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Having An Instrument Cluster Fluster? Why Your Car Gauges Aren'T Working

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Are the gauges on your dashboard flickering or not working correctly? All of these gauges are part of your vehicle's instrument cluster. Besides the speedometer, your instrument cluster includes the odometer, fuel indicator, and temperature gauge.

Ideally, these components are working in harmony to help the engine control unit (ECU) maintain optimal engine performance. However, if you're having issues, there could be many problems. Read on to learn more about the instrument cluster and its possible issues.

It's a Little Complicated

The cluster includes a large circuit board that incorporates both analog and digital functions. Your car's circuit board is full of LEDs, microcontrollers, and dials which are all driven through wires and plastic connectors. Because these systems use diverse elements, they're bound to have a few problems occasionally.

In fact, some problems were unintentionally made by producers. Some older hybrid cars used digital dashes which were incredibly difficult to read during daytime hours. These instrument clusters were also more expensive to repair. Thankfully, many modern instrument clusters incorporate LCD equipment, which are much more user friendly.

So, What's the Problem?

To make sure that this isn't just a fluke, run a self-check on the instrument cluster. While each car model is different, you can activate this function by just holding the trip-reset button (near your speedometer) and then turning the ignition on. Your owner's manual can also tell you how to perform this self check. If there is a problem, you may see

  • Burned-out backlighting or indicator lights: This can indicate a circuit shortage or corrosion inside the panel.
  • Faulty or Dark LCD screen: This can be caused by a blown fuse or a defective sensor.
  • Unreliable readings, dim lights, or flickering lights: these usually indicate a problem with the voltage regulator, the part of your vehicle that regulates power output from the alternator.

Unfortunately, the instrument cluster isn't ideal for too many DIY repairs. Unless you have some experience with automotive work and know how to consult the owner manual, it's best to leave all this work to an auto repair service.

The only fix you may want to attempt is cleaning the panel for corrosion. You'll need to unbolt and unscrew the panel. Take pictures beforehand so you know where to return everything. Use a bag to keep track of loose bolts and screws. Use a solvent to clear away corrosion, and check for wire breakage while you're at it.

If you're not up for any DIY work, that's okay. If you can diagnose the basic issue, you'll be able to let your mechanic know so that the repair process can be streamlined. Contact a Chevrolet Instrument Cluster Repair Services for help.