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.


definitely annoying
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
56,500 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. re-glue dislodged foam in air duct (2 reports)
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #4

Dec 102011

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


It was around the first snowfall of winter '11 that I went to use my defrost and it wouldn't work. I couldn't turn the control knob all the way down, it would snap back up, and air was only coming out of the vents. This is fairly significant because I was unable to see at times due to my windshield being fogged. I had to carry a bandana in order to wipe the windshield clear, and would often have to pull over multiple times to either wipe it again, or sometimes even get out of the car and scrape because the freezing rain would freeze on the windshield as I was driving.

Finally, I found a temporary fix where I straightened the kinked cable with needle nose pliers. This worked for a bit, but ultimately it kinked again. Upon a second attempt, it frayed and is hanging on by a thread so I figured if I had to be stuck on 1 setting, it better be the defrost/floor heater setting.

This really is a safety hazard as it was nearly disastrous a few times. GM went the cheap route on it and the right thing to do would've been to issue a recall.

- , Reading, PA, USA

problem #3

May 112010

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

The drivers side vent quit blowing air completely. The center left vent had just a trickle of air coming out of it. The right two vents seemed to be working fine. Unfortunately, the two blocked vents reduced the capacity of the system to cool the cabin, not to mention putting me, the driver, in the hot seat without A/C. Since my car is a dark color and it is in the middle of summer, this problem was constantly reminding me it was there every time I got into the car. It took 15-20 minutes of highway driving to begin to cool the cabin off to an acceptable temperature.

I removed the center defroster vent cover, dash cover, the steering column covers, instrument panel bezel, and finally the vent feeder manifold from the center of the dash. As clear as day, there was the piece of foam blocking the vent ports.

The problem was this piece of foam had come off of the air door and lodged into two of the air ducts. It was about 4" x 11" and 3/16" thick. It appeared to have a self adhesive backing, similar to double stick tape.

I put some new, high quality double sided sticky tape on the back side of the foam pad and pressed it back into place on the air door. I suppose you could remove the foam completely but I decided to put it back in. It was not difficult to do.

- , Graham, NC, USA

problem #2

Oct 032007

Cavalier LS 2.2L Ecotec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Noticed when we bought the car(used) that the drivers side vents had no air pressure compared to the passenger side. Decided to take dash apart and see if something was unhooked, Right in the center of the dash I found the problem. Right where all the dash vents are fed from in the center is a black plastic spider looking thing that feeds the vents, remove this piece and you will find a piece of foam that was once attached to the door that opens and closes(when you turn off the vents). you could remove this foam all together But I decided to try and re-glue it to the door, which has held up since the fix.

- , Evansville, WI, USA

problem #1

Apr 022006

Cavalier 4cy

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

I bought it like that with the vent all not working never actually noticed it, but wasn't that big of a deal

- , Worthville, KY, USA

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