2014 Chevy Cruze... worth repairing

Have had the common oil leaks, water pump, coolant repairs done over the last 2 years that seem to be super typical with this car. Anyway, back in August, the turbo charger (was cracked), camshaft cover, and oil cooler were all replaced. Throttle body service was also done. After 800 miles / 2.5 months, check engine light flashes and diagnostics are showing P0106, P0300, and P1101. Got it towed to the dealership. Initially it was a problem with the valve cover gasket and oil had corroded the coil pack and spark plugs. After back and forth, they are now saying that the camshaft is messed up, timing chain is loose, and they would need to pull it apart/the cylinder head would be tested. That would cost 3600 just to pull apart. They mentioned that there could be more internal damage but wouldn’t know until it was apart so of course more money.

Trying to learn about this so I know what to ask. Unfortunately learning while the car is failing.

  1. Can replacing the camshaft cover mess with the rocker arm to make it eventually fail?
  2. Is it worth potentially putting in a new engine if body is in good shape? Or will another system most likely fail because of the current problems making the car a money pit?

*realized I missed putting the mileage. 57K. Also, no payments

  1. No

  2. Only you can determine if it is worth it. The car is only 6 years old with xxx miles (you don’t say) but the body is in good shape.

Some things to consider.

If you don’t replace the timing chain and just button the car back up it is in tradeable condition… to a dealer. I would not want to sell it to a friend or family or even a stranger knowing the timing chain time bomb is ticking.

If you are not making payments, sure just fix the car. There is some risk the transmission or AC would be the next to go but at least the car isn’t dead with a payment due.


I would fix it then sell the car before it becomes a real money pit…Too many issues for a 6 year old car

I agree with Mustangman, however whether or not you owe money on this car really changes nothing. In fact, a person who owes a monthly payment on a car is even less likely to be able to afford thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket repairs than someone who owns the car outright.

Regardless, there is no way on Earth I would spend $3600, or even $1600 just on diagnostic labor, which is sure to result in an even higher final cost once internal damage is found. Especially for a car which has had constant problems, and needed repeated major repairs–despite not being very old or high in mileage.

Furthermore, I would not pay to replace the engine in a car which appears to have design defects which cause the engine to go bad. The only time I would pay to replace an engine is if the model itself is reliable–which this one is not–but the engine failed due to an external cause, such as overheating, oil filter blew out, or improper maintenance caused by a previous owner. It does not make sense to replace a failed/failing engine of a defective design with another working engine of the same defective design, unless someone else is paying such as a warranty.

I think the smart thing to do is get rid of this car and buy something else. If you own the car outright, you can sell it on Craigslist as a “mechanic special” or trade it in to a dealer. If you are still making payments, you are going to have to trade it in and roll whatever negative equity exists into the new loan.

Around here, $3600 could buy an excellent used car with relatively low miles, and no rust or body damage.

1 Like

With out seeing the vehicle but just going by the list of problems I say it is replacement time . Even if the future problems are minor you are going dislike this thing as long as you have it.

1 Like

Doesn’t your second sentence contradict your first? The worst possible case is a broken car you can’t afford to fix that you are still making payments on.


I’m skeptical of all these problems the dealer says you have. For that money, get one or two more opinions. This assumes you changed to oil before the oil life monitor got to zero.

1 Like

Just to clarify, by cam cover do you mean timing chain cover or camshaft cover? Neither one would cause a camshaft or rocker arm to go bad. You mention cam cover being replaced and now there is an alleged cam problem so the questions do arise.
The codes you provide are related to a random misfire and MAP/MAF codes which can be a far cry from engine destruction.

I’ve had some thought on this one and I have to wonder if you have been yanked around a bit on this car and are still being yanked around. This seems like a lot of serious issues for a 2014 with only 57k miles on it. The one exception might be if you bought it new and absolutely whaled it into the pavement on a daily basis.

And they want 3600 dollars to go on a fishing expedition? I don’t think so. And “test” the head? I don’t know their definition of that.
There is no way on Earth that it should cost anyone that kind of money to discover anything. Sorry I can’t be of more help here without hands on but something kind of stinks about all of this.

1 Like

First, get a second opinion. Second, if the situation really is dire, I’d have a used engine installed and start looking for a replacement vehicle.

There is no contradiction. Whether or not a large amount of money is owed for a car does not change the analysis of whether or not it is worth spending X amount of dollars to repair that car. Of course a person who lacks the means to pay for the repairs is going to be stuck, even if the car was clearly worth fixing. Similarly, even a person who owns the car outright should cut their losses and sell/junk it if it’s clearly not worth fixing.

Let us consider the situation which many people found themselves in 8-10 years ago with Chrysler vehicles equipped with the 2.7L engine. Some people owned these cars outright and made the decision to have the engine replaced (if they could afford it) or to junk the car instead. Others owed huge loan debts on these cars, and when the engine failed were forced to default on the debt and handle the consequences of a large defaulted debt later on (collections, lawsuits, bankruptcy, etc).

Regardless of any debt which may or may not have been owed, a smart person would have cut their losses and junked the car, because replacing a failed engine of a defective design with another used, new, or rebuilt engine of the same defective design is not a good economic decision. It only makes sense to do such a thing if someone else is paying, such as the manufacturer or an extended warranty.

Yes it does. You can’t make these decisions in a financial vacuum. If you are going to default on a car loan it matters a lot and as such should be considered in the decison.

You cannot predict that the exact same failure will occur. Even if you can, you have the option of fixing and selling the car or walking away and taking the loss. If it is financed, you risk destroying your credit if you walk away. If you own it outright, you can walk away with a loss but no other effect. Your example was that exact situation.

You make your decisions your way, and I’ll make them my way. And I’ll advise accordingly if asked.

1 Like