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CarComplaints.com 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.

7.6

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$610.00
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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #41

Feb 242012

Cavalier LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,463 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I recently bought my car this past February as I was in need of a car. I found my "04 Cavalier on a used car lot, when I test drove the car the Speedometer worked ok, It did have a movement like the second hand on a clock but I didn't think anything of it, It has not gone completely out yet however when it is overly hot outside it won't work and if I am driving longer than 20-30 min it quits working, I have had to buy a G.P.S to tell me how fast I am going because I'm not sure about the speed by just reading my RPM Gage. I shouldn't have to use a G.P.S to tell me how fast I am going my car speedometer should work all of the time, I have replaced the speed sensor and no luck, I have replaced fuses and NO luck!! I am a single mom who doesn't make much money and it seems I'm not the only one with this problem, I do not have the money to pay for this repair!! WE NEED A RECALL ON THE SPEEDOMETERS for Cavaliers!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Grove City, OH, USA

problem #40

Sep 102012

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

So I thought it was the heat that was causing my speedometer to act up.... I was sadly mistaken!!! It originally had a slow start up and was ticking like clock hands.... Then it stopped working, then would alternate between all that all being too high or too low. It made me have my eyes on it instead of the road!!!

- , Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #39

Nov 152011

Cavalier LE 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

needs a recall for sure

the speedometer is a big safety issue

- , Gfw, NL, canada

problem #38

May 112011

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

They need to recall this is a huge problem had to go out and get a gps with a speedo on it to put the same problem back in to the car would be a waste how long will the new one last the gps works great.

- , Monroe, MI, USA

problem #37

Jun 152011

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This speedometer problem appears to be all too common in this vehicle. GM need to recall this issue

- , Winchester, Kansas, USA

problem #36

Sep 022010

Cavalier

  • Manual transmission
  • 43,000 miles

My car just made 43,000 minles. I am the original owner. I need to know if this will be a recall. I have a few friends with the same make and model and are having the same problems. I see a lot of people are complaining about the same thing. IS GMC GOING TO RECALL THIS OR WHAT!!???

- , Marrero, LA, USA

problem #35

Jul 152010

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

So.. I'm driving down the road.. noticed a cop parked on the side of the road. I do what anyone would do and glance down at my speedometer it say's I'm going 100 mph!! WTF! I of course realize I'm only going around 20... but still scared the ya know out of me for a split second.. granted it's a funny little story but .. it's REALLY not funny at all. It's dangerous!! I've noticed a lot of complaints online for the exact same problem with the Chevy Cavalier. There really should be a recall!!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 052010

Cavalier LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I'V REPLACED THE ENGINE BECAUSE ...DIDN'T WORK ......NOW I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THE SPEEDOMETER....3 EACH.....AND 4 MONTHS AGO I HAD A POLICE TICKET FOR SPEED......THIS CAR IS TRASH.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #33

Mar 092007

Cavalier Sedan 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,500 miles

i wonder if anyone has tried to get to GM with this issue? I never knew that anyone else could be having the same issue, i thought it was something that i did and not a world wide defect. the other day when it was nearly 85 degrees i started my car and the gauge shot up to 85 while i was sitting in park and the RPM gauge was at 0 rpms. that is the first time that has ever happened. i can usually turn off the car and start it back up and it will reset but this time it didn't. on the hot days the speedo acts crazy, like 110 mph when I'm sitting at a red light but i could always count on the RPM gauge to tell me how fast i was going. When it's cold or cool outside i usually don't have problems until the motor heats up and then the gauge will start having problems. i can shut off the engine and click my key several times and the gauge will roll backwards but sometimes that doesn't work when it's really hot out. who knows but this is a ball of crap if you ask me. i'm going to gm website to complain, come on everyone, let's go!

- , la Harpe, KS, USA

problem #32

Dec 202009

Cavalier LS 2.2L I-4

  • Manual transmission
  • 51,000 miles

Report this to the NHTSA as a safety defect.

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #31

Jan 312010

Cavalier 2.2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,300 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I just got done elaborating on how great my 2004 Chevy Cavalier is because I have never had any problems with it. It is totally unreliable now. Going 0 when I am going 35. Going 35 when the speedometer states 65! Ugh, I doubt with the financial mess of GM, that there will be a recall, but there needs to be immediately! This is incredibly dangerous!

Update from Nov 22, 2010: I had enough and had this problem fixed at my local Chevy Dealer. Total cost $787.00!!!! First, a week ago, they had to pull the instrumentation cluster to get a code(?) Now if I could leave my car with them until the part came in, they wouldn't have to charge me twice for labor ($240.00 + tax) for pulling the cluster out again. One removal of instrument cluster for code number retrieval: $275.00. I was not in the position to leave my car with them, so I sucked it up and said I would have to pay again for labor and waited for them to call when the part came in which was 5 working days later!! had my car in this morning for the final repair. Total cost today: $512.00. I love my car since up to this point it was operating flawlessly. I do not see why GM did not issue a recall or offer some assistance with this problem. The dealership that I contacted were total a##*s about it. They asked why they haven't seen me in years. I think GM expects once you buy one of their cars that you take it back to that same dealership where purchased, for all repairs and maintenance. I took my car faithfully to a local Walmart or other oil change place for my oil changes, tire rotations... minor but extremely important stuff. I don't have time to sit around waiting for hours on maintenance items that takes 10 minutes elsewhere. Besides, what does a bad instrumentation cluster have to do with maintenance??? It is a bad part nothing else! So as the cold winter weather will soon be here in NE Ohio, I once again have a working speedometer. If you can live with a non-working speedometer, then let it go.

