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Print this page Notes: Widespread instrument panel failure is a common and frustrating reality for many 2004-2005 Chevy Cavalier owners. They're often left in the dark when it comes to knowing how fast they're going, what their engine temperature is, or even how much fuel they have left in the tank.

The likely culprit is a series of bad "stepper motors" which control the gauges and are no longer covered under warranty. Think not being able to see your speed is a safety issue and should be recalled for all owners? We'd agree. Trouble is, apparently the NHTSA does not.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,193 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Chevrolet Cavalier accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Jan 042010


  • 45,294 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. Whenever the contact started her vehicle she noticed that the instrument panel displayed incorrect information. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 45294.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #26

Jan 082010


  • 50,000 miles
The speedometer and tach quit working or are reading the wrong speeds on my 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. I can be at a stop sign and the gage shows 40mph. I can be going down the interstate and it shows 30 mph. Sometimes it doesn't work at all. I have been online & seen several forums with people with the same problem, and there is no apparent recall.

- Portageville, MO, USA

problem #25

Nov 272009


  • 72,506 miles
The easiest way to put this is the 2004 Chevy Cavalier instrument panel is messed up, it first started approximately 3 months ago when my speedometer would read 40mph when I was idling, and now the needle is buried past 110mph even when im going 20mph. Now the gas gauge has gotten messed up too its needle is buried blocking the temperature needle from advancing which would cause overheating and braking problems. I called a local dealership about this problem and the service manager said he knows it is a problem but then proceeded to tell me it would be $500 to repair it. Honestly I am kind of scared to drive this car with my family in it due to Chevy not wanting to replace this widely known problem, I greatly appreciate you taking your time for reading this.

- Hudson, FL, USA

problem #24

Dec 012009


  • 62,000 miles


The instrument cluster is not giving the right speed you are going and the tach is not giving the rpms it stays on 0. speed needle goes all the way around as to as far it can go and it stays there for a few days.

- Blairsville, PA, USA

problem #23

Dec 202009


  • 51,000 miles
The speedometer on my 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier has failed at the 50,000 mile mark. There is no way for me to tell the accurate speed I am driving.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

May 142009


  • 49,000 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier all gauges on dash do not work.

- Southaven, MS, USA

problem #21

Feb 202008


  • 46,000 miles


The dash board cluster in my 2004 Chevy Cavalier coupe has problems. The dials of my gauges are inaccurate. The engine heat gauge dial can cross over intermittently into my speedometer causing that to get stuck and not work. The heat gauge dial has also been pointed towards my steering wheel, pointing directly down. My RPM gauge rarely works correctly. I have taken it into a repair shop to be looked at and was told by the repairman that he had the same problem with the cluster on his Cavalier. He knew what the problem was as I described it. He told me how to temporarily correct the problem. This is done by continually turning the key in the ignition slightly, until the dials return the normal position, I have to do this at least once a week. He quoted me a repair price of $500. I do not have enough money to fix this and believe it should be recalled. I have done some investigating of my own on-line and have found that many people have this problem. In the winter this problem is worse. Help!!!

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #20

Jun 212009


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact stated that the instrument cluster failed when she turned the vehicle on. Occasionally the instrument cluster moved rapidly and registers 0. a local mechanic replaced the instrument panel; however, the failure recurred. The dealer stated that they could diagnose the for $125. The manufacturer advised the contact to have the dealer diagnose the failure at the owners expense. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 58,000.

- Hallandale, FL, USA

problem #19

May 142009


  • 31,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact stated that the instrument cluster was defective. The speedometer and fuel gauge failed to operate properly and displayed inaccurate readings. The vehicle was purchased with 30,000 miles. The current and failure mileages were 31,000.

- Pennington, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jan 012009


  • 42,000 miles
Speedometer and other gauges going haywire. At times I have no idea what speed I am going. I can be stopped at a redlight and my speedometer reads 90mph. Or I can be keeping with the flow of traffic on route 30 and it reads 20mph.

