Instrument Cluster and Dead Gauges?

  • Owners of Ford F-series trucks may experience a dead Instrument Cluster and Dead Gauges. This is usually caused by an open condition in the ground wire from the cluster. To diagnose the problem, remove the cluster and check the 20-pin connector that is connected to the rear of the cluster.

What causes instrument cluster to stop working?

As stated above, a defective instrument cluster and a blown fuse are common reasons. These are only applicable if you’re sure that not a single gauge in your car works. There could also be a problem with the part that feeds your car’s instrument cluster. This part is called the voltage regulator.

What are the symptoms of a bad instrument cluster?

Signs of a bad instrument cluster include dim/flickering gauges, inaccurate or unreliable readings, all gauges dropping to zero while driving, and an unworkable instrument cluster. These error symptoms can result in your vehicle going out while driving, displays failing occasionally, or complete/intermittent failure.

Can a bad instrument cluster cause loss of power?

Inoperable instrument cluster An inoperable instrument cluster is another symptom of a possible issue with the vehicle’s instrument voltage regulator. If the instrument voltage regulator fails completely, power to the cluster will be disabled and it will cease to function.

What does the instrument cluster control?

The function of the instrument cluster is to keep the driver informed with the most current information as they drive. Gauges provide the information for speed, distance, heat and fuel. Indicator lights provide warnings and updates like the check engine light and the low fuel light.

Is there a fuse for the instrument cluster?

The fuse may be labeled gauges, cluster, or something similar. This fuse should have power on both sides with the ignition in the on position. If the fuses check out okay, then check for power at the instrument cluster. If the instrument cluster has power, then check for ground.

Can you drive without instrument cluster?

Can I drive my vehicle while the instrument cluster is out for repair? Yes, you can still start and run your vehicle without the instrument cluster.

Can a bad instrument cluster cause a no start?

Premium Member. No working gauges, no AC compressor or turn signal lights on the cluster does sound like the cluster is bad, but, a bad cluster should not cause intermittent no start. The car will start and run fine without the cluster. Get the cluster fixed and then you will be able to continue diagnosing the car.

Can a bad battery cause gauges not to work?

It is possible for low battery voltage to cause this problem. It is also possible that this problem is being caused by bad instrument cluster wiring, or a problem in your main fuse box.

Where is the fuse located for the instrument cluster?

Look along the left side of the panel, where the door would cover when closed. Also, try under the hood—often there is a box labeled “Electrical Center” or “Fuse Panel” near the front fender wells.

How much does it cost to fix a cluster?

Not only is the service very affordable, but the repair is also completed with quality and fast turnaround in mind. To demonstrate that, Safety Restore’s instrument cluster repair cost is just $118.99, and the repairs take only 24 hours or less to complete.

What are the signs of a bad voltage regulator?

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptoms

  • Too High Voltage in the Battery.
  • Dead Battery.
  • Battery Light or Check Engine Light.
  • Inconsistent Operation of Electrical Components.
  • Vehicle Dies While Running.
  • Dimming/Pulsing Lights.

What is vehicle instrument cluster?

A car’s instrument cluster houses the various displays and indicators that enable a driver to operate the vehicle. Among these are several gauges – often a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, fuel gauge, etc. Also, virtually all instrument clusters include LED backlighting.

What is instrument cluster display?

Basic Description. The instrument cluster in a vehicle is generally located directly above the steering wheel and displays important vehicle operation information to the driver such as vehicle speed, fuel level and the status of various vehicular systems.

What module controls the instrument cluster?

On modern cars, there’s one wiring harness running from the instrument cluster to the engine control module (ECM) or body control module (BCM). The ECM or BCM has a bunch of wires running to sensors and lights all over the vehicle.

Gauges in Your Car Not Working? Try These Fixes

A complicated tale is told by the dashboard gauges in your automobile, which include everything from your current speed to the status and health of your engine, and even whether or not certain features such as your headlights are turned on. There are a variety of gauges available on various cars, and some instrument panels are far more intricate than others. When the gauges on your automobile cease working, though, it is not a situation you can afford to overlook for very long. The fault might be with the gauge itself or a damaged sensor, but all of the gauges failing at the same time is usually indicative of a blown fuse or a malfunctioning instrument cluster, according to the manufacturer.

  • If none of the gauges operate at all, the problem may be caused by a blown fuse or a malfunctioning instrument cluster. If all of the gauges are reading low or unpredictable, it is possible that there is a problem with the voltage regulator that supplies the instrument cluster. If all of the gauges are set to the highest possible reading, it is conceivable that there is a wiring problem or a defective instrument voltage regulator at fault.
  • If the oil pressure, coolant, charge, or gas gauges do not function properly or function in an unpredictable manner, the fault is most likely with the gauge, wiring, or sender. Speedometers are unique in that some of them rely on physical cables rather than sensors, therefore a broken cable or stripped gear may be the cause of a malfunctioning speedometer.
  • This typically signifies a blown bulb if one or more of the warning lights do not activate when you initially turn the key in the ignition. Initially, if none of the lights illuminate at all, examine the fuses and cabling leading to the instrument cluster. When a warning light illuminates and remains on while the engine is running, it typically signifies that there is an issue with that particular system.

