Arriving in the U.S. market for the 1999 model year, the Daewoo Lanos was a subcompact car manufactured by Korean automaker Daewoo. There were several problems with the Lanos, including mechanical, electrical and cosmetic defects. Though the number of problems decreased in each model year, the car was never a brisk seller in the U.S. The Lanos ceased to be sold in the country after 2002.
All Model Years
There are two problems that are associated with Daewoo Lanos regardless of model year. Some vehicles may experience melting camshaft position sensors, a condition that can spread to the camshaft cover and the wire harness. Usually, the problem can be detected by a burning smell and visible smoke, as well as the illumination of the "Check Engine" indicator. Failing to attend to this could cause a fire under the hood of the car. Dealers can replace the sensors and install an additional fuse free of charge.
Some Lanos have airbags that fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201. This means that the airbags may not deploy in the event of a crash. Dealers can install new energy-absorbing airbag mounting brackets at no cost.
1999 Model Year
In some 1999 Daewoo Lanos, the side doors may have insufficient strength to withstand impact in the event of a crash. This is because the door pad was placed to the rear of the door assembly rather than the middle. Such a condition fails to comply with FMVSS No. 214, which establishes the standards for side door strength. Pelvic protection could be drastically reduced as a result. Dealers can move the pad to its proper position.
Additionally, some vehicles tend to have the steering wheel center bushing connecting the steering wheel hub to the steering column slip. In these cases, the steering wheel can be replaced. There have also been problems with loosening alloy wheels due to the absence of steel bushing inserts around the wheel bolt openings. These wheel bolts would need to be re-torqued.
2000 Model Year
In addition to the alloy-wheel problem of the 1999 Lanos, some 2000 vehicles may have damaged wiring harnesses due to constant rubbing against a body seam in the floor panel. This could cause engine stalling. Dealers would have to replace and re-position the wiring harness, attaching it permanently in a place were it cannot be damaged.
2001 and 2002 Model Years
Problems with Daewoo Lanos lessen considerably with the last two years of production. Besides the defects that can affect any model year, the electrical system wiring problem remained with the 2001 Lanos. However, this issue is virtually non-existent with the 2002 entries.
A Daewoo Lanos is not exactly the best choice for a subcompact or compact car. The Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda3 are far better choices. However, since its resale value is very low, it could make for a good bargain. Just make sure that you get either a 2001 or 2002 Lanos, since they tend to have the fewest problems.
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