Question about 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Temp gauge off charts

2003 chevy cavalier. the temp gauge has gone past its top position and is now interfering with the speedometer. can i fix this?

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  • actionhil Nov 16, 2008

    the temp gauge is completely over to the right at about 120 degrees so when the speedo needs to go over about 30 km it gets stuck on the temp gauge

  • chris454bb Nov 26, 2008

    I'm having same sort of problem, got it fixed so now it seems to read temp correct, but does not zero itself after shutting the car off, thus everytime the car is turned on it raises untill it gets tangled up with tachometer. If you've fixed this problem actionhil, my e-mail is Thanks!

  • M_ropp48 Dec 03, 2008

    Mine does the same thing. They told me I need a new insturment pannel? Any idea how much a new one cost. $CAN

  • Amy King
    Amy King Dec 24, 2008

    Exactly the same problem here. Took it in to have the fuel pump replaced and when I got it back the "check engine" light wouldn't shut off, all the instruments were going haywire, the fuel gauge messing up the temp gauge which in turn screwed up the speedometer, and now the gas tank overflows when I fill it up. The repair shop wouldn't even listen to the problem before they guaranteed that whatever I was about to complain about was not caused by something they did. At this point, I don't care who is to blame or why this happened, I just want to know how to fix it.

  • chevydriver Mar 01, 2009

    I have exacly the same problem, car has 4,500 km.

    drove the car for about 15 minutes, saw the gauge at right angle past the red warning point & started interfering with the speedometer needle.Stoped the car and check under the hood for overheating signs, I could place my hand on top of the engine, could not detect overheating.



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Both my temp and tach have gotten stuck like all of yours. When either does not zero out after you turn the engine off there is one thing that seem to work every time: 1) put key in ignition, 2) turn the key until you start to feel resistance and then turn it back (turn the key so that the battery is on and stop just before the engine is about to turn over.)

The temp and/or tach will slowly fall a little closer to zeroing out each time you do this.

Generally I have to repeat this half turning of the key a up to a few dozen times before the temp or tach will zero out. From what I have read this is a result of poor wiring that is common with cavaliers of the early 2000s.

Posted on May 05, 2009

  • 2003chevycav May 05, 2009

    Hope this method works for your cars.

    Anoying: If temp gauge keeps turning clockwise until it is pointing stright down, this method may not work right away (this happend to me once). Eventually it should work... give it a few days.


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I took my Cavalier to an auto electric specialist who diagnosed the problem and told me I needed the cluster replaced. Simply recalibrating it did not fix the issue, as the temperature gauge was just going in circles. The cost for replacement with a new part was estimated at about $500. With a used part it would be $350 but would increase the mileage on my vehicle. I decided not to have the issue repaired right away, as it does not interfere with the driveability of my car. Hope this helps, actionhil!

Posted on Dec 30, 2008

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Can you tell if the temperature is actually rising? Perhaps it is just a sensor or loose connection?

Posted on Nov 16, 2008

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