Gauges in Car Not Working at All

A wide variety of instrument cluster designs and combinations exist, but when all of the gauges in a car cease working at the same time, the problem is almost always a problem with the fuse or the wiring. The first step in troubleshooting this sort of problem is to locate the fuse that is linked with the instrument cluster or gauges in question. When the ignition key is switched to the on position, the fuse should have power on both sides of the circuit. In the absence of proper automotive diagnostic instruments or if you don’t feel confident performing a diagnostic like this, you may check this using a cheap test light or multimeter, or take your car to a repair.

The instrument cluster must normally be removed in order to accomplish this, which may be a time-consuming and complex task in some cars.

The complexity level is generally comparable to that of installing a new vehicle radio, so if you’re familiar with that task, you should be able to accomplish this one with ease.

What If the Indicator and Dash Lights Don’t Work Either?

The fact that your gauges are not working, as well as your dash lights and indicators, is an indication that you may be experiencing a grounding problem in your vehicle. For the sake of this section, assume that you have already examined the gauges fuse and established that it is functioning properly. Typically, when an instrument cluster is improperly grounded, the gauges and dash lights will fail to function or will only function sporadically. In some circumstances, you may be able to inspect the ground by peeking up beneath the dash with a flashlight, but in most cases, you will need to remove the instrument cluster.

What If the Gauges Seem Erratic or the Needles Are Pegged?

In most cases, when the gauges appear to be moving erratically or when they are pegged at their maximum possible reading, the problem is caused by a faulty component such as an instrument voltage regulator or a faulty ground. It is most often the case that a defective instrument voltage regulator is to blame for erratic readings, or gauges that appear to read uniformly low. Depending on the situation, you may be able to remove the regulator, clean the connecting terminals, and then replace it.

Loose or faulty grounding is frequently the source of gauges that consistently read full all the time. It is important to check that the ground is securely fastened and free of rust or corrosion if you have been successful in locating it either visually or with the aid of a wiring schematic.

The Trouble With Electronic Instrument Clusters

In certain instances, you may discover that the entire instrument cluster is malfunctioning and has to be replaced. As an example, if you have an electronic instrument cluster that does not contain distinct gauges that receive independent inputs from discrete sending units, a total failure of all of the gauges will almost always result in the need for the whole cluster to be replaced. Early electronic instrument clusters included digital readouts similar to those found on an LCD alarm clock, however the current counterpart frequently resembles analog gauges in a far more sophisticated manner than their predecessors.

What If Just One Gauge Doesn’t Work?

Any time only a single gauge fails to function properly it indicates a malfunction in the gauge, its wiring, or the transmitting device. If you are confident in your ability to locate and remove transmitting units and sensors, you can do a self-diagnosis on this sort of problem. A mechanic will be required if the vehicle is not repaired. Consider your coolant temperature gauge as an example. The diagnostic technique begins with the identification and removal of the transmitting unit. When the ignition is turned on, the gauge should read “cold.” If you connect the transmitting unit wire to ground, the gauge should change from cold to hot to indicate the connection was successful.

It’s possible that the gauge is defective if it doesn’t move when you ground out the sensor line, although this is unlikely.

When It’s the Speedometer Not Working

While all gauges may be either analog or digital in nature, speedometers are unusual in that they can be either mechanical or electrical in nature, making them the most versatile of all. All other dash gauges are wired to sensors or transmitting units, however your speedometer may be connected to a speed sensor or a physical cable, depending on how it is configured. If a vehicle is equipped with a cable transmission, the speedometer is physically connected to the transmission by means of the cable.

Depending on how the cable breaks, the gauge may not move at all, or it may move sporadically with a little jolt.

In many instances, this will also necessitate the removal of the instrument cluster itself.

Malfunctioning Speedometers and Speed Sensors

Speed sensors have replaced cables in the majority of modern automobiles and trucks, with the changeover beginning in the 1990s. There are certain automobiles that include both a speed sensor and a cable; in this instance, the cable is normally used to drive the speedometer, while the speed sensor or wheel sensor is used to inform the computer about how fast the vehicle is travelling. There are two ways to find out for sure what your automobile has: either search up your car’s make, model, and year online or physically inspect the rear of the instrument cluster with your hands.

In automobiles equipped with speed sensors, the existence of a cruise control system provides the most convenient means of determining if the sensor or gauge is malfunctioning.

If you discover that your cruise control is operational but that your speedometer is not, you should investigate a faulty speedometer.