- Youngwood, PA, USA

problem #17

Oct 012007


  • 60,125 miles


The speedometer on my 2004 Chevy Cavalier stopped working correctly about a year and a half ago. It will stick at random places on the dial, even when not driving, will not register the correct speed, and sometimes roll all the way over, pointing at the odometer. The tachometer and coolant temp. Gauge stick also when it gets cold outside. All of these problems seem to get better when the weather warms up, but are still present. I haven't had the money to get this fixed (estimated at 700 dollars) so therefore no repairs have been made. This is an obvious safety defect and a recall needs to be issued! I have read many more complaints from other Cavalier owners about the same issues!

- Rutherfordton, NC, USA

problem #16

Jul 012007


  • 40,000 miles
At about 40K miles, the tachometer and speedometer started acting erratically. Speedometer constantly at 60 even when at a stop. Tach no longer works at all. Will have to replace instrument cluster. Estimate is about $450.

- Lemon Grove, CA, USA

problem #15

Dec 102008


  • 30,000 miles
My speedometer has stopped working. It has been repaired once and has started not functioning again. It occasionally works correctly, but mostly it goes up to a high reading and sticks there.

- Gahanna, OH, USA

problem #14

Nov 192008


  • 99,000 miles
The speedometer does not read accurately. Sometimes it reads too fast and sometimes too slow. No accidents have occurred, but the potential is there. The problem is sporadic, happening over the course of a day, several days a week. I have not had it repaired.

- Linwood, MA, USA

problem #13

Jan 012006


  • 20,000 miles
My speedometer on my 2004 Chevy Cavalier has stopped working I have noticed alot if 2000 models with this issue.

- Mishawaka, IN, USA

problem #12

Nov 072008


  • 53,433 miles
My speedometer is malfunctioning. It is setting on 65 when stopped. Then when driving it sets on 110+. then for no reason it starts working again. I took it in to a Chevy dealership they said nothing was wrong, I am still under warranty. I only have one car, I have to drive to work. But this is scary and dangerous. Not to mention I could get a ticket.

- Thayer, MO, USA

problem #11

Aug 012007


  • 32,000 miles
Speedometer fluctuates. Do not know my speed. Tachometer fluctuates. Cannot estimate speed. Temperature gauge is acting up. Do I have to worry about blowing my engine? numerous complaints on internet. This is a real problem, and should be recalled. Pretty expensive repair for a Cavalier owner.

- Ambridge , PA, USA

problem #10

Apr 012008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Odometer would not read correctly and would end up over 110mph and get stuck. Eventually would make it to 0 and work for a couple days and the go back over 110mph. While it was over 110 if you started the car the fuel gauge would turn towards the temp gauge. Took car to the dealer and had to replace the entire instrument cluster. Cost about $400.

- Derby, VT, USA

problem #9

Apr 052006

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving 5 mph, the engine intermittently stalled. The failure occurred while making a turn in first gear. The RPM decreased to 400 RPM and there was a loss of power steering. When the vehicle stalled, the contact released his foot from the clutch and the motor increased the RPM's automatically. When the key was turned in the ignition, the vehicle failed to start intermittently until approximately ten attempts. While driving 55 mph, the speedometer displayed 30 mph. When the gas tank was full, the fuel gauge would display half a tank. The temperature gauge also malfunctioned. The vehicle would not overheat, but the gauge would read hot. The dealer was unable to diagnose or repair the failures. The failure mileage was 24,000 and current mileage was 37,500.

- Dupont, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 102007

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,100 miles
On the date listed below, I noticed the speedometer on my 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier began to, well, "stick." After a length of time it will not return to zero, and over time, will dip below 110 mph and stay there. I have been on numerous websites and have seen numerous complaints from owners of Cavaliers and Impala, so this is not an uncommon problem. This is not safe for me as a driver, to not know how fast I am going, and could pose a danger for my passengers and others I drive near. Average repair costs are $400, and a person driving a Cavalier will typically not have that kind of money to spare. General Motors needs to issue a recall.

- Lenoir, NC, USA

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