Author Topic: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?  (Read 941 times)

letired

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I have a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo that has nearly 70k miles on it (I don't drive that much). The alternator appears to have given out (taking it to the shop tomorrow). KBB value is somewhere between $500-$1500. I was gifted this car new in 2005, and it has generally been low-maintenance and trouble-free.

I can find a used mid-mileage Prius in good condition on the local craigslist for $4-$8k, which I have been casually researching as a potential replacement in the next few years.

Qualities in a car that are important to me: good gas mileage, low maintenance, hatchback/ability to stick a bike in the back or haul a few 2x4s.

At what point is it not worth repairing the Aveo?

nick_mmm

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 09:28:22 PM »
The real question- has the timing belt been replaced yet? If this has the 1.6L engine I am thinking of, that is a ticking time bomb if not which will likely destroy the engine when it goes out.

If not; alternator is a cheap enough fix, and with basic tools not even that hard to do yourself.

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 09:44:01 PM »
That's a negative on the timing belt, so +1 point to get a new-to-me car sooner rather than later.

For a variety of reasons that don't bear (much) discussion, I'm unlikely to replace the alternator myself, though I have considered it.

Ecky

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 04:42:32 AM »
For what it's worth, RockAuto has an alternator for you car for $80. I expect replacement would be a little harder than spark plugs, unless Chevy royally screwed up their mounting system.

To me, $80 alternator > $8,000 "new" car. It's worth doing even if you're going to sell the Aveo, as a running car will certainly fetch $80 more than a non-running one.

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 08:54:30 AM »
For a variety of reasons that don't bear (much) discussion, I'm unlikely to replace the alternator myself, though I have considered it.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 09:12:00 AM »
If it's not a particularly annoying install, do you have a friend who would do it for a six pack of something decent?

"Alternator died, better sell the car!" is lunacy.

JLee

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 09:15:09 AM »
Book time for alternator replacement is 1.1 hours.  Timing belt replacement is 2 hours.

Buying a new car instead of an alternator (or timing belt) is ridiculous.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2018, 09:20:43 AM »
Replacing the car because the alternator has died is kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  At least have it replaced so that you don't have to sell it for a fraction of what it's worth.  I can't even believe this is even a question...

robartsd

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2018, 09:28:29 AM »
Alternator: ~$80 + 1.1 hour labor
Timing Belt and Water pump: ~$50 + 2 hour labor

This is routine maintenance, not major repairs.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 10:48:58 AM »
Alternator: ~$80 + 1.1 hour labor
Timing Belt and Water pump: ~$50 + 2 hour labor

This is routine maintenance, not major repairs.

Wow, that's a super easy timing belt if it's only 2 hours book time!  ... and an oddly hard alternator, apparently.  Most of mine have been "15 minutes in the parts store parking lot" affairs.  Pro tip: Have the store test the replacement alternator before you leave with it, because the harder it is to install, the more likely it is to be dead (even a fresh reman can have problems).

Both tasks should be within the range of a competent shadetree mechanic.  Neither are remotely close to "sell the vehicle" level problems.  I can't imagine it would be more than $500-$700 at a local shop for both.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 11:18:53 AM »
I have a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo that has nearly 70k miles on it (I don't drive that much). The alternator appears to have given out (taking it to the shop tomorrow). KBB value is somewhere between $500-$1500. I was gifted this car new in 2005, and it has generally been low-maintenance and trouble-free.
KBB on a not running car...$0. (exaggeration, but seriously, why do people think they should sell cars before fixing the easy stuff?)

No matter what you decide after, sell or keep, you need to fix the car. Trying to sell a car with a very easy fix means you will get nothing from selling. ROI on fixing something so simple is huge.

PlainsWalker

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2018, 11:24:31 AM »
Pro tip: Have the store test the replacement alternator before you leave with it, because the harder it is to install, the more likely it is to be dead (even a fresh reman can have problems).
The one time I got a bad alternator from the parts store it mounted up, back, and behind in the most awkward to reach place possible in the engine compartment.