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In some cases, the electronic control unit (ECU) may be failing in a less usual scenario.

In the event that you take your vehicle to a certified technician, they will be able to connect to the ECU in order to read problem codes and other data. Using specialist testing equipment, they will also be able to do an actual test on the speed sensor in question.

What If It’s Dashboard Warning Lights That Don’t Work?

However, although many automobiles and trucks are equipped with gauges that provide detailed information on everything from the charging system’s health to the coolant temperature, certain cars and trucks are equipped with warning lights. They are intended to glow when the input from a transmitting unit or sensor is outside of the expected range. Consequently, instead of a needle indicating that your coolant temperature is 230 degrees Fahrenheit and in the red danger zone, a warning light will flash to indicate that the coolant temperature is higher than it should be.

If one or more of the lights fail to illuminate, it is most likely due to the fact that the bulbs have burned out completely.

In the same manner that a non-working gauge is diagnosed, you will need to check for power at the relevant fuse and make sure that the instrument cluster ground is in good working order with this problem.

Figuring Out Why Dash Gauges and Lights Don’t Work

If you’re working with gauges or lights, the fundamental troubleshooting technique will always be decided by the amount of failures that occur at the same time, regardless of the type of instrument. Consequently, if only one gauge or light quits working, you will follow one fundamental method, and if everything stops operating at the same time, you will follow another basic procedure.

  1. When all of the gauges or warning lights in your automobile stop working at the same time, the problem is usually caused by a fault that all of the gauges and warning lights have in common
  • First, make sure the fuses are working properly. Depending on the manufacturer, the fuse may be named gauges, cluster, or anything else similar. When the ignition is turned on, this fuse should be able to supply electricity to both sides of the circuit. If the fuses appear to be in good working order, then check for power at the instrument cluster. If the instrument cluster is powered, then look for a grounding connection. Bad ground connections might result in total failure or readings that are inconsistent. Even if everything else fails, it may be necessary to replace the instrument cluster itself.
  • The problem is either a faulty sensor or a faulty gauge when only one gauge or light ceases to function properly.
  • It is necessary to find the sensor that is connected to a single malfunctioning gauge or warning light before you can diagnose the problem. Typically, the first step is to disconnect the sensor from the rest of the system. Separating the sensor from the gauge or attaching it to a grounding point, depending on how the gauge is designed, may allow you to test the gauge’s functionality. In terms of gauges and sensors, the diagnostic technique varies depending on the application. Sometimes you may discover that the problem was caused by a faulty connection
  • In this instance, you should contact the manufacturer.
  1. In the case of a physical cable-connected speedometer that does not function, the problem is either a damaged connection or a faulty speedometer.
  • Diagnosing this problem is rather simple if you can determine where the speedometer cable links to the transmission, which is not difficult to accomplish. Turning the end of the cable that inserts into the gearbox by hand with your fingers should cause the speedometer to move
  • However, this is not guaranteed. Disconnect the speedometer cable from the speedometer and manually spin it if the needle does not move. It’s possible that the cable is internally damaged if you manually spin one end and don’t see the other end revolve. If it does turn, this indicates that the speedometer is malfunctioning.

Thank you for informing us about this!

What Causes the Instrument Cluster to Stop Working?

The instrument cluster, often known as the digital dash, supplies the driver with critical information that is required for a safe driving environment. It is positioned on the driver’s dashboard and contains the speedometer, fuel gauge, and odometer, among other instruments. In some instances, though, it ceases to function. What is the root reason of the instrument cluster’s inability to function? The following is a list of the things that might cause the instrument cluster to cease working:

  1. Overloaded circuit, bad sensors, stripped gear, wiring issues, grounding issue, faulty instrument cluster are all possible causes of computer failure.

This post will go through how instrument clusters operate, what causes them to stop operating, and how to identify the specific problem that is causing them to stop working. We’ll also use some real-world examples, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, to help you understand why it doesn’t work all the time.

What Causes the Instrument Cluster to Stop Working?

This article will go through how instrument clusters operate, what causes them to cease operating, and how to identify the particular problem that is causing them to malfunction. Also included will be some real-world examples, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, to help you understand why it occasionally fails to function properly.

Causes of Instrument Cluster Problems

Let’s take a closer look at what is causing the instrument cluster to malfunction in further detail:

1. Computer Faults

In some automobiles, a single wire might carry two signals, resulting in erroneous behavior. Because of improper computer operation, which may be caused by damaged software or a hardware malfunction, this error message is shown. This is not the most prevalent source of instrument cluster difficulties in 2000Jeep Grand Cherokees, and replacing the PCM only results in a 50 percent success rate in resolving the issue with the dashboard.

