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05 Cavalier has clicking noise under glove box and now the engine light is on

I just purchased an 05 cavalier and today a loud clicking noise started right down by the glove box. I have full a/c and heat. If I turn the climate control to recirculate the clicking stops. But now the orange engine light is on. I’ve heard it could be the blend door actuator from what I’ve read online. Would this cause the engine light to come on? The code reading from autozone was coolant leak/coolant low/thermostat something along those lines. But the engine light came on 3 hrs after the clicking started so I am thinking it’s related.

Oh also (the clicking stops after the car warms up a bit)???

I would love to just buy the part online and have a small place replace part. I cannot afford hundreds of dollars in labor. If that is the right part does the dash need to come out in an 05 Cavalier or can it be gotten to under the glove box?

Sorry I just bought this car and don’t have a lot of money to be spending on parts already.


Exactly what was the code?

It might be related. It may be the valve that allows some of the coolant to be diverted to the heater core. It might also be that your cooling system is not full and the sound of the valve isn’t being “damped” by fluid. The valve is physically high in the system, so an air pocket would go there. Air migrates to the highest points.

But it might not be. There’s not enough info here to tell. Have the fault codes downloaded again and post them. And check your coolant level ASAP!!! Post its level here too.

More than likely the motor that drives the blend door is bad. The check engine light is probably not related. Get the code read at autozone or advance.

I had the code read but did not get the number. I will again. This sucks 2 problems after 2 days of purchase. Thanks

Fluid levels are fine - the coolant level is pretty much full.

Did you check the coolant level in the tank or in a cold radiator?

Okay I went to another place and the only code that it threw out is the coolant temp sensor. Meineke wants $127 to fix. This seems like an awfully easy part to fix if you have the ratchet and socket wrench. I’m going to midas tomorrow for a second opinion just to be safe. Also that clicking has not been happening today at all when I drove it. hmmmmmm

There isn’t a “coolant temp sensor” error code. The error codes look like the following “P0123” format:

P0115 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit Malfunction
P0116 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit Range/Performance Problem
P0117 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit Low Input
P0118 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit High Input
P0119 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit Intermittent
P0125 Insufficient Coolant Temperature for Closed Loop Fuel Control
P0126 Insufficient Coolant Temperature for Stable Operation
P0128 Coolant Thermostat (Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature)

Which was it? There are others that might have someone tell you “it could be the coolant temp sensor.” Did Meineke actually check anything? Codes can’t tell you what work needs to be performed. They only tell you where to start with diagnosis.

“Auto care” corporate chains are often not great places to take your car. You will do better by finding a reputable, locally owned, independent shop.

Um, you would be better off staying away from chains, by and large. Plus, the coolant temperature sensor generally is pretty easy to replace. Get yourself a socket wrench set and the sensor, wait for the engine to cool completely, and get it done!

Hi he wrote on the paper code: P0128. No of course Meineke did not check anything. (the snobby boy) at the front desk does nothing to help. Midas has actually treated me well, the one I go to. I dont wanna replace the wrong part. Looks like in your list for that code it says something aobut the thermostat? So not sure what to think. I will eventually either replace the part myself if I can once I find out exactly what it is or take it to a small shop to have them look again.

I also just read this:

It is possible the sensor is bad, or you have air in the cooling system. This code normally comes on
because the engine coolant temp has not reached normal operating temp within a per-determined
time. Air pockets around the sensor will cause it to not read properly. Suggest replacing the sensor
and bleeding the system.

It does seem to take longer than normal to warm up compared to my other cavalier. hmm how to know?

You just bought the car. How much do you know about its service history? For instance, do you know when the cooling system was last serviced? If you don’t know, then frankly it would be wise to have it serviced along with a new thermostat. Much of the the time, this code does indicate a thermostat problem.

However, it can also come from having the cooling fan running too much (easy to check - leave the AC off and it shouldn’t run at all for quite a while after starting the car); the coolant temp sensor (simple checks can be done with an ohmmeter); a bad intake air temp sensor (used for the PCM to have an idea of where coolant temp should be and when). Generally, if those check out, then you should get a new thermostat.

DON’T let anyone just replace your coolant temp sensor.

Cig - I have no background on the car, it was a repo bought by a dealer I got it pretty cheap. But right now I don’t have the funds to have it serviced… (the coolant system)

The a/c has been off since it’s still pretty cold here. I can only hear the fan run when the car is sitting in idle, running for a while. So that’s good.

So are you saying there are 2 temp sensors? A coolant sensor and an intake air temp sensor? So all the mechanic shops have to do is hook at ohmmeter to it to test?

PS: what is a PCM?

Also one more thing my other 02 cavalier has pink dex-cool in it. This stuff in the new car is green. What is the difference?

Also is it easy to burp the system? i have no idea where the radiator is. I looked and it seems to be under a bunch of bolted on plastic in front of the engine. Am I right?

Before anything else, did you happen to just try having the code cleared and then wait to see if it comes back? The auto parts stores will do that for free. If your coolant isn’t low, you aren’t going to ruin the car driving like this for a bit. So get the code cleared and then if it doesn’t come back then forget it.

