that was salvageable. I was looking online and found out that my car has been recalled because of fires, but I had no idea because I bought the car two months after the recall was announced. It doesn't really matter though, because there is no remedy for the problem. I now have no car and I am a college student and I need a car so I don't know what to do. I'm not sure how to go about contacting the manufacturer about my problem. I am very upset that this has happened, and it would be really nice if someone could help me fix this.

- Clinton , TN, USA

problem #12

Jun 182014

Aveo 4-cyl

  • miles
My 19 year old daughter just arrived at her mothers house, parked the car and came inside. When we started seeing, and smelling smoke. So we went outside to investigate the problem and saw smoke pouring out from under the hood as if there was a fire contained under the hood. So we called 911 and suddenly we heard a loud pop and saw flames on the hood. We proceeded to get a water hose to pour water on the car until finally the firemen arrived. The car still remains in front of her mothers house, if anyone would like to take a look at the car. The firemen deemed it to be a total loss. I would like any information for recalls on this make and model.

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #11

Jul 052011


  • 67,000 miles
This is the same vehicle as NHTSA incident 10393028 (snapped plastic thermostat housing unit). Driving on a multiple lane freeway at ~65mph and the timing belt snapped (high pitched whistle like the car window was slightly open). Immediately lost all speed control and began rapidly decelerating. Thankfully, was in right hand lane and was able to coast off the next available exit. Likely would have been killed had I been in any other lane in morning traffic and lost control of vehicle. Once stopped, car could not be turned back on and would not move until turned into acc mode where it finally allowed me to shift into neutral. Had to be towed, eventually to the dealership. Engine damage was catastrophic and required extensive and expensive repairs (3 weeks and approximately $2,700). Snapped timing belt also bent pistons and valves and required the water pump to be replaced. This is clearly a known issue that should be dealt with by Chevrolet, rather than hiding behind the 60,000 mile replacement, which is laughably low for a timing belt. Further - my timing belt was supposed to have been replaced at 50,000 miles and thus not only did a Chevrolet dealership lie to me, they put my life at risk by knowing this was an issue that would inevitably occur long before the next scheduled belt replacement. This car has been meticulously maintained with oil changes every 3,000 miles and only 5,000-10,000 miles driven/year. There was no reason for the timing belt to snap other than being a faulty part that should have been recalled.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #10

Jan 182014


  • miles
I was driving approximately 25mph when suddenly I heard a strange, loud rubbing/ clattering noise coming from under the hood. I pulled the vehicle over and turned the engine off. My boyfriend, who is a mechanic, looked at the engine and said the timing belt was broken. The vehicle would not restart and had to be towed. Now I am finding out that this is a known problem in this particular 4 cylinder GM vehicle. This engine is an interference engine. This means that the only thing preventing the valves from striking the pistons during vehicle operation is the timing belt. If/ when it breaks, it causes catastrophic engine damage, often requiring engine replacement. One or more of the timing belt pulleys are made of plastic. When the timing belt pulley breaks, shards of plastic snap off and become lodged inside of the engine, rendering the engine useless. Also, at high rate of speed, the valves become bent when the belt/ pulley(s) malfunctions. This is both costly and dangerous to the consumer, and the manufacturer should have made all pulleys and moving parts on the engine out of metal instead of plastic.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #9

Jun 022013


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. The contact stated that while traveling 55 mph, the timing belt failed. The contact stated that the failure caused damage to the valves. The contact spoke to a dealer and was told that the belt and valves would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage and current mileages were 140,000.