2. Blown Fuse

A blown fuse is one of only two guaranteed reasons of a non-functioning instrument cluster, and it only occurs when none of the gauges are operational at the same time. It is also a likely cause if your Jeep Cherokee’s warning lights are not working, and it is recommended that you get your Jeep Cherokee’s warning lights checked before deciding that your warning lights require new bulbs. To check, open the fusebox, which is located in the engine compartment under the driver’s side dash, or see your owner’s handbook for the specific position of the fusebox.

3. Loose Connectors

Connectors that are either loose or have come unplugged are straightforward to repair and are among the things you should look for while performing a simple circuit trace investigation. Make sure you detach the car battery, reattach the connections, tighten any that are loose, and then reconnect the battery if this is what is causing your instrument cluster problem. Your instrument panel should come back to life within a few minutes of this.

4. Bad Sensors

In the majority of situations, simply one or two gauges in your instrument cluster are not functioning properly. When this occurs, you would most likely attribute the problem to a malfunctioning sensor. The speedometer sensor is the sort of sensor that experiences the greatest number of failures. Glitching in the speedometer and cruise control, power loss, and the activation of the check engine light are all possible symptoms.

5. Stripped Gear

Odometers and speedometers that don’t operate are frequently the result of this problem. Damaged gauges might also be caused by a damaged wire – assuming that your vehicle’s speedometer is powered by a physical cable rather than sensors to work. To correct this, you must first remove your instrument cluster in order to access the gears. While you’re at it, blow off the dust with compressed air and wipe the transparent plastic with a microfiber cloth to keep it looking like new.

6. Overloaded Circuit

It is possible that a malfunctioning voltage regulator, which is responsible for delivering power to the instrument panel in most modern vehicles, is to blame for the inability of the instrument cluster to function properly. When this component is faulty, your digital dash may or may not completely stop operating. Your gauges, on the other hand, will read very high or low, function erratically, or become unstable. Even simple actions such as jumpstarting your vehicle or swapping out the battery might result in an electrical surge, which can result in, for example, a speedometer going wild.

7. Wiring Problems

Even though your voltage regulator appears to be functioning properly, the problem is most likely caused by a wiring problem, which is one of the two possible causes of a completely non-functioning instrument panel. This is especially true for a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, whose wires have a tendency to rub against the steering column, resulting in a short between the BCM and the throttle body. When the gauges on your car display the maximum possible values, this is a telltale indicator that your wiring is causing your IC to misbehave.

Any competent technician should be able to correct the situation. Otherwise, take your car to a specialist who will be able to run an in-depth circuit trace on it and locate the location of the problem.

8. Grounding Issue

There is a problem with the foundation. One of the last things that a car owner would believe is the source of the instrument cluster’s failure is a faulty battery. However, if you have previously investigated all of the possible reasons, this may be the root of the problem. The dash lights, gauges, and indicators are all affected by a grounding problem.

9. Defective Instrument Cluster

If you have performed all of the essential tests and are still unable to determine whether there is a problem with the wiring or sensors, you have been unfortunate enough to obtain a car with a lemon dash. Some electronic instrument clusters do not have distinct gauges that receive independent inputs from different senders, as is the case with some digital instrument clusters. It’s possible that you’ll have to replace it in this situation.

Diagnosing the Problem

To discover which of the aforementioned factors is the specific source of the problem, you must first isolate the issue. Here are some actions you may do to see how they work:

  1. You must first isolate the problem in order to discover which of the aforementioned factors is the specific source. Try these steps to see if they work for you.

Resetting an Instrument Cluster

To discover which of the factors listed above is the specific source of the problem, you must first isolate the issue. Here are some steps you can take to get started:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best way to tell whether my instrument cluster is bad? Dim or flickering gauges, erroneous or unreliable readings, all gauges going to zero while driving, and an unusable instrument cluster are all signs of a malfunctioning instrument cluster. These fault symptoms can result in your car going out while you’re driving, your displays failing intermittently, or your vehicle failing completely or intermittently. What is the approximate cost of repairing an instrument cluster? It is possible that replacing the instrument cluster may cost between $880 and $1,000 dollars. The charges are determined by the type, model, and condition of your car. Is it possible to operate your vehicle without the instrument cluster? If you own a Jeep, you are certainly aware of the fact that you can operate your vehicle without the instrument cluster installed. However, even if it is feasible to do so, you should refrain from doing so. It is quite unsafe to be on the road without functioning warning indicators. Aside from that, driving a car without a functional speedometer is considered unlawful in a number of countries. Is it possible for a faulty instrument cluster to create transmission problems? It is dependent on where the vehicle’s gearbox receives the signal indicating the current road speed. When driving a car equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), the information from the road speed sensor is transmitted to the ABS’s digital dash or panel and then to the gearbox control unit. It is possible that the gearbox will get inaccurate vehicle speed data if the instrument cluster malfunctions in this case, which might result in premature or delayed gear change timing, which could cause the transmission to behave strangely. What exactly does the term “check gauges” mean? The check gauges light explicitly signals the existence of a defect that necessitates the examination, servicing, or repair of the vehicle’s components. The check gauges light might be triggered by a loose gas cap, insufficient engine oil, an overheated engine, or an electrical malfunction, among other things. When this occurs, you will need to follow the instructions provided by the warning light, which is to examine all of the gauges in your instrument panel while the engine is running to determine which one is out of compliance. For Jeep Cherokee owners, your temperature gauge should read around 195°, your voltage gauge should read approximately 14V, and your idle oil pressure gauge should read approximately 40psi.
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Conclusion – What Causes the Instrument Cluster to Stop Working?

