Instrument clusters sound like an important aspect of a vehicle, and it’s for good reason. Knowing your speed limit and your fuel level are both key aspects of a safe trip.
Without these factors, risks can be increased considerably. Why let that be the case when an instrument cluster repair is likely all that’s needed anyway?
The need for a total instrument cluster replacement is far less common than many drivers think. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge as to what entails a repair or a replacement, you can know the signs to look for under these circumstances.
What Is an Instrument Cluster?
Speed, fuel levels, RPMs, and the like are all factors you may need to know about while driving. Your vehicle’s instrument cluster is where all of these details are housed for you, making them easy to view.
Oddly enough, your vehicle will likely be able to operate with a faulty instrument cluster, but this is not recommended and can be very unsafe. Read on to learn about common issues instrument clusters may have and instrument cluster repairs versus replacements.
What Can Cause an Instrument Cluster to Malfunction?
There are several issues that could cause your vehicle’s instrument cluster to malfunction. These can be any of the following:
- Blown fuses
- Loose connectors
- Wiring problems
- Grounding issues
- Bad sensors
- Overload circuit
- Stripped gear
- Faulty computer
- Defective instrument cluster
These malfunctions can be frustrating, but the only one that actually warrants a complete instrument cluster replacement is a defective instrument cluster. Blown fuses, bad sensors, and the other common causes are thankfully fixable with the help of an instrument cluster repair.
How Often Should I Replace My Instrument Cluster?
Instrument clusters were designed to last and they can generally last for the lifespan of your vehicle. That said, many drivers will start to notice certain signs of wear and tear after ten or so years on the road.
When you start to notice signs such as dimming, flickering, inaccurate, or stuck gauges, it’s time to investigate. When you catch any potential issues early, you’re likely going to be able to deal with an instrument cluster repair instead of a total replacement.
Can You Drive With a Bad Instrument Cluster?
A faulty instrument cluster may not prevent you from starting and operating your vehicle as what may seem like normal. However, without a properly functioning instrument cluster, you won’t be able to know your fuel levels.
You also won’t have the ability to detect the speed of your vehicle or any potential issues with your vehicle. The acts of speeding and running out of gas can both be dangerous as well as hazardous to not only yourself but also to others on the road.
How Much Does an Instrument Cluster Repair Cost?
There is far too much variation that must be factored in for each instrument cluster repair that it is impossible to give an exact cost. Factors that will influence the cost of your instrument cluster repair are as follows:
- Type of instrument cluster
- Type of sensors
- Vehicle year, make, and model
- Issues with instrument cluster
- Parts needed
- Labor required
While we can’t give an estimate for an instrument cluster repair, drivers generally see considerable savings on repairs over replacements. Repairing is usually much faster as well, leaving you out of commission for less time.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace an Instrument Cluster?
The average cost for an instrument cluster replacement is around $800. This cost can also vary greatly depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Instrument Cluster Repair & Replacement Cost Factors
When repair or replacement of your instrument cluster is looming, know which factors you should be considering for cost. Not all repairs may be worth it, but not all issues warrant replacement either.
Type of Cluster
The type of instrument cluster your vehicle has matters greatly. Many older vehicles may have more analog dials, etc while newer vehicles will be more digitized.
The ways by which these clusters connect can vary as well, and these are all factors that come into the calculation of the costs of repairs. Generally speaking, digital clusters will cost more to repair as they often require more controls that need to be repaired as well.
Types of Sensors
The type of sensors your vehicle has will impact the repair costs as well. Newer vehicles that have more electrical components are typically more costly to repair than older vehicles with more mechanical parts and sensors.
Vehicle Age, Make, and Model
Your car’s age, make, and model will likely affect repair costs greatly. While the advance in technology has arguably been incredible for vehicles and transportation, newer cars typically have far more electrical and digital components that cost more to repair. Older model vehicles generally have more analog components and these are usually cheaper to repair.
Even if you catch a faulty instrument cluster early on, there’s a good chance that there are other repairs needing tending to. It’s not uncommon to need fuel or speed sensors replaced as well. Having a trustworthy mechanic is crucial to ensuring you are getting your vehicle the repairs it truly requires.
Advantages of Instrument Cluster Repair vs Replacement
While there will be times where a replacement is simply unavoidable, there are many times that repairs will get you through without question. Some advantages of repairing over replacing are as follows:
- No programming required
- Repair is generally quicker
- Savings can be 50% or more when you repair over replace
- Keeping the same instrument cluster for your vehicle
- New clusters are typically different in appearance
Don’t Be Intimidated, Repairs and Replacements Can Help!
Repairing instead of replacing can help give new life to varying parts of your vehicle, not to mention help you save. From retreading tires and rebuilding engines to repairing your vehicle’s instrument cluster, you can rebuild almost every aspect of your vehicle without having to deal with replacements.
And we get it! The need for repairs and replacements can be intimidating, but it can also mean safety and longevity. Let an instrument cluster repair be a fresh start for your vehicle and make sure it’s done right by trusting a reputable mechanic to work on your vehicle.