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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
476,185 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 162014

Cavalier 4WD 4-cyl

  • 151,925 miles


Low and high-beam headlights appear dim when turned on compared to other cars. May be due to corroded/defective wiring. Appears to be a very common problem with this Chevrolet model. Looking for recall information related to this issue.

- Hastings, MI, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Jun 042014


  • 111,000 miles
The gauges show nothing no speed no gas no mileage nothing. I have seen a lot of complaints of this matter why is there nothing being done about this problem. I was always a Chevy person but now I am moving on to something else. Chevy does not like to fix there problems they leave it up to the people to spend tons of money to fix the prob when they know what the prob is. This is uncalled for.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 202011


  • 2,000,000 miles
When I turn on my car defroster, it starts popping very loud. At one time it started popping when I set the car at idle, and when I returned to the car, it was filled with smoke or dust. I had to air out the car for a while before I could drive it. The defroster doesn't pop every time, and it quits after about 30 minutes each time. Also, when I bought the car, it needed a new console, so I had it replaced. The day-time running lights go out and flash at people. When they go out, the service light comes on. I have to drive with my headlights on so the day-time running lights do not flash at people.

- Barboursville, WV, USA

problem #1

Aug 012009


  • 50,000 miles
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier exterior brake light and back turn signal are not functioning.

- Burns, TN, USA

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