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2018, 11:32:52 AM »
Alternator: ~$80 + 1.1 hour labor
Timing Belt and Water pump: ~$50 + 2 hour labor

This is routine maintenance, not major repairs.

Wow, that's a super easy timing belt if it's only 2 hours book time!  ... and an oddly hard alternator, apparently.  Most of mine have been "15 minutes in the parts store parking lot" affairs.  Pro tip: Have the store test the replacement alternator before you leave with it, because the harder it is to install, the more likely it is to be dead (even a fresh reman can have problems).

Both tasks should be within the range of a competent shadetree mechanic.  Neither are remotely close to "sell the vehicle" level problems.  I can't imagine it would be more than $500-$700 at a local shop for both.

@robartsd  Would you mind telling me where you got that info on the time labor hours? I (obviously) know next to nothing about cars/car repair.

@Syonyk  Thanks for the tip and price estimate! That gives me a better idea of where I should be drawing my cutoff lines.

@ everyone else, apologies for the unclear brief, I should have posted more history. I fucking hate this car. It has served me admirably and well for 14 years, but I hate it. I am not willing/able to do many repairs myself that are more complicated than 'replace a headlight' or 'clean battery terminals'. This is a weird one-off badly designed car and all repairs I've attempted have gone badly. I also don't own the tools for anything much more complicated. If it costs too much money to repair, I'm leaving it at the curb for the donation people to come pick it up; I am not dicking around with craigslist fuckos.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 11:41:11 AM by letired »

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2018, 11:56:48 AM »
Pro tip: Have the store test the replacement alternator before you leave with it, because the harder it is to install, the more likely it is to be dead (even a fresh reman can have problems).
The one time I got a bad alternator from the parts store it mounted up, back, and behind in the most awkward to reach place possible in the engine compartment.

Of course!  A friend of mine got a bad alternator on an older Mazda 6, I think, that required either dropping the exhaust or an axle to get the alternator out.  I tended to drive stuff that had the alternator mounted top and center, with V-belts (not even serpentine), so they were super easy to swap out.

@robartsd  Would you mind telling me where you got that info on the time labor hours? I (obviously) know next to nothing about cars/car repair.

Most cars have a service "book" that includes repair processes, and an estimate on hours it should take.  Most shops bill by this, so you don't pay more if someone who's new is doing the job, and, conversely, an old timer who knows all the tricks can often do service in 60-70% of the "book time."  Your 1000th alternator on this car, for instance, probably won't take 1.1 hours, but the FNG may take 2 hours.

Quote
@ everyone else, apologies for the unclear brief, I should have posted more history. I fucking hate this car. It has served me admirably and well for 14 years, but I hate it. I am not willing/able to do many repairs myself that are more complicated than 'replace a headlight' or 'clean battery terminals'. This is a weird one-off badly designed car and all repairs I've attempted have gone badly. I also don't own the tools for anything much more complicated. If it costs too much money to repair, I'm leaving it at the curb for the donation people to come pick it up; I am not dicking around with craigslist fuckos.

... this is relevant information in the context of the thread, because otherwise it looks like the lunacy you've been getting as responses.  A bad alternator is not a reason to scrap a car.

Also, leaving a perfectly good car for the donation people seems... kind of silly as well.  If you don't like selling cars, do you have any friends who enjoy that sort of haggling?  Give them 20% and you still come out ahead of $0 and a tax deduction.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2018, 12:00:40 PM »
You're letting your emotions regarding hating the car get in the way of the best financial move.  The best financial move is to fix the alternator (a few hundred at most) and sell it for $1,500 to a "craigslist wacko".  Forget the timing belt, you don't need to have the timing belt fixed... not sure how this thread got into convincing you that needs to be done.  It may be due by the book (questionable, at best), but that doesn't need to be done before selling the car.

