Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
60,558 miles
Total Complaints:
41 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (34 reports)
  2. GM needs to recall (4 reports)
  3. mechanic replaced instrument cluster with used cluster (2 reports)
  4. use portable navigation to track speed (1 reports)
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Jan 062009

Cavalier 2.2L Doc

  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles


My speedometer stopped working and it seems to work less and less as time goes on. Well the way to reset the speedometer if it is not on 0 is to pull the fuse out for the instrument panel this resets the speedometer if it is working at that moment. After a long drive this solution will not work right away but after the car sits it will. I have had to reset the panel a couple times before but this is not a fix. I am still annoyed that Chevy has not owned up to this product failure. There has to be another way than getting the whole panel that seems wasteful.. and getting a used one would seem that it would just happen again but sooner with a used panel.

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #20

Dec 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

drove the car for four years now and this year my speedometer failed. it would freeze at 20 mph no matter how fast i was driving and now my needle just lays at 110mph (even when the car is off). All of my other instruments seem to be working fine for the time being. I am going to have to get another job just to pay for this repair. What do i expect though, it is American made.

- , Newton, IA, USA

problem #19

Aug 122007

Cavalier Sport 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,378 miles

Adding to the long list of people having the same issue and refusing to pay 700.00 to get it fixed. Im driving by Tom Tom. It was cheaper than the repair to the car and its does more than the seedo and tach did in the first place. On the down side, my horn went with the speedo so taht is an added safety prob.

- , Hanford, CA, USA

problem #18

Jan 042009

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,389 miles


Just got a call from the wife. She's on a trip and the speedometer has gone all wonky. Reading a 140KPH when she's doing nowhere near that speed. I told her to hook up the GPS, it provides a pretty accurate measure of speed. I will be calling GM to find out what's going on.

- , Waterville, Nova Scotia, Canada

problem #17

Nov 192008

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

Seems like a lot of ppl have the same problem. This is my second Cavalier. I like them. Reliable, cheap transportation. Chevy should do a recall. I hear it's first on GM's list after the bailout is approved. Heh.

- , Linwood, MA, USA

problem #16

Nov 082008

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

My speedometer is malfunctioning. It sets on 65 when not moving. Then for no reason at all it starts working again. I bought this car new so i know how it works. This is the second time this has happened. When i'm driving it sets on 110+. I'm not sure if this is covered on warranty. This is a huge problem. I just hope the police understand, lol, when i get stopped.

- , Thayer, MO, USA

problem #15

Oct 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


So, the problem started about a month ago. I noticed that my Speedometer in my Cavalier would randomly freeze and stop working. I noticed that once I would turn the car off and then turn it back on it would be fine, and it would work properly for the rest of the day. After about a week of it freezing up like this, I was really getting ticked off. One day it started working fine and for about a week or so it worked perfect with no issues at all. Then about a week ago it really started freaking out. It said I was going 110 when i was only going like 40, and turning the car on and off does nothing. It stays frozen no matter what it do. If i drive on the highway, it actually goes past the gauge limit and points straight down where my odometer is and stays there. It is so annoying!

I decided over the weekend I would take it into a mechanic to have it looked at. Do you know what they told me? They told me it would cost $675 to fix it!!!! I told him he had to be kidding. There was no way i was paying that! So now i have to drive my car without a speedometer until i can find a better solution. there is no way i am going to pay almost $700 to take care of a problem that Chevy created. I would like to find out if anyone has found an alternative solution to this problem. I cannot seem to find a cure at this i will continue my hunt!

- , Orem, UT, USA

problem #14

Oct 142008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

Now that I see several others have had this same problem, I am out raged. I was told that my local dealer would have to send my cluster to another facility to have this taken care. I cannot be without my vehicle so I guess I will have drive the vehicle unsafely.

- , Marion, IN, USA

problem #13

Jan 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,102 miles

i bought my car, because i was told that it was a good lil car as a almost first car to get. i payed good money for this car, and now the speedometer is freezing along with my temperature and RPM gauges. there are 12 other complaints, here and Chevy should consider making this a recall because this is getting ridiculous, it is not our fault that these things went wrong!