If it does become an issue, unless you are having a not-so-common kind of problem such as a leak that is sucking air, then you probably don’t have air in the system. I’m pretty sure this uses a pressurized coolant reservoir where the cap (the place where you add coolant) is the highest point in the system. In general, those systems “burp” themselves. If you really want to make sure, park the car someplace on an incline with the front up higher than the rear - and - well, just let it run. The air always goes to the highest point as the coolant circulates.

But its probably not air. You probably just need a thermostat. Go to youtube and search for a 2005 cavalier thermostat replacement. I’m betting you’ll find something. Take a look and see if you think it’s within your capabilities.

Here is a brief write-up on coolant types: Some people are paranoid about coolant types. I’m not. If someone replaces the GM DexCool with generic green, that’s fine (I would). You just can’t leave it in there for 5 yrs/100K miles. You change it every 2 years or so. Far more important than type of coolant is a) never letting it get low and b) changing it regularly.

PCM stands for “Powertrain Control Module.” Its “the computer.” The intake air temp sensor is just part of what the PCM uses when it decides how fast the car should reach operating temperature. If its 10 degrees out it will obviously take longer than if its 90 degrees out. If your IAT tells the PCM that it’s 90 when it’s really 10 - then it will be wrong about how fast the engine coolant should reach temp.

Anyway - as I said, clear the code first. It might have just been a random blip. If the code returns then you probably just need a thermostat. The thermostat probably costs about $10 or less. Coolant would be another $10-15. So you go to youtube and see if you think you could do it. It’s often not that hard.

But let me also bring up a much bigger issue. You can’t buy a used car and after that be so tapped out that you can’t afford something as simple as a cooling system service. If you learn nothing else from all of this, at least learn that. The next time you go to buy a car spend at least something like $500-1000 LESS THAN you actually have. Assume that a used car will need some attention.

There are two temp sensors that measure coolant temp; one to turn the cooling fan on and off, and another to tell the car’s computer what the engine temp is. Others, such as the one that tells the computer the temperature of the intake air, aren’t involved in your problem.

If it’s a simple P0128, the T-stat may simply be stuck open, but since you have no history on the car and you’ve suggested symptoms that point to air in the system (a possible leak), you definitely want to check the system out thoroughly. Loss of coolant can result in serious engine damage.

The PCM (power control module) is the car’s computer that controls the tranny. The ECM (engine control module) controls engine operation. Different makes use different acronyms, so these may vary.

Different colored coolants are DIFFERNT coolants that have different additives and work different ways to inhibit corrosion. Using the wrong kind can result in engine damage, so be sure your system contains the correct type. There are two fluids that I like to get directly from the dealer, coolant and tranny fluid. The cost of having either wrong can be serious.

You are correct in where the radiator is. The plastic covers are there to direct airflow through the radiator and such that the fan draws the air through properly. They’re called “shrouds” but “plastic covers” is fine.

Burping the system, getting the air out, consists of getting the fill hole to be the highest point in the system, generally by getting the front wheels up on ramps SAFELY!!! That’s followed by turning the heater on high to allow the coolant to flow through the heater core, filling the radiator, then running the engine some, filling it again, running it some, and filling it again, then filling the reservoir, putting the cap on, taking it for a drive, and checking the level after the drive.

Be advised that many cars, and I think the Cav is one, have two cooling systems in the radiator, one for the engine and one for the tranny fluid. Leakage CAN occur between the two, and that ain’t good. Fluid mixing can destroy both the engine AND the tranny. If you have mixing, and based on the color of your coolant you MAY, the tranny and the engine will need to be flushed out and refilled after the radiator is replaced.

This is a lot of information to digest. Either start with the T-stat, or perhaps save yourself a lot of money in the long run by having a radiator shop check the cooling system out and give you a good diagnosis, perhaps even repair it. The cost will be well invested.

You may have noticed that I never mentioned the tempo sensor. Assuming this and being wrong can be very costly. Start with the assumption that you have a cooling system problem rather than a sensor problem and you may be glad you did.

i did not know they would clear the code. Thanks for that info… That’s kinda what i wanna have done just to see if it comes back on. This is tmi all this coolant info. I wish it just had DexCool in it . Thats all I’ve ever used… now i have to worry about the transmission and engine cooland being mixed omg. Too much to worry about. I will take it to midas tomorrow get their take and then get the code cleared after. If it comes back on I will start find a mechanic. I cannot replace t-stat myself because of the vaccuum system. Tried before (well my dad did) and ended up paying $250 bucks for a whole flush and refill.

I bought this car cheap and i’v had 5 cavaliers they have really never given me too many problems. Right now I would have the money to put in it but I have not sold my old car yet. I may sell this one instead. I’m still trying to decide which one will be a less costly investment that’s why I’m doing all this. Thanks and I will reply back with the resolution. Appreciate all your helps.

Do you have a reputable independently owned and operated shop in your area? The Midas chain has a reputation for aggressively pushing unnecessary work.

The clicking under the dash is a defective blend door actuator motor. I had the same clicking problem under the glove box of my 96 Saturn SL2. This is a very easy fix. Buy a used unit from a junkyard or Ebay for about $20.00. Remove the glove box door to access the blend motor and replace. Very easy. I disassembled my bad blend door actuator motor and found that the larger roud white gear had a crack and a broken cog, which was making the awful clicking noise.