GM Cavalier/Sunfire 1995-2000 Repair Guide

Body Lubrication and Maintenance



Every 12 months or 7,500 miles (12,000 km), the various linkages and hinges on the chassis and body should be lubricated, as follows:

Transaxle Shift Linkage

Lubricate the manual transaxle shift linkage contact points with the EP grease used for chassis greasing, which should meet G.M. specification 6031M. The automatic transaxle linkage should be lubricated with clean engine oil.

Hood Latch And Hinges

Clean the latch surfaces and apply clean engine oil to the latch pilot bolts and the spring anchor. Use the engine oil to lubricate the hood hinges as well. Use a chassis grease to lubricate all the pivot points in the latch release mechanism.

Door Hinges

The gas tank filler door, car door, and rear hatch or trunk lid hinges should be wiped clean and lubricated with clean engine oil. Silicone spray also works well on these parts, but must be applied more often. Use engine oil to lubricate the trunk or hatch lock mechanism and the lock bolt and striker. The door lock cylinders can be lubricated easily with a shot of silicone spray or one of the many dry penetrating lubricants commercially available.

Parking Brake Linkage

Do NOT lubricate the parking brake cables. Lubrication destroys the plastic coating on the cables.

Use chassis grease on the parking brake cable guides where they contact the links, levers, and pulleys. The grease should be a water resistant one for durability under the car.

Accelerator Linkage

Lubricate the accelerator pedal lever at the support inside the car with many dry penetrating lubricants commercially available.


The car should be washed at regular intervals to remove dirt, dust, insects, and tar and other possibly damaging stains that can adhere to the paint and may cause damage. Proper exterior maintenance also helps in the resale value of the vehicle by maintaining its like-new appearance.

It is particularly important to frequently wash the car in the wintertime to prevent corrosion, when salt has been used on the roads.

There are many precautions and tips on washing, including the following:

When washing the car, do not expose it do direct sunlight.
Use lukewarm water to soften the dirt before you wash with a sponge, and plenty of water, to avoid scratching.
A detergent can be used to facilitate the softening of dirt and oil.
A water-soluble grease solvent may be used in cases of sticky dirt. However, use a washplace with a drainage separator.
Dry the car with a clean chamois and remember to clean the drain holes in the doors and rocker panels.
If equipped with a power radio antenna, it must be dried after washing.

Never clean the bumpers with gasoline or paint thinner, always use the same agent as used on the painted surfaces of the vehicle.

Tar spots can be removed with tar remover or kerosene after the car has been washed.
A stiff-bristle brush and lukewarm soapy water can be used to clean the wiper blades. Frequent cleaning improves visibility when using the wipers considerably.
Wash off the dirt from the underside (wheel housings, fenders, etc.).
In areas of high industrial fallout, more frequent washing is recommended.

During high pressure washing the spray nozzle must never be closer to the vehicle yhan 13 inches (30 cm). Do not spray into the locks.

When washing or steam cleaning the engine, avoid spraying water or steam directly on the electrical components or near the distributor or ignition components. After cleaning the engine, the spark plug wells should be inspected for water and blown dry if necessary.
Special car washing detergent is the best to use. Liquid dishwashing detergent can remove wax and leave the car's paint unprotected and in addition some liquid detergents contains abrasives which can scratch the paint.
Bird droppings should be removed from the paintwork as soon as possible, otherwise the finish may be permanently stained.

When the car is driven immediately after being washed, apply the brakes several times in order to remove any moisture from the braking surfaces.

Engine cleaning agents should not be used when the engine is warm, a fire risk is present as most engine cleaning agents are highly flammable.

Automatic car washing is a simple and quick way to clean your car, but it is worth remembering that it is not as thorough as when you yourself clean the car. Keeping the underbody clean is vitally important, and some automatic washers do not contain equipment for washing the underside of the car.

When driving into an automatic was, make sure the following precautions have been taken:

Make sure all windows are up, and no objects that you do not want to get wet are exposed.
In some cases, rotating the side view mirrors in can help to avoid possible damage.
If your car is equipped with a power antenna, lower it. If your vehicle has a solid mounted, non-power antenna, it is best to remove it, but this is not always practical. Inspect the surroundings to reduce the risk of possible damage, and check to see if the antenna can be manually lowered.

Most manufacturers do not recommend automatic car washing in the first six months due to the possibility of insufficient paint curing; a safe bet is to wait until after six months of ownership (when purchased new) to use an automatic car wash.


Before applying wax, the vehicle must be washed and thoroughly dried.

Waxing a vehicle can help to preserve the appearance of your vehicle. A wide range of polymer-based car waxes are available today. These waxes are easy to use and produce a long-lasting, high gloss finish that protects the body and paint against oxidation, road dirt, and fading.

Sometimes, waxing a neglected vehicle, or one that has sustained chemical or natural element damage (such as acid rain) require more than waxing, and a light-duty compound can be applied. For severely damaged surfaces, it is best to consult a professional to see what would be required to repair the damage.

Waxing procedures differ according to manufacturer, type, and ingredients, so it is best to consult the directions on the wax and/or polish purchased.



Fabric can usually be cleaned with soapy water or a proper detergent. For more difficult spots caused by oil, ice cream, soda, etc., use a fabric cleaner available at most parts stores. Be sure when purchasing the cleaner to read the label to ensure it is safe to use on your type of fabric. A safe method of testing the cleaner i to apply a small amount to an area usually unseen, such as under a seat, or other areas. Wait a while, perhape even a day to check the spot for fading, discoloring, etc., as some cleaners will only cause these problems after they have dried.

Leather upholstery requires special care, it can be cleaned with a mild soap and a soft cloth. It is recommended that a special leather cleaner be used to clean but also treat the leather surfaces in your vehicle. Leather surfaces can age quickly and can crack if not properly taken care of, so it is vital that the leather surfaces be maintained.

Floor Mate and Carpet

The floor mate and carpet should be vacuumed or brushed regularly. They can be cleaned with a mild soap and water. Special cleaners are available to clean the carpeted surfaces of your vehicle, but take care in choosing them, and again it is best to test them in a usually unseen spot.

Dashboard, Console, Door Panels, 0Etc.

The dashboard, console, door panels, and other plastic, vinyl, or wood surfaces can be cleaned using a mild soap and water. Caution must be taken to keep water out of electronic accessories and controle to avoid shorts or ruining the components. Again special cleaners are available to clean these surfaces, as with other cleaners care must taken in purchasing and using such cleaners.

There are protectants available which can treat the various surfaces in your car giving them a shiny new look, however some of these protectants can cause more harm than good in the long run. The shins that is placed on your dashboard attracts sunlight accelerating the aging, fading and possibly even cracking the surfaces. These protectants also attract more dust to stick to the surfaces they treat, increasing the cleaning you must do to maintain the appearance of your vehicle. Personal discretion is advised 0here.