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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 1 of 4)

problem #67

May 242006

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 29,250 miles


My 2004 Chevy Cavalier has a problem with the instrument cluster. In 2006 I was driving doing 20 mph in a school zone and noticed my speedometer read 110, the gas gauge showed empty and the temperature gauge had moved all the way around and was sitting on the speedometer needle. I contacted GM about the problem and was informed that a recall was issued on trucks and SUV's but did not include automobiles. I was told to take my car to a dealership and pay $100 to have it inspected by a mechanic and if the mechanic determined it was the cluster, the information would be sent to GM and they would then make a decision on whether they would make the repair or not. My daughter owns a 2004 Monte Carlo with the same problem and her daughter has the problem with her 2005 Cavalier. There are many others with this problem and GM just refuses to address the problem. I think car owners should get the same respect as truck owners and GM should repair these clusters. I have contacted GM many times and they don't do anything.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #66

Aug 082013

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 125,850 miles
Speedometer stop working.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #65

Dec 282012


  • 46,000 miles
Speedometer does not register mph, stays at 20 mph when at rest and goes up when car is driven but unknown speed person is driving at. Also the temp gauge needle is not even on the area to register the temp of the engine. This is a safety issue and should be recalled. I have heard from my local mechanic that this is a common thing & I have read several posts on line similar to my complaint. Please recall this part so that everyone driving this type of vehicle is safe by knowing the temp of their engine & knowing their driving speed.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #64

Dec 012010

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


All gauges on instrument panel quit working completely at first but now move around backwards or any direction they choose...never correct!!!!! this is very dangerous!!!!!!

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #63

May 252011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I was driving down the street and my entire cluster went out. I spoke to Chevy customer service and they stated it was a recall, but the recall date expired. However, I was not notified.

- Riverdale , GA, USA

problem #62

Mar 032008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 8,500 miles
All four gauges that make up the instrument panel cluster (lr fuel, temp, speed and tech) will show zero reading or varies reading that have nothing to do with reality. By turning the key numerous times I can reset the speedometer back to zero and then use the vehicle, till at a random time it will just increase in speed shown. I feel this is a safety issue and there should be a recall. GM has had numerous complaints and have done zero except charge high fee to fix a defective safety equipment that they place in the vehicle.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #61

Apr 062012

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles


My 2004 Chevy Cavalier speedometer quit working. This seems to be a common problem with this vehicle. A recall is in order!

- Uniontown, OH, USA

problem #60

Feb 082012


  • 72,000 miles
The speedometer sticks and does not report accurate vehicle speed. Above a certain speed the gauge will freeze and be unusable. This happened without warning while I was driving on the highway and could easily have caused an accident. This is a known safety issue on other GMC cars from the same time period (mine is a 2004). In addition to the speedometer, the tachometer and the fuel gauge are also completely inoperable. The whole instrument cluster is defective. It is incredibly dangerous and expensive to repair, and should be covered under the same recall as the other Chevrolet products.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #59

Dec 022011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 60,650 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. While examining the vehicle the contact noticed that the instrument panel gauges were not functioning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the instrument panel would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was 61,000 and the failure mileage was 60,650. Updated03/15/12 the consumer stated the problem started with the gas gauge. Which started off as an intermittent problem and became worse. The gas gauge needle then started blocking the temperature gauge, which caused that needle not to work properly. The gas gauge and temperature needle were facing the steering wheel. The consumer was informed the entire instrument cluster would have to be replaced at a cost of $650 plus labor. Updated 05/30/12

- Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #58

Nov 042011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
It was sometime in Nov. 2011 when the speedometer stopped working for no reason. Every once in a while it will register the speed but it is not correct. I have seen a lot of complaints about this same problem with the same car model. And from what I have learned online this can be a very expensive repair. There really should be a recall on this part. All drivers need to know what their speed is in order to be safe and responsible driver.

- Central Village, CT, USA

problem #57

Nov 162011


  • miles


The speedometer shows incorrect speed while moving or speed while parked.

- Groveport , OH, USA

problem #56

Oct 122011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Speedometer stuck at 60mph. Its not that old of a car and only has 58 thousand miles on it this should be a recall with all the people complaining the same thing happened with the low miles ridiculous!

- Austintown , OH, USA

problem #55

Nov 032008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
As soon as this car reached @50,000 miles, the speedometer and fuel gauges stopped working. Upon checking with a Chevrolet dealer, I was informed that the entire dashboard needs to be dismantled and new gauges installed by an outside source, whereupon car is returned to dealership and odometer is reset to correct mileage. Cost is approximately $400 and up. Upon research, I found this to be a common complaint. This is a safety hazard because you cannot tell how fast you are driving and if you have enough fuel. Also, fuel gauge needle goes haywire when I fill up. The needle goes into the gauge that tells you if your car is running hot - preventing that needle from operating properly. To my knowledge no recall has been issued regarding these problems.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #54

May 162009


  • 70,000 miles
Well I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier and the speedometer doesn't work. I would get oil changes and tires rotated and notice small differences then out of no were it just would not work. It stuck on 110 and the temp is off too. Also it does not tell you how much gas you have. Over all the whole board seems to be not working. I have had this problem for at least two years people tell me they dont know what it is others tell me it cost 700- 900 dollars to fix.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #53

Jul 232011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 56,148 miles
I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier and the speedometer sticks. It say"S I am doing 80mph when I am actually doing 40mph. And when I am parked it say"S I am doing 50mph.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #52

Jan 122008


  • 97,598 miles
I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier and one by one all the gauges have stopped working. In doing some research I have found this is a very common problem with this make and model. It is a safety issue not to have a speedometer!! I also do not have an RPM gauge, gas gauge or heat gauge. There needs to be a recall!!!!!

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #51

Apr 102007

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
My 2004 Chevy Cavalier instrument cluster has not been working for a while was just the speedometer now the fuel gauge is not working I have researched this and found many people have the same issue.

- Fountain, CO, USA

problem #50

Dec 152009

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier ls sport when turning on the car the speedometer shoots up past 80mph at standstill. This occurs at least twice a year. Never know how fast you are going unless you actually sit there and count. Takes about 4 or 5 days before the speedometer makes its way back to 0mph.

- North Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #49

Mar 152009

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact was driving approximately 70 mph when she noticed that the speedometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge and RPM gauge failed intermittently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for the failure. She contacted the manufacturer and was advised there were no recalls on the vehicle and that they were unable to assist. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 130,000. Updated 04/15/11 updated 05/02/11

- Crab Orchard, KY, USA

problem #48

Jan 012011


  • miles
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. Consumer states temp gauge looses its bearings and ends up over in the speedometer area and speedometer will not go pass 11 mph

- Washington, DC, USA

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