Holden Commodore Problems
No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Holden Commodore reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.
What is the difference between the 2017 VF Series 2 Holden Commodore SV6 and SV6 Black Edition?
Let’s start with what made a 2017 Holden Commodore an SV6. Over and above the standard Commodore specification, ordering an SV6 also got you the higher-spec V6 engine with 210kW, 18-inch alloy wheels, FE2 (firmer) suspension, LED daytime running lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a body kit.
The Black Edition package, meanwhile, was a visual enhancement package that could be specified with either a Commodore SV6 or SS (the V8 model) and, in the case of the SV6, added specific black alloy wheels (still 18 inches) a blacked-out grille, black rear lip spoiler, Black Edition badging, satellite navigation, an improved info-screen, red stitching on the seats and specific floor mats.
Can my 2003 Holden Commodore use ethanol E10 fuel? I usually use Octane 95.
Yes, your Commodore is suitable to run on either E5 or E10 ethanol-blended fuel. Switching to E10 would definitely save you a few dollars per week versus filling up with 95-octane unleaded.
Why does the engine in my 2002 Holden Commodore stop for no reason?
Based on the symptoms, it sounds like something is getting hot and shutting down. When you leave it to cool for those 10 minutes, it fires up again. This could be something in the ignition system becoming too hot, or the fuel system (fuel pump) or perhaps even fuel vaporisation.
However, the V6 engine in your Commodore is very well known – notorious, even – for a crank-angle sensor that can stop working when it becomes too hot. This is a condition that seems to set in with age and, as the sensor becomes less tolerant of heat, will simply shut own the engine with no warning. Here’s something to try next time it happens: Identify the sensor in question (it’s located down by the front pulley of the engine’s crankshaft. Keep a bottle of tap-water in the car boot. When the engine stops next time, open the bonnet and pour the cool water on to the sensor. In many cases, the water is enough to cool the sensor and the engine starts right up. Definitely worth a shot before you start replacing other bits and pieces.
The roof lining in my VE Holden Commodore is starting to sag. Is it easy to repair the headliner of a Commodore or will I need to get it completely replaced?
You shouldn’t need to replace the entire roof lining in your car, but it will need to be removed to have the replacement foam and cloth covering applied. Any roof lining repair will involve getting rid of the old foam that has broken down and caused the delamination of the backing board and the cloth or vinyl. From there, the new foam and cloth can be applied to your original backing board and the assembly refitted to the car.
Another alternative is to have a new headliner installed, sometimes a reconditioned unit that some motor trimmers have on the shelf, ready to go. Some companies will even come to you and replace the roof lining in your driveway or work car-park. You can also source or buy a second-hand roof lining from a wrecked car which, in the case of a common model like a Holden VE Commodore shouldn’t be hard to find. You’ll still need to remove the old one and fit the new one, however. In some instances, you may still be able to buy a brand-new roof lining from the manufacturer, but that’s a long shot and will cost a lot more.
Meanwhile, a VE Commodore roof lining replacement cost will be roughly anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on whether you want the repairer to come to you, you’re happy with a standard (not custom) covering and the car is a standard model. A car with a sunroof fitted will add to that total as it’s a fiddlier job with more to remove and replace.
Repairing the roof lining yourself is not a simple job, as it requires the removal of a bunch of fittings such as interior lights, sun-visors, interior mirrors and that’s before you can even try to manoeuvre the single-piece roof lining out through one of the car’s doors. That’s the reason you see a lot of cars getting around with their roof lining patched up and held in place with everything from thumb tacks to staples.
This all goes back to the 1990s when car-makers discovered that a single-piece, structural-cardboard backing board covered in foam and then cloth or vinyl was a much cheaper alternative than the traditional metal-bow roof lining. The new system was also much faster to fit on an assembly line. But with time and heat cycles, the foam that many car-makers used breaks down into a fine, powdery dust at which point the adhesion between the layers is lost and the cloth sags down and billows into the cabin. Replacing the degraded foam and fitting new cloth or vinyl is the best solution and will return the roof lining to as-new.
Are there any known issues with 2010 Holden Commodores?
