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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,425 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace gasket and flush transmission (2 reports)
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #2

Oct 022008

Cavalier LS 2.2L Ecotec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


I wouldn't normally call this a significant Issue, but on a car that has no transmission dipstick for easily checking your fluid levels there is no way to know how much fluid you may have lost. There is supposedly a small plug on the trans similar to a rear axle fill that you need to remove to check trans fluid level(also where you fill it). Instead of trying to locate this plug I took the car to dealer and had the tranny fluid, filter, and pan gasket changed.

- , Evansville, WI, USA

problem #1

Jan 042008

Cavalier LS 2.2L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,850 miles

The 2004 Cavalier LS had made a burning smell coming from the bottom of the vehicle during December. I believed at the time the vehicle was leaking oil but after determining there was no leak coming from the vehicle, the shop determined the transmission pan gasket needed to be replaced because the part, which is made out of rubber and expected to regulate extreme heat (which it does not), had broke down because of the heat. It was uncertain how much transmission fluid was lost and there was a chance of fluid contamination so I had to get a transmission flush and a new transmission filter. I was very confused.

About three weeks ago I had to get the gasket replaced again because the GM part failed again. So the mechanic ordered another GM part and laced it with silicon. He gave me another flush because I lost over three quarts of fluid this time in my driveway. There have been no problems since but the transmission has slipped a couple of times. I do not understand how the pan itself is fine but the gasket which holds the pan is busted. The silicon was a great help because it insulates the transmission flush temperature and it will not allow that dumb ass rubber gasket to expand with heat wear. THe mechanic at Firestone told me that he got the silicon idea from a Honda application because they lace theirs with silicon or lace it with metal seals. I just had service done to get a fuel system tune up and I will go back in two weeks for a coolant flush. I do not want to address this transmission gasket problem again. Leave it to GM to make a vehicle with a closed transmission so I cannot see my fluid levels and leave it to GM to make a part out of rubber that is supposed to regulate 276 degree transmission coolant temperature. Damn this.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

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