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.

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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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,016 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #11

Feb 052008

Cavalier

  • 60,000 miles

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

Clutch pedal started to stop short. While driving through light snow I pressed the pedal to shift gear before a slight turn and incline the pedal stayed down. The lack of power to the wheels within 5 seconds caused the vehicle to fishtail and I was not able to control the vehicle even while trying to brake and go into the spin to correct. The vehicle spun around going backwards then the front end tried swinging back and hit the center median damaging the front end-bumper ripped off, reinforcement bent/folded, fenders warped, both headlights broken, condenser slightly folded to leak, radiator support warped, frame bent. The slave cylinder was leaking...again this was the second time. Pedal would start to stop short then the slave would start to leak. First time the dealer replaced the slave and everything was working. Then this happened. I was told that because the second incident was "just out of the repair warrant by 800 mi they-the dealer- was "liable for nothing" and would do nothing to help." The vehicle's slave was replaced and everything was working-with the clutch-when in 2009 the problem happened again. I was able to take the car to the dealer again...again...again and the master cylinder for the clutch was replaced.-problem was solved. Have not had a problem since......this whole issue shows that the vehicle was not properly diagnosed which caused the second failure and the accident.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #10

Aug 172009

Cavalier

  • 93,000 miles
This is the second problem I've had with this. Clutch problems due to a faulty hydraulic line in a 2004 Chevy Cavalier. First incident occurred May 1st when the master to slave hydraulic hose split open (was told by the ase certified repair person this should never have happened). This was a dealer only part and there are no used parts available for this. Now there are no leaks, but clutch still sticks to the floor. Driving fine, then no clutch to put car into correct gear. Had happened intermittently, but today I was in the middle of morning rush hour traffic. Almost caused several accidents when car stalled after idling really low. Shut off car while sitting at a red light-- finally after a fight with the stickshift, got into gear so I could get to a parking lot. After looking on-line for solutions and a closer repair shop, realizing this happens quite a bit to owners. I'm scared to have my 4 month old daughter in my car and would rather have her in a 1988 Mazda that the seatbelts don't click back. This is a very dangerous problem and should be addressed immediately since it happens during normal driving. If I wouldn't have had some quick thinking on my part, I probably would be in the hospital right now.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #9

Jun 152007

Cavalier

  • 40,000 miles
While driving in my car one day I intended to shift into 3rd gear, but it only made a grinding noise. I can only assume since the noise persists even with rev matching that its a syncro/cone problem. I try to shift during the proper RPM area, and sometimes it will shift without a problem other times it grinds. I have no idea why. It had approximately 45,000 miles on it then, now around 70,000, still has the issue.

- Ravenna, OH, USA

problem #8

Nov 102008

Cavalier

  • 58,000 miles

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

My 2004 Cavalier has had two master/slave cylinders to fail. Clutch goes to the floor failing to release the clutch pedal. Dealer tried to charge me $800 when I had warranty. Almost caused accident because of this. Very unprofessional service advisors. Will never recommend a GM- Chevrolet vehicle to anyone ever. GM = nightmare. Don't buy GM ever!!!!

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #7

Nov 012008

Cavalier

  • 36,000 miles
My 2004 Chevy Cavalier was purchased May 2004 new off the lot. Since then, my clutch system has had to be replaced almost every year. It first stopped working at 36,000 miles, just 6,000 after factory warranty ran out. It then stopped working again while still under part warranty which lasts 12,000 miles. It again stopped working just a few thousand miles after that warranty ran out. And now has gone out for the fourth time in under 3,000 miles. I can always tell when the system is becoming faulty after only a few thousand miles, however due to the fact that labor is not included in any warranty, I drive it until the clutch system stops working. This has not been of any benefit to me or my car. However, I should not have to be replacing any part(s) this often, so I should not have to worry in the first place. The answer I get to what the problem is always the same, the slave cylinder O ring is "leaking like a siv" and the master cylinder has gone out. And due to these two issues, it effects the quality of my clutch fly wheel. I see no end in sight for this problem, I can not even get rebuilt parts for this problem to save myself money and as stated before, labor will never be covered under warranty. I have now paid for half the purchase price of my car in parts and labor as it was new off the lot. This lemon of a car is costing me well over $1,100 every year in repairs to the clutch system and I can not afford it any more. I have not heard yet what customer service for Chevy is going to do for this but I felt that this was worth you hearing about so as to help others after me who may have the same problem and to also help me with my current problem.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #6