Your car has 70K miles, that is really going to make it stand out, and it is going to sell in a flash for $1,500 .  Sell it on Letgo or on a Facebook buy sell trade group if you really believe all you are going to get from craigslist is wackos.  These two alternative options typically provide much more stable parties.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2018, 12:09:53 PM »
Forget the timing belt, you don't need to have the timing belt fixed... not sure how this thread got into convincing you that needs to be done.  It may be due by the book (questionable, at best), but that doesn't need to be done before selling the car.

Eh.  That engine has stupid-short timing belt intervals, and apparently it needs them.

https://www.aa1car.com/library/timing_belt_aveo.htm

Inspection is 30k, replacement is 60k, and apparently a bunch of the original timing belts have been failing at 40k-50k miles, so the 60k interval is optimistic.  On that particular engine, 70k without replacement is really, really pushing one's luck.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2018, 12:17:51 PM »
Forget the timing belt, you don't need to have the timing belt fixed... not sure how this thread got into convincing you that needs to be done.  It may be due by the book (questionable, at best), but that doesn't need to be done before selling the car.

Eh.  That engine has stupid-short timing belt intervals, and apparently it needs them.

https://www.aa1car.com/library/timing_belt_aveo.htm

Inspection is 30k, replacement is 60k, and apparently a bunch of the original timing belts have been failing at 40k-50k miles, so the 60k interval is optimistic.  On that particular engine, 70k without replacement is really, really pushing one's luck.

I'm with you on that, it's certainly (over)due for the car.  But that doesn't mean it needs to be replaced to sell it.  Just be honest to the buyer that it's due, if the buyer is doing his due diligence, he/she will ask.  What I am trying to say is that there is no payback from fixing the timing belt like there is replacing the alternator.  Overdue maintenance items like a timing belt (still runs and drives) are not nearly the detractor like a burnt-out alternator (can't safely drive the car home).  This is just my opinion, and based on 20+ car sales in my 17 years of driving: fix the alternator and sell it.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2018, 12:32:17 PM »
Fair point. I'd still do it, but then again I do my own work so it's a lot cheaper.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2018, 12:50:43 PM »
Fair point. I'd still do it, but then again I do my own work so it's a lot cheaper.

Same here... just replaced the timing belt in my '05 Honda Pilot last month, what a PITA.

robartsd

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2018, 12:57:26 PM »
@robartsd  Would you mind telling me where you got that info on the time labor hours? I (obviously) know next to nothing about cars/car repair.
From @JLee two posts up thread.

Book time for alternator replacement is 1.1 hours.  Timing belt replacement is 2 hours.

Buying a new car instead of an alternator (or timing belt) is ridiculous.
Maybe timing belt plus water pump is slightly more time, but I've always heard you should do both when you do either because it's basically the same labor and the parts aren't that much.

I'm with you on that, it's certainly (over)due for the car.  But that doesn't mean it needs to be replaced to sell it.  Just be honest to the buyer that it's due, if the buyer is doing his due diligence, he/she will ask.  What I am trying to say is that there is no payback from fixing the timing belt like there is replacing the alternator.  Overdue maintenance items like a timing belt (still runs and drives) are not nearly the detractor like a burnt-out alternator (can't safely drive the car home).  This is just my opinion, and based on 20+ car sales in my 17 years of driving: fix the alternator and sell it.
I agree that the timing belt is out of scope required to sell the car.

Most frugal option (besides going completely car free) is to fix the car (both alternator and timing belt) and keep driving it. That option rejected, the next best option is to fix the alternator and sell the car. Good luck.

craiglepaige

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2018, 06:18:49 PM »
OP, fix the car and post it for $2k.



Fair point. I'd still do it, but then again I do my own work so it's a lot cheaper.

Same here... just replaced the timing belt in my '05 Honda Pilot last month, what a PITA.

3.5L V6?

