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GM Speedometer lawsuit filed

Suits filed over GM speedometers
By David Bowermaster

Seattle Times staff reporter

Kevin Zwicker knew something was wrong when the speedometer on his 2004 Chevy Suburban indicated he was going 10 mph, even though he was driving at or near the speed limit on Interstate 5.

Zwicker's speedometer failed completely in April 2006. But General Motors did not replace it for free because the truck was outside the standard three-year, 36,000-mile warranty period.

Zwicker had purchased an extended warranty, so he paid $100 for a new speedometer rather than the usual $400 to $500.

But now Zwicker, who lives in Snohomish, is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of potentially thousands of people. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, could potentially cover all Washington residents who purchased GM trucks and sport-utility vehicles from 2003 to 2007, and who have had to replace defective speedometers.

Zwicker, 48, considers himself a "savvy driver," but said it was uncomfortable driving without knowing how fast he was going.

"I don't think it's fair that a major manufacturer such as GM can let something like this go by and not give it some serious thought," Zwicker said.

A nearly identical suit was filed this week in U.S. District Court in Oregon on behalf of John Hall, who paid $427.50 in January to fix a defective speedometer on his 2003 GMC Envoy LE.

The lawsuits in Washington and Oregon are seeking class-action status, according to Beth Terrell, an attorney with the Seattle law firm of Tousley Brain Stephens who is representing Hall and Zwicker. The suits cover five Chevrolet models: Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe and Trailblazer; four GMC models: Denali, Envoy, Sierra and Trailblazer; and the Cadillac Escalade.

Additional suits could follow in other states, but there are currently no plans to consolidate the cases into a single national suit against the world's largest automaker.


  • johnny4016johnny4016 Posts: 112
    I own a 2004 Chevy Tahoe Z71.

    My Odometer stopped working at around 31,000 in 2006. I brought it to the Chevy Dealership in Palmdale Calif. Rally Chevy.

    They not only replaced the part, or repaired it, I never got a true answer as to which, but they also gave me a loaner car to use at no charge.

    The part was known to have a defect then in Feb. 2006 when mine stopped working. Apparently the manufacture that was making the part could not keep up with all the orders. It took 7 days before my Tahoe was ready. It only took a couple of minutes to remove the part.

    I posted a message about this on the Recall Site letting people know. How ever Chevy as far as I know never did or has recalled the part. They are waiting for the problem to occur and in some cases it sounds like hoping that it happens when the vehicle is out of warranty.

    I think that you have a legitimate lawsuit. Chevy should have recalled this part as they knew it was and is bad. :lemon:

    I hope that this helps out who ever was charged for this part as I think that is ethically wrong.
  • rwesley1rwesley1 Posts: 2
    I have got the same problem w/my 2004 Z71 Tahoe....I haven't had it fixed yet, waiting on either a recall or some legal action. My problem began around 38,000 miles.
    It w/work sometimes, but most of the time it register "0" or it w/go up to 70 MPH and then stick there for several days.....I had it checked and it's in the speedodometer head, as I was told.
  • lrawsonlrawson Posts: 2
    I had the same problem after my purchase...of a 2003 chevy suburban.. It was just over 37,000 miles when the speedometer went out .. but it cost me over 600.00 to fix.... you are lucky it was under warranty.... To top that off I had to get a new Transmission at 59,000 miles ... of course that was out of warranty....which this is only 1 of many things that went wrong starting after the 36,000 miles... Good luck on your suit..
  • drewc2drewc2 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Suburban 2500. My speedometer went hay-wire on a 2,600 mile round trip to FL. The needle just kept creeping up far beyond the correct speed, until it finally pinned itself.
    I made an appointment when I got back to have it repaired, and it resolved itself the day before the appointment. It has since worked sporadically, with not apparent trigger for the problem. It is very odd, seems like it should be an all or nothing type of problem, not a come and go issue.