- Sullivan, IL, USA

problem #8

May 212013

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 68,750 miles
I was driving my car on my lunch break, and had just made a left turn onto a major highway. About 5 seconds after I made the turn, I felt a jolt and heard an odd grinding sound. My car lost power and all the dashboard lights came on. I was fortunately able to safely steer the car from the left lane to the right shoulder before it finally stopped. I had the added fortune of breaking down in front of a repair shop. It was determined that my timing belt had broken and had bent all the valves in the engine. It took 5 days and $1875 to fix. I have seen dozens of other complaints from Aveo owners about timing belt failures long before the recommended 100K replacement mark, but Chevrolet refuses to acknowledge the problem and won't issue a recall.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #7

Mar 172013

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
As I began to accelerate onto the highway, I felt that my car was not picking up, I could only get to around 40-45mph on a highway that is 65mph. I nearly got rear-ended by cars flying up on me and I quickly pulled off to the shoulder just in time as the power steering also went out and the car appeared to have stopped running. I could not get the car to start again. The diagnostics came back that the timing belt had gone and it could be fixed for anywhere between $800 to needing a brand new motor. This floored me as I always had the oil and fluids replaced and the car only had 84K miles on it. I began to research the Aveo and bam, there it was, over and over again on-line. Owners all complaining of the same problem with their Aveo. The timing belt on the Aveo, especially the 04-07 models go and will require anywhere from a major fix to a brand new engine. This is a big problem on a little car. I went on craigslist to look for a new engine, but instead found 10 Aveos in one hour... that were being sold for parts because their timing belt went! please take a look at this problem, I believe there is a major problem with the Aveo deserving of a recall, and owners should be made aware of this serious problem and the persistent need to have their timing belt replaced or face a total engine replacement. I could have easily been rear-ended or worse because of the loss of power and power steering. Thank you.

- Huntingdon, PA, USA

problem #6

Apr 032010

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
The timing belt broke in our vehicle while we were driving. The car made a horrible racket, then completely lost power before it died completely, when it broke, it bent the rods and pistons in the heads. Now just two weeks ago, it has done the same thing. Chevy needs to make a recall on this because its going to end up killing someone and this isn't the only Aveo to have done this.

- Mineral City, OH, USA

problem #5

Aug 232012

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 78,423 miles
Driving at 55 mph the car felt like came out of 5th gear. I checked to make sure the car was in gear. Pushed the clutch in (very tight). The car was loosing power but tach was still at 3000. I coasted to the side of the road and the car had no spark. Lights still worked. I had the car towed and found that the timing belt failed which took out the water pump and damaged my head. There was no warning at all. At this time I have been told by mechanic and 2 Chevrolet dealerships that this is a common occurrence. Thank god it was 5:15 am and not a lot of traffic on the road.

- Wilsonville, OR, USA

problem #4

Jul 052008


  • 63,000 miles
Timing belt broke while on a major highway doing 65 mph. Causing the car to shut off and leave me stranded when it broke it crushed all 4 cylinder heads.

- York, PA, USA

problem #3

Jun 012012


  • 58,995 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, he heard a knocking sound from the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer advised that the motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised that the vehicle was not under warranty. The failure and current mileage was 58,995.

- Bauxite , AR, USA

problem #2

May 012012

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 39,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. While driving approximately 45 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was coasted to the side of the road. The engine was restarted after the first attempt and the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred nine times on separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they were unable to detect a cause of failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 39,500. Updated 07/25/12 the consumer stated the dealer kept the vehicle for eight days. Updated 07/25/12

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #1

May 312012

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
My stepdaughter and her friend were traveling cross-country from California to Illinois. Car had just been checked by a mechanic prior to trip and said was ok. On I-40, about 40 miles West of albuquerque nm, she realized the car was getting warm, then they saw steam from hood, check engine light came on. She immediately pulled to the side of the road and called me, in Illinois. Then she called aaa for towing, and was towed to galles Chevrolet in albuquerque. The next day they diagnosed total engine failure due to overheating; cause of failure likely a broken thermostat housing. I searched for this issue and found many similar complaints in edmunds forum; this certainly seems to be a common problem. In the end the girls were safe, thank god. Not only was this a very expensive incident (~$5000), but it could have been a very serious safety issue, leaving two young college girls stranded in a remote desert location on a hot day, very vulnerable. The next person this happens to might not be so fortunate. I urge you to take action to require GM to recall and fix this issue. Thank you.

- Washington, IL, USA

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