That's not a bad timing belt/wp job. I did my Saturn and it took about 3.5 hrs. Although I did use a lift and air/impact tools.

If you want a bad timing chain job, a BMW N63 timing chain job can rightfully go fuck itself. Done three of those and I absolutely hate them. I'm switching from a coed BMW/MINI shop to a MINI only one, so hopefully I don't ever have to touch one of those again.


This isn't me. Our shop doesn't allow personal cameras.
https://youtu.be/TAnc3mHF7x0

JLee

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2018, 07:30:22 PM »
@robartsd  Would you mind telling me where you got that info on the time labor hours? I (obviously) know next to nothing about cars/car repair.
From @JLee two posts up thread.

Book time for alternator replacement is 1.1 hours.  Timing belt replacement is 2 hours.

Buying a new car instead of an alternator (or timing belt) is ridiculous.
Maybe timing belt plus water pump is slightly more time, but I've always heard you should do both when you do either because it's basically the same labor and the parts aren't that much.

I'm with you on that, it's certainly (over)due for the car.  But that doesn't mean it needs to be replaced to sell it.  Just be honest to the buyer that it's due, if the buyer is doing his due diligence, he/she will ask.  What I am trying to say is that there is no payback from fixing the timing belt like there is replacing the alternator.  Overdue maintenance items like a timing belt (still runs and drives) are not nearly the detractor like a burnt-out alternator (can't safely drive the car home).  This is just my opinion, and based on 20+ car sales in my 17 years of driving: fix the alternator and sell it.
I agree that the timing belt is out of scope required to sell the car.

Most frugal option (besides going completely car free) is to fix the car (both alternator and timing belt) and keep driving it. That option rejected, the next best option is to fix the alternator and sell the car. Good luck.

I have access to mechanic resources (shop manuals / book times), so it was from one of those databases.

magnet18

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2018, 09:25:31 AM »
It's an Aveo... Fix the alternator, sell it, and get LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE, those things rank up there with yugos for most hated cars

(Disclaimer, there is a conflict of interest, because I HATE Aveos.  A friend had one in highschool, it's one of the worst vehicles I've ever had the misfortune of sitting in, and I once drove a 78 mustang 250 miles in January with a backfiring engine, no heater, and antifreeze misting up the windshield the whole time.  I would rather do that again, than own an Aveo)

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2018, 11:23:37 AM »
I have access to mechanic resources (shop manuals / book times), so it was from one of those databases.

Cool, thanks! I was doing some googling, and wasn't coming up with anything like that!

It's an Aveo... Fix the alternator, sell it, and get LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE, those things rank up there with yugos for most hated cars

(Disclaimer, there is a conflict of interest, because I HATE Aveos.  A friend had one in highschool, it's one of the worst vehicles I've ever had the misfortune of sitting in, and I once drove a 78 mustang 250 miles in January with a backfiring engine, no heater, and antifreeze misting up the windshield the whole time.  I would rather do that again, than own an Aveo)

ahaha, finally! Someone who understands what a crap car this is! I don't hate it quite that much, but it's just Not A Good Car.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2018, 11:57:34 AM »
Quote
I was gifted this car new in 2005, and it has generally been low-maintenance and trouble-free.

I guess I've just been happy with my low-maintenance, trouble-free cars throughout my driving history... even the weird ones.

jmusic

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2018, 03:48:59 PM »
Inspection is 30k, replacement is 60k, and apparently a bunch of the original timing belts have been failing at 40k-50k miles, so the 60k interval is optimistic.  On that particular engine, 70k without replacement is really, really pushing one's luck.

Totally agree with this.  Rubber degrades with age too, so it being 15 years old doesn't help on the longevity discussion.

Also of note, the Aveos were actually made by Daewoo and then had a Chevy label slapped on it.  That alone puts me in the sell camp.  One thing that hasn't been asked is the OP's financial situation, though the fact that he's asking makes me suspect that $7K is relatively substantial.

