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:
28,370 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

problem #3

Jun 012013

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


I am concerned because of the ignition recall. For the last several months, at random times, if I touched the keys which were in the ignition, more often than not, the overhead dome light would either flicker or actually go on for several seconds to a minute before shutting off. This is not a result of pulling them so that they are not solidly inserted, but due to being jostled. This has happened when the car is running, or not running, and occasionally when I insert the key in the ignition. I do not believe this, in itself, is a problem unless it is an indication that this may progress into a more serious problem.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #2

Jan 202004


  • 10 miles
Consumer complained that when manually shifting vehicle stalled. The key had to be removed from the ignition to restart the vehicle. Also, sometimes vehicle stalled when shifting too fast. Occasionally, the stalling occurred on the highway. During this time it could be dangerous to have to remove the key from the ignition. The dealer claims that the vehicle was designed to do this. The problem occurred more than twelve times.

- Larchmont, NY, USA

problem #1

Dec 102003


  • 100 miles
A strong fuel odor entered the inside of the vehicle when the vents were used. This odor caused nausea and headaches to any one riding in the vehicle. At any temperature, the vehicle took a very long time to crank up. Also, while driving at 50 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated and bogged down. The vehicle would eventually pick up speed and act as if nothing ever happened. These problems occurred eight times. There was rattle in the drivers side door panel due to the regulator, there was also an intermittent noise on the passenger side rear, the vehicle would not start due to the power train control module, the engine was hard to start at times and was unable to be duplicated, the engine would lose power, the driver door made a rubbing noise, the floor area was buckling, and the A/C displayed a burning smell.

- Sumter, SC, USA

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