Question about 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt

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2006 Cobalt - Brown thick sludge on dipstick

150K + miles... check engine light has been on for about a year (please no lectures, I've had the computer reprogrammed 3x since I bought the car brand new, usually the lights/gadgets mean nothing, just comp probs ?)... Yesterday I was driving home from work, the oil light came on (red dash light, NOT the change oil notification), then immediately went back off. I drove the 2 miles to my house and checked the oil... sludge all over the dipstick and in the tube... wiped the dipstick and checked again, same amount of sludge was there. Cracked head, blown head gasket, ??? If you could also include a price and/or the parts I would need so I could look it up. Need to know if I should just bite the bullet and buy a new car, or if this is something worth fixing.

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  • Kristina Mullen
    Kristina Mullen Feb 11, 2014

    This is what it looked like...

  • Strech
    Strech Feb 11, 2014

    Doesn't look good. Take it to a mechanic. If it's a blown head gasket, it's cheaper than a cracked head/block.


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  • Chevrolet Master
  • 1,554 Answers

If the oil level (checked with the dipstick) is VERY high, and the oi on the dipstick looks like chocolate milk (or just after running, foamy chocolate milk), this usually means either the head gasket is blown, or the cylinder head or the engine block is cracked, allowing the engine coolant to mix with the engine oil.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014

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SOURCE: 2005 Chevy Aveo - engine light and hold lights flash

I also had the same problem, But the problem lies in the switch the actual hold switch on my aveo there is a side entry way you can pop off the one on the left will give you access to the switch. what could of happen is theres is condensation in inside the switch. then when it gets cold it freezes causing the switch to malfunction. This could happen either by spilling something on the switch or using a cleaning solvent like armorall, YOU MUST BE CAREFULL WITH ANYTHING LIQUID NEAR THE HOLD SWITCH. Also the car going from warm when you drive then cold when you park it at night. My car was in warranty and remind you I came up with is the dealership had no idea what was wrong. they reseted the computer it worked for a week then was happening again. I have knoweldge in switches/wiring so i decided to check pot the switch and open it up and sure enough there was condensation took it to dealer told them to try a new switch works perfect and going on 5 months with out problems. Replacing the switch can solve pretty much every problem that is stated here i think. Also take a look at the wiring and connections for older aveos

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SOURCE: cobalt engine misfires

I can think of a couple of possible things to check.

When is the last time you put in new spark plugs? Ever? Check them. The problem may simply be worn out spark plugs. Likewise, a bad spark plug cable could cause misfires. Yet that is rather unlikely considering your car's low mileage.

Check the connections of all of the rubber vacuum lines which are attached to the top of the engine and which then are attached elsewhere. A vacuum leak due to loose fitting connections can make it hard to start the car. Likewise a vacuum leak can also cause the lean fuel code since the intake manifold no longer generates as strong of a vacuum as it should.

Virtually all cars have a Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve located somewhere on the cylinder head cover. The big rubber grommet around the PCV valve is a common cause of vacuum leaks. Check that the PCV valve is making a snug fit inside of this rubber grommet. While you are at it, pull the PCV valve out of the grommet and make sure that it isn't stopped up. A stopped up PCV valve is very unlikely if you have been good about regularly changing your car's oil.

Check that the clamps for the big hose running from the top of the engine to the air filter housing are snug. And, of course, check that the air filter isn't extremely dirty or stopped up with debris.

It is possible that the mass air flow sensor is defective or has gone bad, but I highly doubt this since your car has very low mileage. Besides, a bad mass air flow sensor on any modern car should produce an error code.

A dirty fuel filter or a weak fuel pump could cause starting problems, and might even cause stalling and misfire problems -- especially when driving uphill. Yet I don't think that this is the problem. Just something to keep in mind as a possibility.

It is possible that the ignition module is either defective or has prematurely gone bad. Usually a good sign of the ignition module going bad is an increasing rate of misfires as the engine gets warmed up. Start the car and let it idle and warm up. If the rate of misfires increases as the engine warms up to normal operating temperature, then it is likely that the ignition module is close to completely giving up the ghost.

Finally, make sure that all bolts connecting the intake manifold and air bell atop the intake manifold are tight. Again, the idea is to get rid of vacuum leaks. This is unlikely, but worth checking. These bolts should never be tightened more than the specified torque values.

Well, these are just some common things which should initially be checked. Assuming that the spark plugs and plug wires are good and considering your car's low mileage, I am betting on either a vacuum leak or a failing ignition module. The latter can be tested by a mechanic who uses an oscilloscope to look for missing ignition module pulses.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009

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