- , Camrose, Alberta, Canada

problem #12

Jun 102008

Cavalier 2.2L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,250 miles

The stupid ass tachometer gauge stopped working and the RPM never works anymore and the speedometer says that I am doing 110 when I am only going 35 and then I let it sit for a day and it is fine and then goes back. The car is so gay and I will never buy another one!!

- , El Mirage, AZ, USA

problem #11

May 152008

Cavalier 2.2L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles


Just adding to the list of people complaining about this safety related problem. This vehicle has 28000 miles and has a speedometer that has gone in reverse, stopped at 20 mph when car is off, shown 65 mph when car is doing 35 mph, works correctly between problems. I am concerned about being rear ended when driving by the speedometer and actually going slower than the posted speed limit. Not all driving is done on interstates and in Tennessee we have two lane roads with hills and curves and lots of places where you cannot see due to hills and trees. Should Chevrolet address this problem (as a long time Chevrolet owner from 1963 to date) I say yes. Perhaps the lawyers have advised them to wait for the lawsuit over death or two, but it seems less costly to just fix the problem with a recall. I do hope they are at least working on the fix.

- , Oak Ridge, TN, USA

problem #10

Feb 182008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

speedometer has showed 110 + for about a month, have taken car to 3 different locations for service; no one can find problem with vehicle. temperature gauge also reads well above what it should, however car not overheating. gas gauge shows empty even though I just spent $38 to fill vehicle

- , Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #9

Aug 012006

Cavalier V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

This should be recalled. When my speedometer first malfunctioned it said I was going 65 in a 30 mph zone. I slammed on my break only to find that it would not change the speed I was going. When I stopped the car it still said 65. I could have been hurt severely by this had I been rear ended or could have hurt others. For a while it would work and then it wouldn't. There were times I had to do math while driving because it would work but start on like 30. I am afraid about the repairs that are being done by my mechanic when it comes to the mileage of the vehicle.

- , Muleshoe, TX, USA

problem #8

May 082007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,017 miles

I brought the car in for a check but they couldn't find anything?..

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #7

Jul 102007

Cavalier 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,693 miles

I have problems with my speedodometer, when I'm going 35 the needle says 110, the deedle jumps all over the place

- , Vista, CA, USA

problem #6

Jan 052006

Cavalier LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Well at least I know I am not the only one with this problem. Chevrolet should consider it a recall! Or at least fix it for free. It's hard to drive and know how fast you're going just by your RPM's and other traffic. The first time it happened my speedometer went completely backward as if it was possessed, and then stayed at 0 mph for a month, now when I drive I am going about 30 and it says I am going 90. What the deal Chevrolet? I thought you were the #1 car manufacturers in America, that is why I purchased a Chevy. Would that not be considered false advertising?

- , Nederland, TX, USA

problem #5

Nov 092007

(reported on)

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

my 2004 Chevy Cavalier's speedometer and RMP tacks started messing up about a year ago. it started out as just the speedometer sticking and saying i was doing 60mp when my car was parked. now the RPM tack is stuck way past red line. the speedometer works every once and a while but it gets annoying when i don't know how fast im going and my RPM tack is buried past red line.

- , Crestline, OH, USA

problem #4

Feb 282007

(reported on)

Cavalier VX 2.2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,800 miles

My warranty just expired (60,000 KM), at around 65000 KM's the Tach started acting up by going out of range, then the speedometer did the same. Now they both just register at different points but completely off scale!!

It really sucks because this kind of thing can be a real pain in the ass because it is so easy to break the molding if you try to do it yourself.

Apparently there GM extended the warranty for the same problem on trucks ( my mechanic was able to look it up)

- , Orangeville, ON, Canada

problem #3

Nov 052006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

Speedometer stuck on 110mph when I'm only duing 30mph.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #2

Dec 172006

(reported on)

Cavalier LS Sport 2.2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

This should be a recall !!!!!!!! try to get my car fixed ($500!)..... it sat for 5 weeks & they could not get a speedometer, so now when I drive I can be going 35mph it will read 110mph. some times it will be right, I know of 4 others having this problem with the 04 or 05 Cavalier !!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Palm Bay, FL, USA

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