Question about 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier

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2003 cavalier trac and engine light on

Slow acceleration to 20..uses tons of gas and smell gas like running rich,

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  • Anonymous Jan 20, 2009

    TRAC OFF LIGHT STAYS ON ON A 2003 CAVALIER

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  • 76 Answers

You are probably throwing code p0300 random misfire. it sounds like your ignition module which sits on the top of you engine it is silver with find and held in with 3 torx screws it controls 2 cylinders at a time so when it goes your car will be only running on 2 cylinders this can severely damage you catalytic converter. and a dealer won't cover it under the emissions warranty. the module costs around $100 so you might want to diagnose it.

Posted on Feb 07, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

2002. Why does it emit black smoke and has a gas smell?


black smoke on acceleration is from a rich running engine. the fuel smell can also be from the same but please make sure u dont have an extermal fuel leak. that could be dangerous and a strong smell would occur. have ur engine computer system scanned for possible codes or if its a carbeuretor sounds like the float may be sticking or a msadjusted choke or carb assembly. hope this helps

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Trac Off light and Cooling Fan running on my 2001 Chevy Cavalier


I had the same problem on my 2001 Sunfire (same car as the Cavalier-different branding) which I was able to fix successfully.

My symptoms were:
-Traction Control OFF light illuminated
-Cooling fan running even if engine cold and it was freezing outside (I also noticed that when the Traction light illuminated, the fan would then begin)
-Rough idle with black smoke when cold
-Poor fuel economy


I have a code reader which produced codes P0130 and P0171. These are error codes for the upstream oxygen sensor (the one under the hood).

I simply replaced the O2 sensor (it took me 10 minutes). I did not reset the check engine light after the repair as I wanted to see what the car would do on its own. The idle was much smoother with no smoke and the cooling fan stopped running unnecessarily. After 1/2 mile down the road, the Trac light went away and the system functioned normally. I tested this by trying to accelerate quickly up a snowy driveway. I also noticed that the acceleration and shifting (auto tranny) were smoother. I reset the check engine light. All is satisfactory.


What was happening to the car before the repair:

P0130 is usually for a bad O2 sensor and P0171 is the sensor detected that the motor was running too lean (but it actually wasn't-the sensor was essentially giving a false lean signal).
The rough idle, black smoke, and poor economy are due to running too rich. In my case, the sensor told the PCM (the car's computer) that the air/fuel mixture was too lean. In response, the computer said "OK, more gas!" That's why it ran rich. This was evidenced on the old O2 sensor as well...it was completely caked with carbon from an excessively rich mixture. This further destroyed the performance of the O2 sensor.

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