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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,665 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.

2001 Chevrolet Cavalier electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Jun 092014


  • miles


Ignition switch and the ignition lock cylinder malfunctioned in 2009, roughly five years after GM's recall. The original owner of the vehicle took advantage of the ignition switch's service. In addition to the recall, GM installed an ignition wiring harness. Back in 2009, the vehicle's ignition would overturn, and then, the engine would automatically shut-off. To repair the problem, both the ignition switch and lock cylinder were replaced at a cost of $492. In 2014, the ignition switch malfunctions. This time, it appears the ignition lock cylinder to be working properly. The ignition switch became damage due to current flow to the ignition when holding the key in the start position. The heat melted the internal switch. I had not known in 2014 that the problem was the ignition switch. In the same year, however, GM recalled a massive number of vehicles for ignition switch defect. Chevrolet Cavalier was not on the list. Today, it costs $180, excluding taxes and fees, to get the ignition switch installed by a Chevrolet technician. A locksmith rate starts at $90 but does not include service fee, and labor. Based on few online reports, the installation takes a minimum of 20 minutes. Would installed the ignition switch myself but cannot locate step by step instructions. All the Chevrolet manuals owned do not provide instructions on replacing the ignition switch. If I do install the ignition switch, I am unsure if the vehicle's computer will need reprogramming. A few reports made reference to reprogramming the vehicle's computer following the changing of the ignition switch. Solution: I think GM needs to add Chevrolet Cavalier to the "recall" list. The alternative, ignition wiring harness does not support the electrical system entirely when the charging system light remains on the dashboard.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #24

Mar 082012


  • miles
The contact owned a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. As a result, another vehicle crashed into the driver side of the contact's vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained a back injury, the rear driver side passenger sustained body and head injuries, the rear middle passenger sustained a head injury and the rear middle passenger sustained body injuries. The injuries required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Nashville , TN, USA

problem #23

Jan 012003


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. In addition, the contact stated while driving at various speeds, the ignition key was slipping in and out of the ignition. As a result, the interior light was turning on and off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, where it was diagnosed that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 13,000.

- Laguna Woods, CA, USA

problem #22

Feb 122008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles


My key came out of the ignition while the car was still running and in the on position, and also another time the car key turned off by itself and I lost power to the vehicle and my brakes locked and almost caused me to get into a crash.

- Foxboro, MA, USA

problem #21

Jul 302014


  • 220,000 miles
Key can be removed from ignition while car is in gear and in park. And cannot be put back in durning vehicle running

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #20

Dec 102013


  • 130,000 miles
Upon driving vehicle at low speeds 20-30 mph with front and rear window defroster on, it became more, and more evident of a possible fire. First there was an increasing burning smell followed by smoke. A connector on the drivers side kick panel has melted being so close to the carpet its possible that it being winter moisture from melted snow somehow may have caused this to happen, a search on google seems to pull multiple cars with this same problem. Also I want to note that I was not able to turn off my rear defrosted with the rear defroster switch, I had to pull the 30 amp fuse that still had a complete circuit in it!

- Skokie, IL, USA

problem #19

Oct 282011


  • miles


I was driving down the free way and all of a sudden the car lost all acceleration power. Got it to the side of the road and tried to restart the car. It tries but won't start. All power is working and starter and alternator are trying to work.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #18

Jan 092009


  • 90,000 miles
The defrost wouldn't work when really rainy or cold and this started in winter of 2009. In summer of 2010 the ac worked only when fan was on med or high, but finally only on high. These were electrical wiring problems: Ac due to blower resistor burned out and defrost caused by a resistor burned out. Ac started to smell like something electrical was burning. If this wasn't fixed any sooner could have caused fire I'm sure. Now I have to see what needs to be fixed now that I have service engine check light on. With these electrical issues had no service engine check light come on. O2 sensor replaced @ 68,000 and catalytic converter changed @ 56,000 and the recall for this vehicle replaced.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #17

Jan 012003


  • 20,000 miles
Whenever the steering wheel is turned a "clunk" can be heard and felt. This happened back in about 2003 and still continues to this day. On second complaint, odometer numbers no longer show up properly. Only when pressure is applied to the odometer area do the numbers light up.