To conclude, the following are the most typical reasons why your instrument cluster is not functioning properly:

  1. Overloaded circuit, bad sensors, stripped gear, wiring issues, grounding issue, faulty instrument cluster are all possible causes of computer failure.

Most of the time, your instrument cluster will endure for the whole life of your car. However, if one or more of your gauges fails, you should anticipate to experience error symptoms that range from slightly bothersome to extremely problematic. Knowing what the most likely reasons are and how to solve them ahead of time will save you time, effort, and money in the long run when you take your car to the mechanic. It will also assist you in improving the manner in which you care for the various components of your vehicle.

Dashboard instrument cluster gauges temporarily dead

I understand this post is a little out of date, but I have been unable to find a comprehensive explanation of these dash cluster problems, as well as the suitable treatment for rectifying them, after months of web study. I did come across a number of people who claimed to be able to fix it, but none of them provided any specifics. I discovered folks who said that there was a problem with power (vague, but they were right). Here’s what I’ve discovered thus far. Okay, first and foremost, my 2003 Avalanche’s dashboard cluster WAS in perfect working order.

  • When I discovered that the bulbs were soldered to the circuit board, I simply unsoldered them and installed 194 replacement bulbs.
  • After reinstalling the cluster, it would either operate well or behave completely dead (i.e., there would be no activity at all), with the exception of the blinkers, which worked as well as the bulbs I had fitted.
  • When I looked at everything, everything appeared to be in working order.
  • I was concerned that I had somehow ruined anything with the board.
  • * Inconsistent power (sometimes the cluster works, sometimes it doesn’t)* The gauge works sometimes and doesn’t work other times.
  • Vibration or tampering with the cluster might cause the solder connections on these parts to degrade and only connect INTERMITTENTLY, which is not ideal.
  • There are a handful of different methods to check this out.

Even though this procedure appears to be more scientific in nature, it may be performed by just about anyone and is far less time consuming as well as more convenient.

Using a NON-CONDUCTIVE pointed item (I used a plastic inkpen housing), carefully push on various resistors and components on the circuit board when it is connected to your vehicle and not operating but with the ignition switch turned on in your vehicle.

When I pushed on one of the surface mount resistors, it really slipped off the circuit board!

I was fortunate in that I did not lose it.

After starting the car for the first time in six months, I was able to avoid hitting the instrument cluster with my hand.

I am overjoyed to have discovered and solved the problem, which has resulted in a state that is really better than manufacturer specifications. The soldering is superior, and the LED lighting is more durable, so the car should endure for many years.

Battery died, but then dash gauges don’t work.hmm

Could it possible that they used a boost box or another vehicle to jump start the car?:thumbsdow BAAAAAADDDDD this is the right thing to do Electrical spikes have a significant impact on the electronics, and in particular, on the gauges. A fresh battery may be able to resolve the issue. Just make sure that the battery ground cable, which connects the battery to the frame, is extremely clean and makes solid contact with the frame. Cleaning the connection and installing a serrated lock washer between the cable and frame are two of my standard procedures.

  1. We had an average of 1-2 dead batteries every day at Wixom.:willy: These were brand new, direct from the manufacturer.
  2. (There are other postings on the forum that address this, as well as sections of them.) Gel cells are charged using a special charger designed specifically for them.
  3. Because this charger is quite costly, the majority of individuals do not own one and instead rely on a wet cell charger.
  4. Just make sure to unplug the battery from the vehicle before charging the battery.

Diagnose Your Car’s Electronic Instrument Panel

Welcome to the Auto Repair Library, where you will find auto parts and accessories, as well as tools and manuals for your vehicle. Books, Car BLOG, Links, and more Index byLarry Carley (c)2019 All rights reserved. Late-model automobiles are equipped with electronic instrument panels that display information such as speed, fuel level, engine rpm (tachometer), and other gauge readings and warning lights. One thing that all electronic instruments, regardless of the manufacturer or model, has in common is the requirement for correct voltage and grounding.

If your electronic instrument panel is behaving strangely, displaying strange or broken characters, not reading accurately, or displaying nothing at all, the first things you should check are the instrument cluster fuse, the presence of battery/ignition voltage at the cluster harness, and the continuity of the cluster ground connection.


