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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,000 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #9

Sep 042015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving approximately 2 mph and making a turn, the power steering failed without warning. The steering wheel became extremely difficult to mavnuever. The failure was permanent. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 08E063000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Yorkville, IL, USA

problem #8

Nov 022015


  • 181,000 miles
The vehicle steering is not tight and I am not able to tightly control the movement completely when going over bumps or making turns. The wheel steering feels loose and unsecured. When driving the speed limit on the highway, the vehicle drifts regardless if I have control.

- Catonsville, MD, USA

problem #7

Aug 022015


  • 120,000 miles
Around 4:00pm after getting off work. I was driving home and I went to make a left turn, my steering wheel moved up then down diagonally about a inch; inch and a half. It does it every time now when any kind of upward pressure is put on the steering wheel. I don't know how serious of a problem this is, but it does seem if it gets any worse it could effect your driving ability of the car.

- Windosr Mill, MD, USA

problem #6

Jul 152014


  • 140,000 miles


For several years now, the interior light has been coming on intermittently when I hit a bump in the road. Last year I went shopping, got back into my car & started it, or rather tried to start it, but it shut down quite quickly. Thinking it was a fluke, I tried to start it several more times with the same results. Not even pushing on the gas could keep it going. After towing the car & having it sit around for a while before someone could finally find the electrical issue, it was 'repaired'. the issue was the wiring for the ignition switch. The repair completed was a cheaper route than replacing the actual switch. What I didn't know until too late last year was the 'service w/wrench' and 'theft system' lights were the warning that the switch was about to go out. The interior light has been doing the same thing again & the theft & service lights came on again last Wednesday, 7/15/15, and now I know I have no choice but to replace the ignition seitch. Last year I contacted GM but they only wanted to make a note about it. I'm sure that as time goes on others will have issues too. How can wires come loose or break behind a steering wheel? plugs, hoses & things like that I can fully understand, but not something that is hidden & supposedly safe behind a steering wheel

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #5

Jun 172015


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving approximately 60 mph, the steering suddenly malfunctioned. The vehicle spun out and crashed into a second vehicle. No injuries were reported and a police report was filed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but the cause of the failure was not determined. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #4

Jan 212014

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Car shut off no power steering gauges shut off everything turned off but lights stayed on and flashers worked.

- New Baltimore, MI, USA

problem #3

Nov 022012

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 178,000 miles


Doing my morning paper route. Went to turn left in a cul-de-sac and the steering tilt broke. The steering wheel was going all kind of directions. I have two newspapers wedged into the right side and the bottom so I can drive it until I can somehow get it fixed. I have three or four parts that fell into the floorboard. All I was doing was turning the steering wheel to the left when I broke and the parts fell off. This is a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. I bought it in 2009. This is the first major problem I've had with the car. It seems that this shouldn't ever happen to any car. I have not had any accidents in this car. I can still steer, but the tilt is broken and the wheel is hard to keep still.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #2

Jun 052012


  • miles
There is a well known problem with the horn after time/wear with the 2003-2005 Chevrolet Cavalier. There is a issue with the contact in the steering column to active the vehicles horn. The problem is caused by the rotating ribbon circuit contact under the steering wheel having a broken filament for the horn circuit, the part is known as a clock spring contact. The horn will not work by pressing either button on steering wheel, but will sound as part of vehicle security system by pressing key fob. This issue can lead to accidents, and injury. This is a know problem reported by many vehicle owners on different forums, databases, and searches. Please fix or recall this part Chevrolet, to prevent accident, injury, and death.

- Hamiltin, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jan 012007


  • miles
I currently drive a 2004 Chevy Cavalier ls, I have had trouble with the power steering for a few years. The vehicle will drive and steer fine for a while, then it will begin to make a low grumbling noise when I slow down and turn. The steering becomes steadily more difficult. I eventually took it in for repair. They told me that it was a slow leak in my steering fluid and instead of paying to fix it, to keep filling it with fluid whenever I start hearing the noise. So far, I've only lost the power steering once - luckily I was in my driveway. Filling the power steering works as a quick fix for a few weeks. I've also notice that when I got to open the power steering fluid cap - it appears that the fluid has been "boiling" or foaming for a while. I'm not sure if that helps, but it has been something I've noticed. Thanks.

- Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

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