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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
62,123 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. new engine (1 reports)
  3. new fuel pump module (1 reports)
  4. replace switch & lever (1 reports)
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #9

Jan 212014

Cavalier LS 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


Chevy is having many ignition problems over 10 years old and mine is not covered on any recall. At 70mph on the interstate, a complete loss of power can have been a very serious problem, people could have been killed.

- , New Baltimore, MI, USA

problem #8

Feb 162012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

I am SO sick of my car, Chevy, & GM!!!!!! The last time they had my car, they had it for 30 days. When I went to get it, it didn't start (after 3 or 4 tries.) I was ready to retake the rental & one of the guys was like give me your key, so I did. Next thing I know, hes back in the garage, telling me it started right up for him (of COURSE it did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) & it was right ourtside. I have had it, MAYBE 3 weeks, & last thurs it stalled when I was driving, & the steering locked on me. It took at least 3 tries to get it going & tehn I'd be lucky to have it stay started so I could drive it. I ended up coasting into a parking lot... was lucky that the lights at the main intersection were all red & there were no people turning on red!!!!!!!!!! I got to the last light before getting home, & I ended up sitting through 4 changes of the light before the car was able to run (after actually starting) . I made it around a corner & it stalled again, locked on me, & I went up over a curb (coasting) & was happy to not go through/into a fence. I WAS talking to someone local the last problem I have (b/c I still have it, it's just WORSE.) I have been leaving messages on her voice mail (this is at GM) since last Fri. Called today & the guy said I was on the list to call today. Guess what?? NO CALL!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad I'm not working, b/c I'd probably get fired (I'm a nurse) I can't even look for a jobm, b/c they ask "do u have a reliable car?" HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is messing with my blood pressure, I'm getting migraines, can't sleep well..... I DO NOT want this to get to a point where my or someone else (god forbid) is hurt or killed. When this happened a couple times in 2010, I should have turned it in with the lemon law. I cant now b/c my warranties are up. My credit sucks, otherwise I'd trade it in for another car... not even a new one, just a SAFE one, one that I'm not afraid to drive, one that I don't have to cancel all of my appointments around whether or not I have a car. I am responsible for getting medicine for my roomate, taking her to her appointments... she's disabled. If ANYONE has ANY suggestions, PLEASE let me know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Altoona, PA, USA

problem #7

Sep 042006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,300 miles

Ok, here's the deal I have a 2004 cavalier, bought new that year. it now has 34-+ miles on it. This started back in 2006, under 12,000 miles. I have LOTS of paperwork from 3 different places, including a local dealer. This piece of crap car just stalls. When I am at a red light, a stop sign, or even if I just have my foot on the brake to make a turn. It started as just once a year, then for a years or so, it didn't happen at all. In 2011, & so far this year, it's been CONSTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm afraid to drive, I drive with my flashers on all the time to warn other drivers. I don't drive at night just because it's harder to see cars. I was in a turn lane the other day, waiting for a brake in traffic from the other direction so I could turn Left into a parking lot. It came, so I started to turn. Then, a car from a parking lot closer to me starts coming towards me, so I (being already in the lane), decide to back up (noone was behind me in the turn lane.) NOPE> The car had stalled, so I could do NOTHING. Luckily the lot I was going to go into had a big shoulder, so the car coming towards me could go around me. THIS IS UNSAFE. They say the warranty is up (lemon law.. Im in Pa) yet within the last month, I had a part put in that was covered... 2 days later, I'm calling the dealership back. Its in the shop now (over 2 weeks so far.) I am living off of unemployment, & CANT afford to get a new car, or even a used one. I talked to them the other day, & they said that 2-3 different people had driven it, but it has never stalled. My engine light also goes on & off, but the/ir is no correlation. This happens in all weather, flat roads, hills, no matter how long I let theb car warm up or not. If ANYONE has any suggestions, I'd be forever grateful. I will NEVER get another chevy, esp a cavalier....When I took it to the dealer this time, I told the guy what happened before (when it stalled the day I got it out.after I was at the mall... within 2 hours.) He asked if it had happened since then. I said "I haven't driven since then!!!" I'm afraid to drive it!!!