Replacing a blown fuse will not restore functionality to a dead instrument panel. Even if it temporarily restores power, unless you determine what caused the fuse to blow, you will only have treated the symptom and not the underlying cause. A short in the instrument cluster or wire harness is a good sign that the fuse has blown again as soon as it has been repaired or replaced. Check for a grounded power connection using an ohmmeter after disconnecting the wiring harness from the cluster before declaring the cluster a faulty component.

  1. Electrons and semiconductors are extremely sensitive to voltage levels, and 9.5 volts may not be sufficient for the operation of a cluster, which requires a minimum of 10.0 volts to function properly.
  2. If the battery voltage does not return to normal, you will need to pinpoint the source of the problem using the wiring diagram.
  3. The importance of a proper ground connection cannot be overemphasized.
  4. In most cases, a separate ground wire or ground circuit running through the wiring harness is required to complete the power circuit since the instrument cluster is housed in a plastic dash.

Refer to the wiring schematic once again to determine the ground route, and then confirm it with your ohmmeter. It is not recommended to use a self-powered test light since it is incapable of measuring resistance (any resistance will lower circuit voltage).


Another critical component that all electronic instrument clusters require is correct input from vehicle sensors (also known as vehicle sensors). If there is an issue with the relevant sensor or its wiring circuit, the speedometer, tachometer, fuel level, oil pressure, voltage, and temperature gauges will all fail to operate properly. Everything on an electronic instrument panel appears to be functioning normally, with the exception of one gauge that consistently displays high or low readings or erratic readings, there is a high likelihood that a problem exists not in cluster electronics but in a sending unit or sensor, or in wiring (especially if the gauge illuminates normally).

Once again, you will need to consult a wiring diagram in order to determine the continuity of the wire harness connecting the instrument panel to the different sending units and sensors.


One method for quickly checking electronic gauges is to connect a grounding wire directly to the transmitting unit or sensor. Generally, grounding will cause the gauge to read at its maximum, indicating that there is nothing amiss with the electronics or wiring in the vehicle. This indicates that there is a problem with the sensor or transmitting unit.


When you initially turn the ignition key in the ignition, some instrument panels go through a brief self-check routine during which all of the display segments and warning lights illuminate for the purpose of checking the bulbs in the instruments. Keep an eye out for any dark parts or signs that aren’t working properly. Even though self-check techniques differ significantly from one car to the next, in some apps, you may conduct a diagnostic by pushing specific display buttons. Look in your owner’s handbook for information on how to do a self-check on your instrument cluster.

This information may also be available on the websites of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).


When the Ford Mustang is manufactured after 1999, the instrument cluster includes a built-in self-diagnostic mode, which can be accessed by pushing and holding the instrument cluster SELECT/RESET button for several seconds. Incorporate the ignition key and turn the key to the RUN position (do not crank, or otherwise attempt to start the engine). To test the odometer, continue to press and hold the SELECT/RESET button (for 5 seconds) until the word TEST appears on the digital display. To start the self-diagnostic mode, press and hold the SELECT/RESET button for three seconds after the word TEST is displayed on the screen.

Continue to use the device, and it will cycle through a series of gauge (GAGE) displays and self-checks until it is finished.

The self-diagnostic mode on the instrument panel can be exited by turning the ignition switch off or by pressing and holding the SELECT/RESET button for three or more seconds after all fault codes and GAGE test results have been shown, then releasing the buttons.


Using the TRIP and TRIP RESET buttons simultaneously while turning the ignition on, the self-diagnostic process may be launched on earlier Chrysler electronic instrument display panels that contain a tachometer. Once the procedure is began, the buttons must be released. The STEP and U.S./MET buttons must be pressed at the same time for those without a tach. If nothing happens, the panel is in poor condition. It is expected that the odometer will show EIC, indicating that the cluster is ready to begin the self testing.

  • All of the vacuum fluorescent displays should be operational.
  • A fault code of 4 indicates that there is an issue with the odometer memory chip in the vehicle (only the chip has to be replaced).
  • Each time you hit the U.S./MET button, you will be taken through the following three exams in the series.
  • Test 7 illuminates all of the gauge scales and symbols, and when it is finished, it flashes a 7.
  • If the cluster passes all eight checks, the problem is likely to be located outside of the cluster.
  • The performance of the “distance sensor” (speedometer transmitting unit) on the transaxle should be checked using an ohm meter in the event that the speedometer and odometer do not function properly.
  • Connect the meter’s terminals to the sensor terminals and turn the meter on.
  • It is not recommended to use a test light on the sensor since doing so may cause harm to it.
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From a reliability standpoint, electronic instrumentation is fairly dependable, but from a servicing viewpoint, it either works or it doesn’t. There isn’t anything in the middle. Whether the entire panel is unresponsive or if only one gauge or display is malfunctioning, the problem remains the same. When it comes to “field service,” or fixing an instrument cluster if it becomes damaged, most car manufacturers have made no preparations. You will need to replace the complete instrument panel with a new unit or a used one from a salvage yard, or you will need to find a provider online that specializes in repairing electronic instrument panels.

