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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
74,550 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (12 reports)
  2. replace gauge cluster (7 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Cavalier accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #19

Jan 012006

Cavalier 2S 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Had problem with battery and took in to have it changed. Came out and none of the gauges worked on my car. Mechanic looked at car again and I was told that it would cost me around $700 to have the gauges replaced, The gauges would work sporatically if I kept changing out the fuses, but eventually that didn't work any more. This is quite annoying.

- , Lillian, AL, USA

problem #18

Jun 082012

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,920 miles

Having gauges that do not work has been difficult to manage. Constantly worried I am speeding when the gauges goes into 120 mph, yet cars are flying by me. Or, worse yet, there are no other cars to determine my speed, and I see a police officer. This has been going two years. Then, there is the newest problem with gauge cluster, the fuel level. This has been happening for a year intermittently. I had thought it had something to do with my car being in need of an oil change since it had corrected itself after each oil change. That was the case until three months. Now, it hasn't fixed after the past two oil changes. I have gone "old school" tracking the mileage and fuel input, but I feel unsafe. I typically have both of my children with me when I go to work, and that means they would be with should I run out of fuel. My paranoid personality fills my car every three days, which is a pain in the butt, but it is worth peace of mind...I guess. At any rate, it sounds like it should have been a recall, added to the three I have had. I can't complain too much. Betsy has been a great car up to this point, and I feel she is worth the $300 fix after 11 happy years together. I am also hoping not to replace her for at least two more years. Wish me luck.

- , Belle Plaine, MN, US

problem #17

Jan 012012

Cavalier V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I have 0 speedometer. It has been out for over a year now. It fluctuates from 0 mph to 120 mph. It's all over the place. Occasionally it will seem to be about accurate. I pretty much go by the rpms when driving. I wish there was a recall for this as it seems to have happened to more than a few cavaliers.

- , North Judson, IN, USA

problem #16

Jan 012008

Cavalier LSSport 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


Mechanics wanted about $600 to fix, my ex did it for small amount. He got the replacement gears online and chgd it himself. The problem comes because the complete dashboard needs to be remove and it is challenging. It still saved over $500 though.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #15

Jun 072011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Since summertime, I have had problems with one gauge or another not reading right. It started with the fuel gauge not reading correctly. Now the heat gauge is constantly reading incorrectly and today turned around so far, it wasn't even reading the numbers and got hung up on the speedometer gauge. It caused the speedometer needle to get stuck on the heat gauge needle and read that I was only going 20mph when I know I was going faster than that. I have read that Chevy has had many of their vehicles having problems with the instrument panel gauges all going crazy. This is something that should be recalled and fixed at Chevy's expense. I have two Chevy's, different models, and both have this problem with the gauges.

- , Byrdstown, TN, USA

problem #14

Jun 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I'm not exactly sure when the problem started, about a year ago. It started with my thermostat, looked like I was over heating. But it wasn't, had work done, fixed a few things. It would work fine but then go back to the red. Eventually made it all the way over to where it would hit my speedometer, and is now pointing straight down. Which then started messing with my speedometer. Some times it is just fine, but then it will get all screwed up again. Shut my car off and it will stay on 70 or whatever and keep going higher each time I drive. It will stay like that for a few days and finally go back to normal. My gas gauge has gone haywire too! I bought this car in 2006 from a Ford dealership. I talked to someone there and they said it would be best to take it to the Chevy dealer that they would be able to better fix it. I just don't know how much it will cost! I don't have a lot of money right now! Does anyone know how much?

- , Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #13

Mar 102010

Cavalier LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,828 miles



- , Martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #12

Jan 012010

Cavalier LS 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

I was upset when I noticed I the speedometer reading 80 when I was going about 30. The temperature outside was 10 above so maybe warmer weather will correct it.

- , Southfield, MI, USA

problem #11

Jan 042009

Cavalier LS Sport 2.2L Ecotec

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles

This seems to be a fairly common complaint with GM vehicles. Mine only acts up when it is either really hot (car parked in the sun during summer) or really cold (below freezing). I have not fixed the problem yet but it is inevitable. I have read other places that GM will fix the problem free only if you own a pickup or SUV since they judge those customers to be more likely repeat buyers, in spite of the poor product. I think it is sad that GM plays favorites with such an obvious widespread problem.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #10

May 012009

Cavalier 2.2L Ecotech

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

the plastic covering my gauges has been broken since i got my car, so i could just reach in and move it back once i came to a stop, but i never knew how fast i was going while i was moving, when this happened. this was especially bad at night because there weren't many other cars around to gauge my speed off of.

- , Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #9

Sep 072009

Cavalier V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


my car just didn't start, I took the key out of the ignition after trying to start it and (while the key was NOT in the ignition) the dashboard lights went off and the gauges were fluttering. I looked at all the fuses but I know its the computer that is causing everything to go haywire but I don't know the cheapest way to fix it. and its not the battery because its been checked and its perfectly fine...I need some advice and help pleaseeeee

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #8

Nov 052008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

The gas gauge is no longer working. This was after the speedometer stopped working and several light (service, theft system and check engine) continue to show up and then go away!