Jun 202007

Cavalier

  • miles
Driving home from work through city streets and suddenly was not able to disengage clutch when attempting to shift from 2nd to third. Transmission stuck in 2nd. Luckily I was only a couple miles from home. Further investigation on my part found clutch hydraulic hose had hole worn into it due to bracket location. Poor design with respect to hose configuration and bracket location. High potential for personal injury when operating.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #5

Aug 102008

Cavalier

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,137 miles

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

When I was dropping my sister off at the airport, I was leaving in my Cavalier which is a manual transmission I put the car in reverse and engaged the clutch it stuck on and would not come off. I had to slam on the emergency brake and brakes to stall out the car. Once the car stalled it also came to rest against a tree, which thankfully did not cause any damage except a few scratches. On further investigation I had noticed that a hole has worn in the hydraulic rubber line from the master clutch cylinder. The hose was rubbing against a wiring harness metal brace bracket just below the clutch master cylinder. It could have caused alot of damage or personal injury or even death in the right circumstances. I had just left the halifax water front where there were about 6000 people and if the problem happened. There could have been major problems. I would like someone to look into this problem. When it happened there was no warning.

- Lawrencetown, 00, USA

problem #4

Feb 012008

Cavalier

  • Manual transmission
  • 36,000 miles
Clutch started feeling slushy and then failed after a few months. Clutch stays to the floor. Repair to be done, replace slave cylinder.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 202006

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I bought my car, a 2004 Chevy Cavalier with 21 miles on it. Since then I have tried to return it and now the minor but frequent issues are much bigger and more frequently! first my trunk latch broke a week after purchase. The cd broke the next week, cigarette lighter broke, and passenger seat wouldn't move. This was the first two months of ownership. A few months ago the fuel gauge broke, temp gauge and ac. They couldn't verify it so couldn't repair, until it completely failed this month. Also, I was left stranded at 2:30 am with my 3 year old son when the clutch fell through the floor. It was repaired and now the rpms shoot up to 6000, is unresponsive to any pedals, and requires turning the engine off. This happened in san francisco on highway 101, I am truly afraid for the safety of myself. Son, and others driving this car or near one. There are many other unmentioned things that have occurred, too many to tell in this summary. They of course can't duplicate this major problem and therefore can't "correct." Also they state it doesn't fall under lemon, but what is at stake our lives.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #2

Nov 242005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
While driving home from thanksgiving I was unable to shift my manual transmission, and I noticed that the clutch appeared stuck to the floor. The remainder of the way home (30 miles) if I slowed down the would stall as I could not push the clutch in. The car, a 2004 Cavalier, has a total of 42000 miles on it. Upon getting the car to the dealer I was told the master cylinder, the slave.

- Taylor, MI, USA

problem #1

Jun 182004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 34 miles
I have an excessive grinding feel within the clutch pedal. A tsb for this has been issued and so far the vehicle is 6 months old. 2 clutch assemblies have been installed and one flywheel. The original tsb states do not replace the clutch components and flywheel because this will not correct the problem. GM, why are you going against your own technical experts advise" want to prevent a devastating recall by hoodwinking your customers in saying the problem is designed in the transmission as normal" this has to be up channeled to higher government officials. Lemon laws and ignorant and complacent customers who are afraid of going the distance will only allow their investments to be traded or just live with the complaint. Looking at the history of 2000-2004 Cavaliers, sunfires and Malibu with this transmission and engine combination is only the tip of the iceberg. I wish there was a forum to allow cross communication between owners for a class action law suit. This is America. For crying out loud I get better return service at wal mart for defective merchandise.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

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