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
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 1
Average Mileage:
73,516 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

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 #6

Jun 112006

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving my car, the engine would completely shut off. At first it would happen when I was at a complete stop. However it began to happen while the car was in movement. I tried to crank the car to take it to the shop and it wouldn't crank at all. The problem couldn't be identified on a diagnostic test and it wasn't the spark plugs. I was told to replace the computer to see if that was the problem. The auto shop was not even sure that it was the problem. This computer cost $650 not including labor. Now my engine light continually flashes and the car jerks. However when I take it to the auto shop they say that I have gotten bad gas. They can't find another problem. I've changed where I get my gas and it still happens daily. Out of 3 hours of driving it may run normally about 1- 1.5 hour.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #5

Oct 262005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,300 miles
While driving the contact's vehicle was involved in an accident due to a possible medical condition. The vehicle caught on fire immediately upon impact. The vehicle was deemed a total loss from the insurance company. A representative from the manufacturer inspected the vehicle and was unable to determine the cause of the fire due to the extensive damage. The solid fuel lines were intact as well as the gasoline tank. Updated 02/26/06.

- Woodstock, IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 102005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,100 miles


I bought the car used with over 29,000 miles on it in July of 2005. The car stops running at any speed traveled, everything locks up so it is hard to steer off the road. After I finally pull of the road I put the car in park, turn the ignition key off and then turn it on again it starts back up. This has happened many times. The first time I took it to the dealership and they told me that " since it wont happen to them while they drive it there is nothing wrong, so go home and call us if it happens again." So I did. The 2nd time it was in the dealership they put it on a diagnostic test and fixed 2 things. Now the warranty ends and it is still doing the problem. I have called and made an appointment but was told I would have to pay for the repairs anyways because the warranty ended a little over 1,000 miles ago. I drive in this car everyday to work which is a half hour away from my house and to school 1 day a week which is 3.5 hours from my house. I also have my child in this car at all times. I feel this car is a hazard to all that drives in it and I honestly feel that there may be an accident in the future if this doesn't get fixed.

- Salem, OH, USA

problem #3

Jun 302005


  • 7,194 miles
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier developed a problem with starting as well as stalling. The vehicle has been taken tot he dealer numerous times but they have not been able to permanently alleviate the problem.

- Streetsboro , OH, USA

problem #2

Sep 262004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,342 miles
While driving and without warning the vehicle died. This has happened three times. The dealer said it was something different every time. The manufacturer was contacted, but would not return the consumers call. She called three times. The dealer said the problem was an ignition switch the second time. The third time they replaced/programmed the PCM. The first time they replaced a module 3.107, seal 3.112. The power windows would not roll down.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #1

Dec 192003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Electrical problem with 2004 Chevy Cavalier. Within a few weeks of purchase (purchased new) car has had electrical problems that have gotten worse over the year of ownership. Driver side window will not open or close at times, pre-set radio stations change at times, and interior light will turn on and off by itself at times.

- Lakewood, NJ, USA

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