- Holt, MI, USA

problem #16

May 212009


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving 25-35 mph, the traction light flashed and the engine began to make knocking and rattling noises. The contact pulled the vehicle over to check the engine and the noise stopped. When he began driving again, every light on the instrument panel illuminated. The contact pulled over again and turned off the vehicle. When he restarted the vehicle, the knocking stopped and the lights stopped flashing. The failure has occurred on three occasions. A mechanic diagnosed the vehicle, but could not remedy the issue. The contact is afraid to drive the vehicle. The current mileage was 67,358 and failure mileage was 67,000.

- Hyde Park, MA, USA

problem #15

Jan 102007


  • 135,000 miles


In December, 2006 I had a new alternator and a new fuel pump put in (895.00). 1/10/07 my ignition module and the fuel pressure regulator went out (695.45). 5/14/07 my ignition coil needed replacing (252.18). November 8, 2007 I needed to replace the ignition switch and valve cover gasket ($500) I'm am tired of repairing. It's got an electrical problem that's causing my ignition stuff to burn out.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #14

Dec 282006


  • 115,000 miles
In December, 2006 I had a new alternator and a new fuel pump put in (895.00). 1/10/07 my ignition module and the fuel pressure regulator went out (695.45). 5/14/07 my ignition coil needed replacing (252.18). November 8, 2007 I needed to replace the ignition switch and valve cover gasket ($500) I'm am tired of repairing. It's got an electrical problem that's causing my ignition stuff to burn out.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #13

Sep 042008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. One day after purchasing the vehicle, it would no longer start. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic and an injector, push rod, and spark plug were installed. Approximately two days after retrieving the vehicle, it would not start again. The current and failure mileages were 91,000. Updated 10/16/08. Updated 10/17/08.

- Fredricksburg, VA, USA

problem #12

Jan 112007


  • 20,000 miles
Air bags will not work, running lamps or headlights will not work window washers will not work, wipers erratic, etc.

- Finleyville, PA, USA

problem #11

Jun 222005


  • 96,376 miles
2001 Chevrolet Cavalier developed problems with the brakes and the engine.** answer required***. while turning the steering wheel the consumer heard grinding/rubbing noises intermittently. The fog lamp went out. The brakes were noisy and would stick when applied. Water leaking into the trunk. The vehicle wouldn't start and the vehicle check engine light illuminated. The keyless entry system and alarm stopped working. The transmission not shift into low gear. The daytime running light would not shut off. The HVAC blower would not work in the first and second speed. The dealer foun air in the brake line and determined that hte lower control arm bushing was falling out

- Athens, NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 012004

Cavalier 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 55 mph vehicle stalled. Consumer restarted vehicle, and took it to the dealer for inspection.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #9

Sep 012004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,431 miles
Odometer lights not working properly. Odometer numerals flickered on and off. The odometer often looked like it was 29999 because the last numerals were not working proplerly. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer for service but was not covered under warranty.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #8

Oct 122004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
While driving, the vehicle hesitated stalled and at times it would not restart. The consumer stated this has happened three times and each time the vehicle has to be towed to the mechanic to get it restarted. She also says this has happened 3 times since Nov. 03. she said one mechanic said it was an electrical problem. Then another said it was the starter switch, which was then replaced. Then she said one mechanic said he could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. Vehicle continues to stall, 3 times in approximately 5 days.

- Spencer, OK, USA

problem #7

Aug 022004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Problems with odometer on 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for recall work. The consumer picked the vehicle up only to be told that the dealer had replaced all the gauges in the vehicle. The consumer did not authorize any repair other than the recall repair. The technician indicated that the component needed to be replaced because they could start a fire. The consumer had to pay $500. For work he did not authorize.

- Saint Donatus, IA, USA

problem #6

Feb 192004

(reported on)


  • 11,910 miles
Brakes malfunctioned, resulting in extended stopping distance. The dealer informed the consumer the brakes were sensitive. The dashboard was replaced, because the air bag light was on. The dash board lights came on and went off at least twenty two times.

- Itasca, IL, USA

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