- , Altoona, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 012009

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles


Cavaliers suck!!! Ready for a horror story? I bought my cavalier used from Sundance Chevy of Grand ledge MI. Fisrt of all, let me state this was my very first time at a GM dealer and they took me to the cleaners. Added on about 3,000 worth of stuff I didn't need, and didn't know I didn't need, like GAP insurance, etc, but they made it sound like I needed it. Car was ok for about the first 6 months, it had 116,000 miles on it when I purchased it. I took it in for an alignment and was told by my very trustworthy mechanic that the front axle seals and a wheel bearing were going bad and needed replacement. I called the dealer, since the car was "covered" by a 12 month 12,000 mile warranty I paid an extra 1,000 for, and was told to bring it to them as my mechanic was trying to "upsell" me. Well, I took it in and found out not only was the stuff bad, but it wasn't covered by warranty. Not wanting to drive the car with a bad wheel bearing, I had it replaced at the dealer, Sundance Chevy of Grand Ledge, MI. ONE day after getting the car back, the transmission goes out of it. At least this was covered by the warranty, althought they put it a junkyard one as it was cheaper. ONE day after getting it back from having the transmission installed, it started shifting funny. I took it back and they fixed it for free, by putting the used shift sensor off the old junk tans on the new junkyard trans. And it was leaking fluid too.

Three months later, the car breaks down again. This time these morons at the dealer, Sundance Chevy of St Johns,MI tell me I have clogged fuel injectors and I need a fuel system service. The VERY SAME DAY I get it back, it breaks down again. Fuel pump module, which, I might add they tried to charge me 575.00 just for the part which I purchased myself for 175.00, same part same company. I then tried to trade the car in only to be told it was worthless and I might as well drive it into a lake( by the very same scumbag salesman who sold it to me, no less) and take the insurance payout.

This is a GM dealer for crying out loud, I could have bought a piece of junk anywhere. I wanted a GOOD car. In the 44,000 miles and 2 and one half years I have had this car( and I take very good care of my cars, and don't abuse them) I have had to replace: a wheel bearing, the transmission, the front axle seals, the battery (twice), new tires all the way around (twice,seems to eat tires and batteries, and I don't buy cheap ones) either the fuel pump module, the serp belt and tensioner, plugs, plug boots, the front and rear brakes, the front brake rotors, the front and rear struts, it seems like something or another is always going wrong with it, it was only four years old when I bought it for god's sake. What a piece of crap. I wouldn't trust Sundance Chevy to change a light bulb.

I'll never buy another Chevy product either.And by the way Chevy, your sport suspensions are HORRIBLE in the real world where there are things like bumps and potholes. This type of suspension sucks! I lterally cringe every time I hit a bump it rides so hard.

- , Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #5

Aug 022007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

OK, this is still a mystery to me and the mechanics.

How about I was driving home from work one evening on 285 in Atlanta at rush hour traffic and the freaking car just cut off for no reason!!! I had a guy almost hit me from behind, thank God it was stop and go traffic. I turned the car off and thank God it started up again. The warranty had passed so I took it to an Auto Zone because right before it cut off,the battery and oil light flashed real quick and went off. They tested my battery, and everything and said nothing was wrong, I also took it other mechanics and no one can find anything wrong and explain why it does that. I get my regular oil changes, change the air filter and everything else people said to do that may make it do that, and the car still does it and the thing is "you never know when it will just cut off on you". I've traced it to the point of whenever you slow down your speed, that's when it will cut off like at a red light or stop sign, and it does it about 2-3 times a year, I have no idea why or whats causing it, but it's scary and dangerous and no one can find out why or what the problem.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #4

Feb 112009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,808 miles

I just bought my car. I was turning on traffic light then car cut off, I hardly pulled a side and restarted and got home safe but I am not sure when again this will happened, how much it will cost to get fix. thanks

- , Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #3

Oct 272008

Cavalier Ecotech

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles


55,000 miles and I need a new engine??? WOW!! And I traded in my Intrepid with 75,000 miles to get something "more reliable"! Minimum cost for me...$3,000. It started with the car stalling at lights and quickly progressed to not drivable.

- , Florissant, MO, USA

problem #2

Sep 162008

Cavalier SDN V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

it sucks...the car shuts down while driving. Happened on the freeway. Happened about 6 times in the past week or so. HELP!

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 152006

Cavalier 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

Who could resist all of this??? I mean I have no temp gauge, no speedometer, rpms are all over the place, and my cd player plays when it feels like it(reset button under hood). On top of all these luxuries, the Chevy Cavalier also offers you stalling. I have been in mid-left turn on major intersections of Los Angeles and had my car just die. I have been on the 110 fwy and had my car go into stand-by mode. I would be willing to trade in all thisssssssss for a reliable car. I know I know, I am crazy to give up all my Chevy perks but I am willing to make the sacrifice. This is my first car and my last Chevy

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

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