    Dealer told me that my entire instrument cluster would need to be replaced. I think I'll wait and see how GM responds to this obvious design problem.
  • farmmanfarmman Posts: 4
    I also am having trouble...I have no idea how fast I am going. I have a 2004 chevy 3/4 ton 4X4 pick up. It started acting up at 70,000 miles and says I am going 120 MPH all the time. If I sit there and restart it over and over again each time I start it, it will go back 5 MPH..After I get it back to 0 it will work for a while and them jump to 70 MPH when I know I am doing 30. Is GM going to pay my ticket? I dont think so. There needs to be a recall on this item we have paid alot for our trucks and suv's not that long ago. I would understand if our trucks and suv's are older but they are new! GM needs to do something! Before people start buying FORDS! :mad: :lemon:
  • farmmanfarmman Posts: 4
    Yea so I got a SPEEDING TICKET today!! I called Chevy I dont think they are going to do anything about it If you all havent called and yelled yet here is the # for gm is 1-800-462-8782 and chevy is 1-800-222-1020
  • 07wildbill07wildbill Posts: 29
    i have a 2004 chev silverado mine went out 38,400. miles.i was going to send it off to a guy that fixes them on ebay for $100.00,he;s really good.any way i called the chev parts house to ask them how much the cluster cost, so i could insure it, when i mailed it to this guy on ebay.the chev parts manager asked me how many miles on it ,i said 38.400. he told me to bring it in and they would take care of it.i was over the 36,000 limit.i was real lucky.look this guy up on ebay,he will show you how to take out your old one and send it to him for repair.i believe he use to work for me if you need any help.clusters cost $450.00
  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    farmman said: Yea so I got a SPEEDING TICKET today!! I called Chevy I dont think they are going to do anything about it
    You can count on that....
  • bob413bob413 Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 silverado. the speedometer will not go down only up. It wil only go down when I try to start the engine and only drop 5 mph at a time. I would like to join this lawsuit I am from Oklahoma.
  • yeah I had that exact problem and my speedometer stopped working all together yesterday! I'm trying to find out how to fix it because I have no idea! Not to mention that I don't have $500!! My truck went out of warranty Jan 07, and thats when my front bumper fell off, tailgate support cables snapped, cover for tailgate handle fell off, speedometer started messing up, the rear-end is having problems! I don't even have 30,000 miles on it yet!!!!! I would like to join this lawsuit as well....I'm also from Oklahoma
  • I experienced the same problem. My speedometer started acting up at 70000 miles and I haven't had it replaced either as the Chevy dealer says it will cost around 500 to replace the cluster. I agree this needs to be recalled. I would like to be in on the law suit but I live in Georgia.
  • i have a 2003 silverado 25000 miles and last week i noticed that the speedo sticking about 65-70mph when i come to stop it says i am going 10 to 20MPH. i have a extended warrenty on it will it cover ?
    :confuse: :cry:
  • I was driving today, probably going around 70 keeping up with ATL traffic when my speedometer read 100. I immediately slowed down thinking it would come down. It didn't. Instead as I got off I-75, it climbed from 100 as I accelerated, now showing past 120. I made 2 stops, but it is pegged at the 7 o'clock spot. My experience is they won't do anything, as was the case with my brake lights that went out, b/c my VIN was not in the recall range.