I drive a 2010 Prius and love my car. Changing the brakes now at 120K because the rotors were badly rusted (car came from NJ), the original pads had plenty of life left.

nick663

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2018, 04:27:58 PM »
Replacing the car because the alternator has died is kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  At least have it replaced so that you don't have to sell it for a fraction of what it's worth.  I can't even believe this is even a question...
Another +1 to this.  You're talking a $200 repair at a shop and it'll increase the value of the car by at least $1,000.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2018, 04:49:32 PM »
You're talking a $200 repair at a shop and it'll increase the value of the car by at least $1,000.

On the other hand, buying cars with minor issues like that is a great way to have cheap transportation if you're handy with a wrench!

My $100 car had a bad clutch cable and pissed oil (needed new o-rings between... I think the rocker covers and the head, or something in that range), I got a $350 old Subaru with "a leaking fuel tank and bad brakes."  The fuel pump pulsation damper diaphragm had failed (tossed a new fuel pump in), and the rear brakes with manual slack adjusters were just really, really out of adjustment.  Etc.

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2018, 10:09:42 PM »
Update: Alternator fixed, but the quote for the timing belt was really high. I'm going to do a little calling around to see if anyone is interested in doing it for a more reasonable price, but the current plan is to look at a new-to-me prius in the next month or two.

Ecky

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2018, 05:34:16 AM »
Sounds like a solid plan. Let the next owner deal with the timing belt if you need to.

This site might be of use in determining a good next car:

http://www.dashboard-light.com/

A Prius ranks as one of the most reliable, with a reliability score of 93.9 (exceptional) whereas the Aveo is one of the worst-rated vehicles at "0" (chronic reliability problems). Do yourself a favor and don't buy GM junk.

Compact cars


^  For what it's worth, the Scion xB, Pontiac Vibe, Scion tC and Chevrolet Prizm were all made by Toyota. In compacts, Toyota-built vehicles hold 7 of the top 11 spots, and none of the bottom half.

Another good option is a Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit:

Subcompact cars

CalBal

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2018, 08:41:08 AM »
Not related (directly to the OP's original problem), but I was super pleased to see that my Yaris beat out the Fit. :P Thanks for that site @Ecky !

OP unless you are really tall, the Yaris is a really solid car. Don't let the "subcompact" classification deter you. And bigger on the inside than the Fit too, I think(??). Awesome gas mileage and the manual transmissions have plenty of power. Hatchbacks are super useful also. :)

The only downside to the Yaris is you would be hard pressed to find a used hatchback, as they are awesome and no one sells them. ;)

letired

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2018, 10:33:35 AM »
Do yourself a favor and don't buy GM junk.

In my defense, it was a gift that worked out much better than it had any right to, and was purchased with credit card points  (Do they still do that GM credit card?)

Thanks for the site!

I'm interested in the Prius primarily for its reliability, followed up by it's excellent gas mileage/hybrid status, followed up by it's hatchback + size.

I love compact/subcompact cars and am (relatively) short, and will only buy hatchbacks!  I have recently been in more and more situations that have called for me to transport larger items, so a Prius seems like a good middle ground between 'able to carry lots' and 'not huge'. I'm going to try to go see some cars in person this weekend to decide what will work out.

Reddleman

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2018, 10:40:32 AM »
If this was almost any other car, I'd say to fix it and drive it until it dies- but not the Aveo!  One of the worst cars made in the past 30 years. 

Glad you fixed the alternator, get rid of it as soon as you can.  Then by the Scion/Prism/Vibe/etc. hatchback of your choice. Prius is also a decent choice, but the amount you drive won't make a difference in mpg much of an advantage. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Alternator has died on 2004 Chevy Aveo: repair, or new car time?
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2018, 10:51:19 AM »
Try a CMax, too. Nice big hatch and the plug-in is a huge time/money saver for short trips.