really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,234 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Chevrolet Aveo Owner Comments

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

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 #5

Apr 062011


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. The vehicle was parked and shut off when a child was able to shift the vehicle into gear without applying the brake. The vehicle began to roll forward until crashing. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed and was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 120,000.

- Hasperia, CA, USA

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problem #4

Mar 292011


  • 53,362 miles
Taking of from a stop sign, I heard a quick whirring sound and the car died. I pulled off to the side of the road, where I tried to restart the car to no avail. The car was towed to a certified mechanic. The mechanic found that the timing belt had broken prematurely. It was not due to be changed until 60,000 miles. (originally 90,000 in the mechanics book, amended by GM) the timing belt failure caused the valves in the engine to be bent and the engine rendered useless.

- Longview, TX, USA

problem #3

Sep 282005


  • miles


I have a 2004 Chevy Aveo that was purchased brand new. Since it was first purchased the clock has changed time by itself and the gear shift gets stuck in park.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jan 012010

Aveo 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
When starting the car and then trying to shift from "P" to "D" will not move have to turn the vehicle off put key in shift lock hole and then shift to "N" and then depress the brake, start the vehicle then shift down to "D" or up to "R".

- Laredo, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 022010


  • 70,000 miles
Driving back to saint louis Missouri from lake wales Florida when timing belt broke on my 2004 Chevrolet Aveo. Engine died and from what I've read on the internet the engine design on these cars is an "interference" engine which means when the timing belt breaks it basically destroys your car. I cant understand why a company would knowingly sell and not warn customers that catastrophic engine damage will occur from a simple belt breaking on these particular engines.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

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