2004 Cavalier 2.2L Oil Change Interval?

Messages
96
Location
Philadelphia, PA
I bought a 2004 Chevy Cavalier back on February 1st. It has a 2.2L engine and auto trans. Aside from some dings and dents, it runs great, and only has 82,000 miles. I did some basic maintenance when I got it: oil change, air filter, tire rotation, and spark plugs. This is kind of a "beater" car, to rack the miles up on and save some gas money rather than driving my Dodge Ram every day. The owner's manual recommends a 7500 mile OCI for "normal driving", and 3000 miles for "severe" driving (stop & go, lots of idling, dusty conditions, ect). Most of my driving is "suburban" (up to 40 mph then a red light, things like that) and highway driving. I might sit through a traffic light 2 or 3 times due to lots of traffic a few times a week during rush hour. I was thinking a 7000 mile OCI with Walmart Supertech full synthetic 5w30 and whatever decent name brand filter happens to be on sale. Does this sound ok? I usually don't go past 5000 mile OCIs, but this is sort of a beater and I am not looking to get fanatical with maintenance. On the other hand,I don't want to neglect it, and I want it to last as long as possible, so I'm looking for a happy medium. Is 7000 miles too long, maybe I should cut it down to 5000? I put about 12,000 miles per year on my car, and drive in all kinds of weather conditions (0 to 100 degrees F). Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
 
Messages
16,717
Location
NH
I'm a fan of 5k. It's easy to look at the odometer and do a tire rotation and oil change every 5k without having to think about it. In this case, I'd probably do 5k, although if I woke up one day and realized I was at 6 or 7k I'd just run it for the full 10k and then go back to 5k OCI's.
 
Messages
910
Location
PA
Go 5K and use a hi mileage syn blend or full syn. Might not have the high mileage but at that age, might be good to give the seals some extra conditioning love. The supertech full syn hi mileage blend has a nice add pack.
 
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Messages
479
Location
PA
Had the same engine in an '04 Chevy (Malibu) Classic. Easy on oil, never added more than a few drops during an OCI and sometimes nothing at all. I changed oil anywhere from 5K to 8K miles depending on how much highway driving it saw. I suspect it could have gone further. I would check oil level and how fast it darkens the next few months. If there are no issues, 5K minimum OCI. Down the road can extend that if things go well. In non-oil news: Watch out for the PassLock security system shutting off the car for 10 minutes.
 
Messages
137
Location
Florida
I'm also for 5k OCI. Supertech syn is good but not the filters. Don't cheap out on them. High mileage ST is also fine. You use Dex III trans fluid which is dirt cheap. Gallon at WM for under $14. Drain and refill every 20k miles or so. Get a Doorman pan with a drain plug. Makes for easier drainage.
 
Messages
1,191
Location
PEARL River la
Check it for sludge. These engines normally go high mileage but only on 3k with dino of the day. Lots of engines replacement at the 90k mark for this. I bought an 06 Saturn Vue with 2.2L at 85k. I fought dealership over this issue. I had sludge in filter after they changed oil as I did a quick change a week after I got it. I ran all brands to flush out but finally settled for PP at 5k. Kept for 8 years and put 50k more on it. Listen for chain rattle in morning so you can replace it. Not a bad engine but have it's quirks.
 
Messages
3,430
Location
St. Charles County, Missouri
Had a '97 Cavalier with the 2.2 and don't remember it giving me any trouble. Don't think I changed the oil myself (stopped in mid nineties) probably got the basic Wally World $12 (at the time) oil change which was probably ST (prolly Tech 2000 at that time) 5w30 rather than QS. Think I got rid of it at about 90,000 miles. Think I'd do high mileage oil, since I think they're about the same price. Since you're doing 12K a year, I'd go 6K synthetic or 5K conventional (blend) changes with high mileage ST. Easy to divide. Don't think a ST or low end Fram filter would give you problems given the low tech-ness of that engine.
 
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Messages
11,184
Location
Bad Axe, MI
Those 2.2 are great little engines run forever HM oil is not needed there not a sludge monster engine I've had two, run any name brad syn. and do 7-8+k OCI easily. 0w30 or 5w30 can be used they spec 5w30
 
Messages
251
Location
Missouri
Why not do a twice a year oil change, spring and fall? That would be about 6,000 miles. I would use a synthetic oil in the recommended viscosity (ST would be fine) and a Fram Ultra filter. Have fun!
 