- , Girard, OH, USA

problem #30

Dec 302008

Cavalier

  • Manual transmission
  • 46,000 miles

Same issue, gages in the control panel stick and do not read properly...dangerous to say the least. Hope GM doesn't wait for someone to have an accident or death to repair this problem.

- , Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #29

Dec 052009

Cavalier V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

chevy shold have a recall i am not the only one to have a problem. the speedometer is sticking.

- , Spring Valley, IL, USA

problem #28

Nov 102007

Cavalier LE 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,100 miles

The same day that my warranty expires on my car, the speedometer starts going wacky. Yeah, I can do math to figure out what speed I'm going, but when it dips under 110 mph and stays there, I'm kinda on my own. It appears GM has had numerous issues with 2004 Chevys, but there is still no recall. And I can't pay $400 to get it fixed! That's why I drive a Cavalier in the first place!

- , Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #27

Sep 122007

Cavalier LS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

pretty bad that gauges and speedometer quick working after 30,000 miles and there is no recall.

- , Rocklin, CA, USA

problem #26

Jun 182009

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,900 miles

How safe is it that one is driving down the road and one don't know at what speed we are going? or you don't know how much gas is in your car? how safe is it that one is driving down the road and one don't know at what speed we are going? or you don't know how much gas is in your car? or better yet, you don't see nothing at all on your front panel? Like all of these people my speedometer stopped working on my 2004 chevrolet cavalier. I had to pay $45.00 dollars to get a "half an hour" diagnostic from the dealer, to find out that my speedometer isn't working. You could ignore our complaints as much as you can, but at the end when it comes to get another car, we'll make sure to choose a better and reliable car maker. FIX THE PROBLEM!!!!! or better yet, you don't see nothing at all on your front panel? Like all of these people my speedometer stopped working on my 2004 chevrolet cavalier. I had to pay $45.00 dollars to get a "half an hour" diagnostic from the dealer, to find out that my speedometer isn't working. You could ignore our complaints as much as you can, but at the end when it comes to get another car, we'll make sure to choose a better and reliable car maker. FIX THE PROBLEM!!!!!

- , Rochester, NH, USA

problem #25

Mar 052007

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My speedomter stopped working in the car and what a pain it is to be driving down the interstate and have no idea how fast you are going. I had to take the car back to the dealership since it was still under warranty, and what a headache!

The mechanic said he had to order one and would put it in once it arrived.

Well, explain to me why it took months for the thing to come in and me having to constantly call the dealership!! Ridiculous! Even after they put the "so-called" new one on I still don't think the stupid spedometer works right, and I was told those were

re-called due to them not working.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #24

Mar 012009

Cavalier

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Same as all the many other Cavalier owners with this problem Right not it sits still on 110 MPH, and my dealer states that it will cost $400 + Labor to fix. He state that the only solution is a new cluster, but all other gauges are working fine in the cluster. I am able to reset if to zero if i turn off the car and restart it many, many times. Each restart will take it back about 5 MPH but then it happens all over again the next day. This will wear out my ignition so I am letting it stay at 110 MPH until I can get it fixed or a recall will fix it for all of us. (May be a long wait either way). The mess GM is in, one would think that they would want to deal with these complaints in a better way to ensure customer satisfaction...HaHa!!!

Update from Apr 15, 2013: Now all of my gauges have stopped working in the cluster. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS PROBLEM!!! There needs to be a recall NOW!!! The 2005 Cavaliers are having the same problems!! SHAME ON YOU GM!!!

- , Jackson, MI, USA

problem #23

Feb 012009

Cavalier ES 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I have a Chevy Cavalier with a non-working speedometer. Fix your gauges Chevy!! This is a real pain. I think Chevy should put a recall on the instrument panel as it seems that I am not the only one with this problem.

- , Unionville, MO, USA

problem #22

Oct 012007

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

About a year and a half ago the speedometer on my 2004 cavalier stopped working correctly, it will stick at random places on the dial, even when not driving. Sometimes the needle will point straight down at the odometer and stick there also. The problem seems to get better with warm weather, but is still not right. Now if that wasn't enough,

the tachometer has started to stick and not register at all when it is very cold outside, like the speedometer though, the tachometer works better in warmer weather. Coolant temp. gauge sticks also when it gets cold out. These problems are very repairable, I just can't believe by the number of complaints that a recall has not been issued for this problem yet! This could very well be the last American made car I buy!

- , Rutherfordton, NC, USA

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