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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,193 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 accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #47

Dec 102010


  • miles


2004 Chevy Cavalier instrument panel not working correctly. Temperature gauge has flipped and is blocking my speedometer needle from reading correctly.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #46

Oct 032010


  • 32,000 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier speedometer instrument cluster fails. Speedometer reads incorrect speed and fails. It is very dangerous not knowing how fast you are going, I received a speeding ticket as a result. I replaced the instrument cluster with one from a junk yard. The problem is temporarily fixed. There are many other people with the same issue.

- Abington, PA, USA

problem #45

May 102010

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier speedo sticking. It started around 5 months ago it says your going 110 mph when only going 30 mph. Now it all over the place and the tach doesn't always work right either so you cant go by that. It is very dangerous trying to guess your speed. I have looked all over the internet only to find many people having the same problem. Chevy should have a recall if someone freaks out on a highway alot of people could really get hurt or even killed. Im sure if someone from Chevy teenager had a cav doing this or got hurt because of this something would be done. Please do something to get this fixed. It doesn't seem to be a big issue but when people get hurt then it will be.. please for the safety of people on the road tell GM they have a problem.

- Collinsville, IL, USA

problem #44

Jun 272008


  • 170,000 miles


The RPM and the mph gauge are not working.

- Mascouche, Quebec, Canada, 00, USA

problem #43

Jun 042010


  • 34,000 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier. The speedometer does not work properly. When starting the car (before shifting out of park) it will read 40+ mph. I once started it after it had been sitting in a hot parking lot for 8 hours and the needle was maxed out (again, before it was even shifted out of park). I have read that this problem has been experienced by many people with Chevy Cavaliers (not just 2004 model). We were told that the only fix for this was to replace the entire cluster, which will cost $500+.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #42

May 102005


  • 1,500 miles
2004 Chevy Cavalier speedometer does not state the correct mph you are going will stick anywhere, the temperature gauge also has stopped working. It can be reset (the speedometer) once the car cools off but when you are driving and have no idea what speed you are going it is a major problem that needs to be corrected by Chevy.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #41

Jan 022007


  • 42,000 miles


Instrument cluster on 2004 Chevy Cavalier just goes haywire this is a safety concern. Why was there no recall. Faulty motors were put in.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #40

Apr 062009


  • 54,000 miles
Gauges in car is not working. Read on your site there is another 65 people who have the same problem.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #39

Dec 302009


  • 66,000 miles
Instrument cluster on my 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier started malfunctioning in late December 2009. First the gas gauge stop working, then the temperature gauge beacuse the gas gauge interfered. Now July 10 2010. The speedometer has also stopped functioning properly because the temperature gauge interfered with it. This is very dangerous. I emailed GM but no response. Was told by GM dealer it would be over $700 to replace it. Not fair at all, this should be a recall by GM because of the safety issue.

- Taneytown, MD, USA

problem #38

Jun 152010


  • 59,601 miles
On June 15,2010 my entire cluster gauge started acting funny. I did some research to find out I was not the only one who owner a 2004 Cavalier and the gauges go all haywire. I feel this is a safety concern and should be reviewed.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #37

May 012009


  • 50,000 miles


At about 50,000 miles the tachometer on the dashboard cluster began to fail, becoming wildly uncalibrated and showing RPM well above actual. This was followed by the speedometer suffering the same defect. When driving, stopped, in park, or even engine off, the speedometer will read inaccurate: 30mph, 90mph, sometimes pinned 360-degrees off the gauge. A quick temporary fix is, while the car is off, to remove the dash cluster fuse and reinsert it, which resets all the gauges at 0. this is only temporary because within days, if not earlier, the gauges become uncalibrated again. Recently at about 60,000 miles the speedometer has also randomly begun to report speeds well below actual speed. I.e. when traveling 45mph the speedometer will read 25mph.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #36

Apr 262010


  • 38,420 miles
The instrument cluster on my 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier has failed to operate properly.

- Glenwood Springs, CO, USA

problem #35

Jan 012007


  • 30,000 miles
Speedometer and gas gauge and RPM gauge not working correctly. This has been happening for probably 3 years. Started here and there and now, my speedometer it never working. Each day is different. Sometimes it will start on 35 mph and I can easily calculate my speed for about a half hour until it gets stuck. Other days it won't move at all. I never know how fast I am going. Also, gas gauge doesn't work, thank god my gas light does. One time Firestone tried to fix it, and it worked for about 3 days, the it was messed up again. It used to only happen in extreme hot or cold weather conditions, but now it happens daily.

- Batavia, OH, USA

problem #34

Apr 122010


  • miles
I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier and recently the speedometer has just stopped working. Sometimes it decides to work due to weather conditions, but most likely it is on 80mph when im doing 20mph or it just sits at the bottom all together. I was about to have a mechanic fix my car and I did some online research. I found a website with 33 additional complaints with the same issue with a 2004 Chevy Cavalier( this is a safety hazard to drivers and passengers and GM needs to recall this and correct the problem immediately, it is unacceptable.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #33

May 202010


  • 25,000 miles
My temperature gauge overextended clockwise past the maximum temp thresh hold until the needle was pointing directly right (toward psgr). The tip of the needle, being stuck in that position, physically blocked the speedometer needle from going any higher than 10 mph. Eventually the speedometer just failed, the temperature gauge still continued to not work, and approximately 1 month after that the gas gauge failed as well (that needle is all over the place). The only gauge in the cluster that is working is the tachometer. This seems to be a popular defect for this car, as I have read many others-same problem. My car is a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier and has less than 25,000 miles and has been taken excellent care of and now I'm afraid to drive it out of town. This problem needs to be a recall from GM. Very unhappy.

- Peru, IN, USA

problem #32

Oct 252008


  • 35,891 miles
My 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier has instrument cluster issues. The speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges do not work properly. I have read many post from Cavalier owners with the same problem. It is a safety issue since I cannot tell how fast I am going.

- Leroy, NY, USA

problem #31

Feb 022010


  • 60,000 miles
Gauge cluster not reading correctly on and off on 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier.

- Rittman, OH, USA

problem #30

Jun 052008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
Speedometer stopped working.

- Regina / Sk, 00, USA

problem #29

Aug 142008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The gauges on my Cavalier are all messed up. Sometimes the only gage that works are my RPM gauges. All the other gauges: The gas gage, the thermometer gauges and the mph gage never work right. I can't tell how fast I am going, how much gas is in the car or if it's going to overheat on me or not. It will not reset. This has been going on for two years.

- Green Cove Springs, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 012010


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. She stated that the entire instrument panel would fail intermittently. The dealer was contacted and advised that the cluster, a fuse or the wiring could be faulty. The vehicle has not been taken into the dealer to be diagnosed. No repairs made to date. The failure mileage was 12,000 and the current mileage was 112,075.

- Hondo , TX, USA

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