My 1998 cavalier just had a tune up done and car still hesitates plus oil was down in the plugs. Not a gd sigh is it? Can my car be saved or is it soon to be doomed?

Sherry Baker-Major

Asked by Sherry Nov 22, 2013 at 10:45 PM about the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

7 Answers


sounds like an engine ,used can be had for about 400 and another 300 to install one, is it worth that? scrap price may be around 325 if you drive it in, that may be a good down payment on another cavalier


If you got the tune up because of a hesitation, the problem may have existed before the tune up. Bad or warped heads, is the car a V-6? If so, one bank of plugs getting oi8l or both sides? Either way it looks like at least a tear down to the heads. Have a presser check done on the cylinders to make sure there is still a seal and the rings are good. You may be pumping oi8l past the rings, if so, either a replacement motor or an overhaul. The overhaul will set you back 4 or 5 new car payments only. That is the real way to look at repairs. If you have other major issues with the mechanical aspect of the vehicle, add up everything to repair it, and compare it to getting a newer car. Also factor in insurance increase, and savings on gas if you get a high MPG vehicle that is out there. New 2013 cars are dirt cheep right now as the 2014s are now on the market. Shop smart.


Say good buy. Dont waste any more $$ on Cavalier, and or any Cavalier. Buy Honda Civic and you are not going to regret-ever. We are on our third Civic since 1989 and never ever had big issues. Good luck shoping for newer Civic Cheers

Jedidiah Rider

With a guess, I think it has the 2.2 flat head design engine, pre quad four engine. What you are describing is a common problem. Weather you have a chevy, ford, Honda, ect. you will have leakage into the cylinder from your valve cover seals, all overhead valve 4, cyl engines will do it. The problem arises with the chevy engine is it causes heat build up and the plate that covers all the plugs is also your coil pack and it will crack up, degrading the spark insulation. Check you spark to the plugs, replace coil and assembly, will post pic later.


Jeddiah, I am not sure but a leak from a bad gasket around the valve cover will not put oil into the car's cylinder. The oil will leak out onto the outer parts of the engine. Oil is inside the valve cover to lubricate the cam and/or valve train. If there is a leak from inside the valve cover to the cylinders, it is either a cracked head, bad valve seal or other major issues. I guess this is what you mean? Or has the auto industry changed the engine build again and left me in the last century where I am comfortable aka precomputers. Doe not the coil pack sit on top of the covers so oil from a leaking gasket will not get on them?

Jedidiah Rider

No, the oil will leak down the tubes that the spark plugs go down in and sit on top of the plugs, that is where the 'oil was down in the plugs..' comes from. Pre ecotec engines had plug wires from a coil connected to the side of the engine and they sat on top of the controller. Then the next version(Quad 4) had a ignition pack inside a housing that ran down the center of the valve cover. Replaced a many of them because of this issue. All 4 cly cars are prone to oil leaking down the tubes because the plugs come in through the cam area. Minus a few engines that are ported from the side of the head. Usually the grommet kit comes with a valve cover gasket and it will seal the tubes preventing oil from entering the plug area. On the other hand, if the plugs themselves had deposits and was blowing smoke then I would suspect bad compression rings or overpressure in the crankcase. I think if you check your spark from the coils, then you will find one is not giving a good spark. If intermittent, test the controller, but if you have the large piece that runs down the center of valve cover, pay the $150 and replace the whole thing. Replace the valve cover gasket and tube seals ant the some time and it should be ok.


Next they will do away with the entire ignition mess, put a capacitor inside the cylinder and fire it off via wireless connections. Then the timing can be adjusted depending on the ride, power, economy or around town on the way to grandmothers house. Didn't Chrysler do this in the early 60's but had lots of problems with the design?

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