However, some of them are now considered fundamental components of the circuit board (for example, the turn signal indicators) and cannot be changed if they fail.

If your cluster has an internal problem, the only feasible option for the vast majority of us is to replace it, or to send it to a professional who specializes in this sort of repair work.


Tearing off a dash to get to the instrument panel might be a simple process on certain vehicles, but it can be a huge undertaking on others. Prior to tearing into the panel, it is recommended that you research the step-by-step replacement method for the panel. In this approach, you will avoid any unpleasant surprises and will have a clear understanding of what is involved BEFORE you begin the disassembly process. Caution: Always unplug the battery BEFORE doing any electrical repair on your vehicle.

As an added bonus, it will deactivate the airbag circuit, ensuring that the airbag is not unintentionally activated.


Due to the fact that most jurisdictions have laws against tampering with an odometer, if your vehicle’s electronic instrument cluster contains an electronic odometer as well as a memory chip, the memory chip will need to be moved to the new instrument panel. What happens if you forget or lose the odometer chip that came with your vehicle? You are required to place a sticker on the door confirming that a new zeroed odometer was fitted and stating the date and distance of the installation. In addition, the car manufacturer may be able to provide you with a replacement odometer chip that has been programmed with your previous mileage (if possible).

  1. True and accurate odometer readings are required by the Federal Truth in Mileage Act (TIMA), and any known discrepancies must be disclosed by car dealers.
  2. Failure to report that an odometer has been changed or repaired (in any manner altered) and/or manipulating mileage paperwork will result in penalties and/or imprisonment if the law is not followed.
  3. Some electronic cluster repair firms may do this service for you, but they will demand a written statement from you stating the exact mileage on your car.
  4. On the other hand, you may purchase software online that allows you to hack into a digital odometer and reset the mileage readout on the vehicle.
  5. To learn more about a vehicle’s history, including its mileage, used car purchasers frequently turn to CARFAX or a comparable service.

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In North America, Ford Motor Company is conducting a safety compliance recall for approximately 203,500 Transit Connect and Escape cars from the model years 2014-2015 due to a problem with the instrument panel display cluster. When the vehicle is first started, it is possible that the instrument cluster, warning chimes, messages, and warning lights will not function properly, indicating a failure to comply with FMVSS 101 and other related FMVSS criteria. If these displays do not function as planned, the likelihood of a crash increases significantly.

Also recalled are some 2014-2015 Escape vehicles built at the Louisville Assembly Plant between May 19, 2014 and February 6, 2015. Ford dealers will provide a free software upgrade for the instrument panel cluster on the customer’s vehicle.

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In North America, Ford Motor Company is conducting a safety compliance recall for approximately 203,500 Transit Connect and Escape cars from the model years 2014-2015 due to a problem with the instrumentation panel cluster. When the vehicle is first started, it is possible that the instrument cluster, warning chimes, messages, and warning lights will not function properly, indicating a failure to comply with FMVSS 101 and other related FMVSS standards. This might increase the likelihood of a crash if the displays do not function as expected.

For the time being, Ford dealers will provide free software updates for the instrument panel cluster.

Gauge cluster and odometer dead

DavidL was mentioned by Zigman64 7 minutes ago. I’m confident that you are completely accurate. The fact that I am unable to determine the root cause of a problem is always upsetting to me. Question: According to my understanding, the diagnostic port receives information straight from the CPU, thereby eliminating the need for the gauge cluster. Is that what you’re saying? Yes, the diagnostic port is wired into the CAN bus network for communication. The diagnostic port provides access to all of the CAN-connected modules (usually the engine and transmission control units, as well as the antilock braking module in an RV).

  1. With an ohmeter, you can examine the diagnostic connection for damage.
  2. In order to view the wave patterns, you would ideally have an oscilloscope.
  3. However, in most cases, if the vehicle is running and driving, the CAN is operational.
  4. If this module is not operational, the engine will continue to run, but the gauges will not display values.
  5. Consequently, if this is the case, the loose wire would be located near the instrument panel.
  6. Look for corroded or abrasive wire.

Battery went completly dead, now instrument cluster is not working

02:04 p.m. on April 1, 2019 A member and thread starter who joined on April 1st, 2019 and lives in Nebraska. Number of posts: 30 The battery has completely died, and the instrument cluster is no longer functional. I had a dead battery in my 06 HHR, so we just started it with the positive lead under the hood connected to the negative lead on the strut tower bolt, and it has been running well ever since. However, I have lost all functionality of the speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge. The backlight illuminates the instrument cluster, while the brake light and anti-lock braking system light remain on.

