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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,957 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 152014

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles


All of the trouble lights come on including the service light with a wrench. Then, all of the gauges drop to nothing; you don't know how fast you're traveling, what your fuel capacity is, the temperature gauge drops to nothing along with the tachometer dropping to nothing. In the odometer and "error" message replaces the odometer reading. The gauges will intermittently go off and on or all of them will drop of with no reading. The other evening, I was coming home on a winding back country road and all of my lights went out. I have to limit my driving to daytime driving and only use the running lights as it appears to only aggravate the problem when I use my headlights. Today, everything above happened along with some news things. The vehicle was shut off, the key was removed from the ignition and the running lights remained on as did the warning alarm as though the key were left in the ignition. I left the car only after I pulled the left and right fuse from the panel. When I returned to the car, I inserted the fuses and started the vehicle but was unable to shift the car into gear as the car would not let me depress the button on the shifter to do so. I have to now shut the car off and pull the ignition fuse and then reinsert it to get the car in gear. What the heck?

- Carnegie, PA, USA

problem #7

Nov 032008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
As soon as this car reached @50,000 miles, the speedometer and fuel gauges stopped working. Upon checking with a Chevrolet dealer, I was informed that the entire dashboard needs to be dismantled and new gauges installed by an outside source, whereupon car is returned to dealership and odometer is reset to correct mileage. Cost is approximately $400 and up. Upon research, I found this to be a common complaint. This is a safety hazard because you cannot tell how fast you are driving and if you have enough fuel. Also, fuel gauge needle goes haywire when I fill up. The needle goes into the gauge that tells you if your car is running hot - preventing that needle from operating properly. To my knowledge no recall has been issued regarding these problems.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 252011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact stated that the fuel evaporative emission light illuminated. He inspected the vehicle and noticed that the fuel filler tube was covered with rust. An authorized dealer stated that the problem was common because of the road salts used in his particular state. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The current and failure mileage was approximately 83,000. Updated 05/13/11 updated 07/08/11

- Marshfield, WI, USA

problem #5

Dec 222009

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 96,698 miles


96,000 miles fuel pump fails while sitting idle in drive way.

- Mt Wolf, PA, USA

problem #4

Aug 052009


  • 110,000 miles
My 2004 Chevy Cavalier 2.2L base/sedan is well maintained. Three months after the purchase the fuel pump stopped working. Replaced by dealership under warranty. A year later the fuel pump was replaced again. Warranty period over. Cost me $896. Recently the fuel pump stopped working while I was driving. I was making a left turn at the intersection and proceeded to make the left and all of a sudden the engine stalled and steering froze forcing me into the light post after the turn. This caused two other vehicles to collide to avoid hitting me. The service garage diagnosed the problem to be the fuel pump. Cost me $750 and $1900 for front end damage. I contacted the dealership head office and the declined comment. Instead they blamed be for not replacing the fuel filter. Again, this vehicle has always been maintained and serviced at the dealership, as well as the filter/fuel pump. My friend had a similar experience 2 yrs ago and gave me this website to file a complaint. 2 yrs and nothing yet? thank you for allowing the manufacturers and all involved to get away with this! after doing research, this vehicle is known for this problem. I will not sell this vehicle and will not drive this vehicle to protect the public from fatalities. This vehicle is going straight to the junkyard. God bless America.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

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problem #3

Mar 292009


  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle stopped in the middle of the interstate without warning. The vehicle was towed to a repair shop and the mechanic stated that the fuel pump failed. The dealer was not notified. In addition, the contact heard a tapping nose in the heater and the cd player does not work. There were also two motor swtices repaired in the windows. The vehicle is currently being repaired at the contact's expense. The failure and current mileages were 78,000.

- Cincincati, OH, USA

problem #2

Nov 012008


  • 51,862 miles
I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier ls sport. Well lets first start off with my drivers side window motor. It went out about a year and half ago and we fixed it this summer. Apparently it is a huge problem but of course no recall on it so paid almost 300 dollars myself to fix it. Then after that when I would start my car and put it into drive, the car would sputter and the ABS and trac off lights would come on. Next about 5 months ago I noticed that my gas gauge was fluctuating a little. Didn't give it much thought but then 2 months ago my temp gauge was going haywire. Called the dealer and they said that there was no recall and we would have to pay to have it fixed. Well we all know money is tight so I have left it. Low and behold late last week, the mph gauge said I was going 100 mph in a 35 zone. I had to take a double look. Dealer again says no recalls. After speaking to a friend, he said that his truck did the same thing along with another co-workers truck (GM trucks) and that they took it in because it had a recall on the "instrument cluster" and there was no charge. How come Cavaliers are having the problem and nothing, but there trucks have it and there is a recall. I cant tell how fast I am going. Now I am probably going to have to just go with the flow of traffic since I cant afford to fix it. Come on GM own up to all of your mistakes please..........there are tons of logged complaints on here about it, obviously it is a real problem GM. This is why we are going foreign with our cars now.

- Germantown, OH, 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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