The biggest problem with this model of Commodore was it’s V6 engine and that unit’s propensity to suffer stretched timing chains. Cars without a full service history will be the worst offenders, but even a car with a perfect maintenance track record can still require new timing chains. However, this usually occurs long before 200,000kmk have been clocked up, so it would be very interesting to see if the car you’re looking at has, indeed, had this repair made by a previous owner. Of course, even if the timing chain has been replaced, that’s no guarantee that the problem won’t occur again. There’s also a suspicion that the three-litre version of the Holden V6 was a bit underpowered and needed to be driven hard everywhere; a situation that didn’t help timing-chain wear at all.
Other problems with the VE Commodore generally include some electrical problems that are surfacing with age, particularly camshaft-position sensors, a build-up of carbon on the intake valves which can cause rough running and poor economy, oil leaks and leaks from the cooling system. That said, if you can find a good one with an engine that has had new timing chains, the VE wagon represents a lot of car for not much money these days.
Would finding parts or repairs be an issue with a 2014 Holden Commodore?
The biggest potential repair cost for this make and model would probably be the replacement of the engine’s timing chains. These were of poor design and quality from the start and many Commodore V6s of this era have suffered stretched chains which require replacement. It’s not a cheap job, either, and you should budget for at least a couple of thousand dollars. While the vehicle in question has covered low kilometres, the health or otherwise of its timing chains will be down to how well it’s been serviced over the years. Any skipped servicing makes it a ticking time bomb in this regard. But even well maintained vehicles have experienced the same problem.
Are coolant leaks common in 2015 Holden Commodores?
This is not an unknown problem with Holden’s Alloytech V6 engine and can often be traced back to a damaged gasket for the thermostat housing which is located at the rear of the engine block. And you’re right, to change this gasket which costs just a few dollars, involves removing the exhaust and transmission. The best advice is to have the thermostat itself changed while all this work is being done, as it will save you going through it all again if the thermostat ever fails (and they have been known to).
But definitely have it checked out as coolant leaks never fix themselves and a small leak today could easily be a big leak tomorrow, leaving you stranded with an overheating engine. Meantime, you might be lucky and discover that the leak is not from the thermostat housing at all. These engines are also prone to coolant leaks from a pair of O-rings at the front of the cylinder heads which can allow coolant to leak through the valley and out the back over the transmission tunnel, making you think the leak is from the rear of the V6. Don’t rule out the water pump as a source of leaks, either. The trade seems to think about 100,000km is the lifespan for an Alloytech V6’s water pump.
I'm looking at a 2014 Commodore Evoke with 61,500km. Would parts or repairs be an issue, as I be looking at keeping it long term?
The biggest potential repair cost for this make and model would probably be the replacement of the engine's timing chains. These were of poor design and quality from the start and many Commodore V6s of this era have suffered stretched chains which require replacement. It's not a cheap job, either, and you should budget for at least a couple of thousand dollars. While the vehicle in question has covered low kilometres, the health or otherwise of its timing chains will be down to how well it's been serviced over the years. Any skipped servicing makes it a ticking time bomb in this regard. But even well maintained vehicles have experienced the same problem.
Mazda 8 - Could Mazda build a Commodore or Statesman-sized sedan?
However, with Mazda heading into the premium space and in model-sharing activities with arch-rival Toyota, a 6-style sedan based on the mooted coming, rear-drive and inline six-cylinder powered CX-5 replacement is expected, possibly to be shared with a Toyota or Lexus model. These are pure rumours right now, but a possible scenario as Mazda attempts to amortise the development and engineering costs of its next-generation architectures.
What transmission box do I have in my 2007 Holden Commodore VE?
It all depends on what engine is fitted to your car, Karen, as Holden used a range of gearboxes in this series of Commodores. If your car is the base-model version (the Omega) it will be fitted with a four-speed automatic (code-named the 4L60E). If your car is an SV6, it will have either a five-speed automatic (5L40E) or a six-speed manual (the Aisin D173/AY6 unit). If your car is a V8 Commodore, it will have either the six-speed automatic (6L80) or a six-speed manual (Tremec T56) fitted.
Of all those transmission options, the five-speed automatic was the odd one out as it was only used from the launch of the VE until the first facelift in 2008 when it was replaced by a six-speed automatic.