    I have a 2004 Trlblazer LT.
  • As I mentioned above I brought my 04 Tahoe to the dealer and they said that they repaired it under the 36/36 warranty. It took over a week to get the part R&R, dealer blamed it on a back log for the part. I haven't had any problems with the speed since they R&R it.
    My hour meter when I brought in to the dealer had 1058 on it and when I got my Tahoe back it had 779 hours on it, 279 hours less. Once the hour meter reached 1600 hours with the repaired part it reset it self to 0 hours. So I'm starting to think that maybe the dealer or people that they sent the part to gave me some one elses odometer and lied to me when they said that they repaired it. Why would it have 279 hours less on it? Your not suppose to be able to reset the hour meter. Then after putting 821 hours on the repaired odometer the hour meter reset itself and went back to 0 hours? I've have kept a gas log since day 1 when I bought my Tahoe with all the DIC readings so I know exactly how many hours, etc I have on my odometer.
  • My 2004 Z71 has the same problem, running 65-70 the speedo jumps to 100-120. I'm worried the odometer may be off too? Any info on how to join the lawsuit? I'm in South Carolina. Also the push button 4 wheel drive has never worked right, anyone else have this problem? I heard there is a TSB on it.
  • I own a 2004 Chevy Suburban and the speedometer went haywire at just over 36,100 miles. We bought it in 2003 so the warranty ran out last December. I called the dealership I purchased the vehicle from and asked how they are handling the repair of the defective speedometers. I also e-mailed the customer relations department and spoke to them by phone (Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-1020). The service manager at my dealership was able to get authorization to repair the speedometer for me free of charge. Hopefully other dealerships will do the same for those of you who also have this defective part. There is also a class action suit filed in Northern California.
  • Everyone who has experienced a problem with their GM/Chevy speedometer can go to and file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This will help show the extent of the problem and hopefully get GM to do a recall.
  • ct3ct3 Posts: 1
  • jon41jon41 Posts: 2
    I too have a 2004 Silverado. My speedometer went out today. At first it registered zero. Later it went up to over 120 and stayed off the scale fot the entire trip. I live in Louisiana and would also like to join a law suit. Any advice would be welcomed. This is definately a defect and should be recalled.
  • zboaterzboater Posts: 17
    I have a 2004 Tahoe LT with 54K miles that started this same problem last week (it said I was doing a 120 mph in a 35 mph zone). I mentioned to someone at work that has a 03 Yukon that the same problem happened to. The dealer is fixing at N/C. They need to pull a set of numbers from the instrument cluster and then order a new one. Total repair would be $500 but all covered N/C. Reference a service notice "07187" - they had to dig to find it in the computer. If you have had the repair done recently, they are also offering "special coverage" or full payment (to some VIN's) the full cost of the repair. Good luck ... I get my new cluster installed in 2 days.
  • UP Date: GM sent me a RECALL notice.!
    went to Dealer that i bought truck from and they still had to verifie that it was BROKE and VIN.
    then said they would have to order part in and would call me . Its been 5 days and NO Call !!! :confuse: :(
  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    ster49 said: Its been 5 days and NO Call !!!
    Five days....??? GM probably doesn't even have the order in their complete system yet. There will be thousands of units replaced so you better be patient.
  • I was just hit with the speedometer curse as well (right now it's sitting on 60 mph when I'm parked). I have an '04 Silverado and of course my warranty just expired two months ago. Does anyone have any new advice to share??? Thanks!
  • lkbumlkbum Posts: 6
    Received Recall notice yesterday, for failure within first 7 years or 70,000 miles.
  • I live in Georgia and a 2003 Tahoe and noticed my speedometer had stopped working on Saturday. In park it sits on 40mph, I currently have 91,000. I need some advice on what to do. :mad:
  • Looks like everyone with a broken speedometer is gonna get taken care of. IKbum posted this notice:

    "Received Recall notice yesterday, for failure within first 7 years or 70,000 miles"
  • I just spoke w/the svs mgr and my local Chev dealership & he said GM just came out w/a provision for the odometer problems where they w/fix or reimburse for repairs on your
    veh up to 7 yrs or 70,000 miles. He is going to fax me a claim form to get reimbursed. I'll believe it when I see the check.......w/keep this BB updated.
  • My car is just over the 70,000 miles. Anyone get this fixed by a dealer with higher than 70,000 miles? I have appointment on Friday. Will most likely cancel unless they have parts.... :cry:
  • lkbumlkbum Posts: 6
    I took my 2004 Yukon XL in today with my letter from GM. They knew about the problem and asked to see the letter. They corrected me on a MAJOR point, this is NOT a RECALL, but a "Special Provision by GM" for replacement or reimbursement for failure. In other words, they only replace it if it fails within 70,000 miles or 7 years of service. This seemed kind of sketchy to me. Especially because it is limited to 70,000 miles (7 years should be more like 100,000 miles on average) . Mine failed at about 65,000 miles. A few more months and I might have been SOL.
    Sounds like GM took the cheap way out on a known problem, maybe they had analysis to show if the failure did not occur within 70,000 miles it never would, or maybe they just thought they would quiet the current batch of squeaky wheels with this half a$$ approach instead of a full recall.
  • Thats great for everyone who is under 70k my 2004 broke at 72k and it says that on the recipt sucks for me.....
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