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #7

Jun 152008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Sorry chevy wasn't man enough to issue recall, if you take care of your car they should cover it for at least 100,000 miles if you thing your product is good enough.

- , Dallas, PA, USA

problem #6

Aug 102008

Cavalier ES 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles

This really sucks ass, I can never tell how much gas I have, how fast I'm going, or my cars heat/ cold temp. Chevy should pay for this... Let me ask CHEVY on all of our behalf... If I get pulled over for going over the speeding limit would you pick up the consequences? Would you step up and send someone from your Multi-billion dollar business to explain how your tech's, designer's, engineers F@*+%D up? And would you admit to ignoring the all the complaints about the same things and doing nothing about it? Answer that MR. CHEVY... I dare you!

- , BRONX, NY, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #5

Aug 152006

Cavalier 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

I use my car for work and put on about 50,000 km every year so just about every complaint listed here, I've had! I bought the car brand new. GM service sucks. Needless to say, the new car I just bought is NOT a GM. I'm still using the cavalier for work and will continue to do so until the next large repair bill when it'll just be parked for good. I'm listing my complaints here because they all seem to be so common and the more complaints filed here, the more power. (My cavalier is now 5 years old, fully paid for and drives pretty good for an old lady with 250,000 kms on it. If you overlook a few things.......)

The date I listed is an approx date. The instrument cluster slowly started going haywire. First, the temp guage went - the same way listed in all the complaints. Then the tach, and the speedometer. The gas guage goes out now and then but for the most part, it's the only guage I have that works. When I took it in for repairs to a non-GM repair shop, I was told it would cost around $1,000. 'You-know-where' will freeze over before I put ANOTHER thousand of repairs in the car for things that should be covered.

I didn't get it fixed. I know how fast I go. I make sure the gas is topped up every day just to be on the safe side.

Here's a good tip - instead of putting out big bucks to get your speedometer repaired, just buy a gps unit that has a built in speedometer. That's what I use out on the highway where it's harder to guage how fast you're going.

(As a kid, my Dad used to tell me that he knew how fast he was going by counting the telephone poles and dividing by two. Doesn't work, though.)

- , Cornwall, Ontario, Canada

problem #4

Oct 012008

Cavalier 2.2L Ecotec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

On the instrument cluster, the temp gauge goes way up sometimes and it's not overheating. sometimes it will even loop all the way back down to the speedometer. i have already replaced the sensor in the engine. i think the instrument cluster is bad. I want to know if i can just install one from a junk yard. I called the dealer and they said I have to have another cluster reprogrammed for $200. In the past I replaced one of these on an older car and there was a procedure to program the cluster such as turning the key on and off and then leaving it on. will that work with this one? any suggestions or solutions?

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 012005

Cavalier 2.2L Ecotec

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Not sure of exactly when this happened as it was during the tenure of prior owner. This is a typical Chevy problem very common. Gauges going way past limits ( fuel and temp) very easy to destroy a very expensive engine to replace operating it this way. Get this one fixed right away or you get what you deserve if a hose breaks, until then treat it like an airplane and lift the hood each day and verify you have no leaks ect!

Only fix is a new or rebuilt cluster. Company online sells rebuild for a couple hundred bucks. They also furnish a very nice detailed explanation of how to remove the dashboard on the site. Someone sells new surplus clusters on Ebay for around 50. I ordered one and used the diagram online to tear out the whole dashboard down to the cluster. 2 hours work and $50 to fix. Note, the computer sets the mileage so everything will automatically set to exactly the existing proper readings when its turned on, Neat.

- , Chazy, NY, US

problem #2

May 102006

Cavalier 2.2L Ecotec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

My girlfriend's 2003 cavalier loses its speedometer constantly. One minute it works, the next it points straight down or says she's doing 110. She's actually had several tickets due to this, and I've considered contacting GM over this. Her temp gauge reads hot sometimes as well, even though she has no problem with a coolant leak or water pump being bad. She also gets a lot of warning lights popping on and off. She gets an abs/trac light, and a service light occasionally, which go away while driving or the next day. Seems the whole cluster is bad. GM says there are no TSB's or recalls for this problem.

- , Granite City, IL, USA

problem #1

Jul 252007

Cavalier LS Sport 2.2L Ecotek

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I'm having the same problem in my 03. Speedo doesn't work or works part of the time or indicates the wrong speed. Also, the temp gauge has started doing the same thing. After doing some searching on the net, found out that I am not the only one with this problem (at least with the 03-04 models). Found out that Chevy is having problems with the stepper motors that they are using to control the gauges in the higher end SUV's and trucks. Took the gauge cluster apart and found...stepper motors. If you search Google, you will find that there is a service bulletin (as well as lots of complaints and legal action) for this BUT it doesn't include Cavaliers. I'm searching high and low for the replacement motors (currently to no avail) and will post once I find some. Currently the only solution is to replace the gauge cluster.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

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