Messages
4,022
Location
Central Virginia
I would do 5,000 mile intervals with full synthetic oil and an ACDelco, NAPA Gold or other decent filter. I use NAPA branded full synthetic oil and buy when it goes on sale, which seems to be every October but may be more frequent than that.
 
Messages
241
Location
Illinois valley
Originally Posted by Oily_Thing
Why not do a twice a year oil change, spring and fall? That would be about 6,000 miles. I would use a synthetic oil in the recommended viscosity (ST would be fine) and a Fram Ultra filter. Have fun!
+1 Spring and fall. You won't be lying in the snow if you do it yourself. Full synthetic your choice 5W-30 with a better filter Wix NAPA gold Fram Ultra...
 
Messages
35,866
Location
ME
This car has the ecotec and as stated the timing chain is an issue. I'd do full syn every 5k. ST is fine, or whatever you find on clearance from autozone.
 
Messages
114
Location
Pocatello, Idaho
I owned a 96 Cavalier with this engine until I sold it to my son with 220,000 miles, with no major work except a head gasket at about 190,000 and never any oil leaks. With a manual transmission, it had the longest range of any vehicle I have ever owned. Drove from Flagstaff, Az to Ogden, Ut once between fuel fill ups (about 50 mpg). I am also a fan of time based oil changes. Spring and fall for me with Chevron Supreme and Wix filters. You do not need synthetic oil with this engine but since "synthetic" has become more of a marketing than a technical term, you certainly can use what ever proper grade fits your budget. I do not think that they make cars anymore that are as easy to maintain and will give you as low a cost of ownership as these were.
 
Messages
10,279
Location
USA
Originally Posted by compratio10_5
I owned a 96 Cavalier with this engine until I sold it to my son with 220,000 miles, with no major work except a head gasket at about 190,000 and never any oil leaks. With a manual transmission, it had the longest range of any vehicle I have ever owned. Drove from Flagstaff, Az to Ogden, Ut once between fuel fill ups (about 50 mpg). I am also a fan of time based oil changes. Spring and fall for me with Chevron Supreme and Wix filters. You do not need synthetic oil with this engine but since "synthetic" has become more of a marketing than a technical term, you certainly can use what ever proper grade fits your budget. I do not think that they make cars anymore that are as easy to maintain and will give you as low a cost of ownership as these were.
not the same engine smile The OP's 2004 Cavalier has the Ecotec
 
Messages
8,315
Location
Texas
Following the common advice here, 5W/30 ST Synthetic Hi Mileage and your choice of filter (ST filters are fine BTW) changed at 5k - 7k miles should do the trick. If you wanted to spend about $12 more you could go Mobil 1 EP high mileage and, arguably, have a little more protection and go 10k miles.
 
Messages
276
Location
Arizona
Originally Posted by csandste
Had a '97 Cavalier with the 2.2 and don't remember it giving me any trouble. Don't think I changed the oil myself (stopped in mid nineties) probably got the basic Wally World $12 (at the time) oil change which was probably ST (prolly Tech 2000 at that time) 5w30 rather than QS. Think I got rid of it at about 90,000 miles. Think I'd do high mileage oil, since I think they're about the same price. Since you're doing 12K a year, I'd go 6K synthetic or 5K conventional (blend) changes with high mileage ST. Easy to divide. Don't think a ST or low end Fram filter would give you problems given the low tech-ness of that engine.
That was the OHV 2.2. The 04 had the Ecotec 2.2 as standard equipment. It was first offered in the Cavalier in 2002 as an option. Might want to check the chain tensioner and oiler to see if they have been replaced with the improved items
 
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wtd

Messages
2,484
Location
southwest Mo.
My daughter has a 2010 Cobalt with this engine and I do 5,000 mile oil change intervals on it with an AC filter cartridge. I usually use Phillips 66 Shield in it and so far it's quiet with no chain rattle that I can hear. It has around 106,000 miles on it. My 92 Cavalier has the earlier generation 2.2L in it and I do 5,000 mile changes on it too with the same oil. I have almost 240,000 miles on it.
 
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