  • I’ve also noticed that when the car spins, the traction control activates, but the light in the instrument cluster does not blink to indicate that it is engaged as it typically does.
  • What other options do I have?
  • I took it for a short drive, but it didn’t seem to make any difference either.
  • on April 1st, 2019 AdministratorJoined the company on October 13, 2011 and is based in Welland, Ontario.
  • Welcome to the site.
  • You could either trickle charge your battery or replace it, as it only has a life expectancy of 4 to 6 years.
  • 03:12 p.m.

Yes, there is a problem with the battery.

While you’re there, you may also take advantage of a free charging system inspection.

Starter for the MemberThread Join Nebraska Date: April 1, 2019Location: Nebraska Number of posts: 30 Well, I took the battery from my ’14 F150, which I know is in fine condition, and put it in the hhr, and the car acted exactly the same as it did before.

Unfortunately, it didn’t.

At night, I observed that the high beams don’t function when I use them, but that the low beams and fog light do work just fine.

In addition, the cruise control functions properly.

I examined all of the fuses in the car, both inside and underneath the hood, and they were all OK.

Also verified battery voltage, which was 12.6v when not in use and 14.8v while in use.

AdministratorJoin The date is October 13, 2011, and the location is Welland, Ontario, Canada.

04-01-2019 11:16 p.m.

That was the other individual who was dealing with difficulties that were extremely similar to mine?

Thursday, April 02, 05:28 a.m.

It now has an o2 sensor code, but it has had that code for a long, so if I clear it, the light will turn off until the same code appears again.

on April 2, 2019 Senior MemberJoined on September 7, 2008Location: Mebane, North Carolina AMMember has 1,01604 posts as of 02/02/2019 at 09:19.

I’d want to examine the circuits that are fed by the BCM to see if they line up with the issues I’m seeing.

04-02-2019, 09:27 a.m.

Donbrew, our Tech Mod, should have a one-page sheet or the entire thing he can email you if you need it. Fwiw. I would double-check the fuses in the fuse box on the interior (BCM). The HVAC/Ign fuse, as well as the Cluster fuse, appear to be the power supply for the gauges on the instrument panel.

Half of Dash Gauges are dead

Recently, I realized that the right-hand side of my dashboard was not functioning properly. (See illustration.) The Tachometer, Transmission Temperature, and Oil Temperature gauges are not working, and the Check Gage and CEL are continually illuminated on the dashboard. All of the instruments, including the speedometer, oil pressure gauge, and fuel gauge, are operational. The truck starts and operates OK, but the glowplug light remains illuminated for a longer period of time than usual. It is still receiving values for the tachometer, transmission temperature, and oil temperature when a ScanGaugeII is connected into the ODBII connection.

  1. So yet, nothing has happened.
  2. When I switched the key to the “off” position, all of the gauges cycled again.
  3. Everything else appears to be in working order.
  4. I considered the possibility that the PCM was on its way out, but it wouldn’t explain why it is sending signals to the ODBII port rather than the dash.
  5. -Erik

Instrument Cluster Gauges Dead

A few weeks ago, I discovered that the right-hand side of my dashboard was not functioning properly. Figure 1 is an example of what I mean.) The Tachometer, Transmission Temperature, and Oil Temperature gauges are not functioning, and the Check Gage and CEL are continually illuminated on the dashboard. There are no problems with the speedometer, oil pressure gauge, or fuel gauge. It starts and runs normally, but the glowplug light remains on for an extended period of time. It is still receiving values for the tachometer, transmission temperature, and oil temperature even if a ScanGaugeII is connected to the ODBII port.

Up to this point, nothing has been discovered.

When I switched the key to the “off” position, all of the gauges cycled again.

Other than that, everything is running smoothly.

That would not explain why signals are being sent to the ODBII port rather than the dash, which I suspected was due to a dead PCM. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to supply. -Erik

Dash gauges dead (intermittent)

For the past year, I’ve been experiencing intermittent difficulties. I have noticed that when I want to start my car (a Civic LX 2001 with 30k miles), the motor starts but the dashboard does not come to life on occasion. The needles on the fuel gauge, tachometer, and spedometer all remain still at the bottom of their respective gauges, and no brake, check engine, or other lights illuminate. Nothin’. I can still drive to work without any problems because everything in the car, including the radio, headlights, turn signals, and everything else, is completely normal.

I have not been able to establish a link between this and hitting a bump in the road, changing the temperature, using any other electrical equipment, or anything else.

Neither does it occur on a consistent basis – there have been instances when I have driven for 30 minutes without the lights ever going on.

It was to a Honda repair shop that I took the car, and they hooked their scanner into the computer but received no results (neither while phenomenon was occurring, nor after it had gone away).

Do any of you have any?

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