Silverado Instrument Cluster Aftermarket [All You Need to Know]
We have a lot of customers asking about aftermarket Silverado Instrument Clusters. While this seems like a good idea, there are a few things you need to know. The first thing is that aftermarket is not always OEM or original manufacture part. This means that while it may "fit" it will not always function correctly. You might save money or it might look cosmetically new, but it can mean that it doesn't work with your vehicle based on VIN like the original.
ISS Automotive provides OEM clusters that are rebuilt or renewed to original quality. We actually fix known problems which means our specs are often better than the original.
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Should I buy an aftermarket cluster?
No, we recommend that you purchase an OEM rebuild cluster because you can guarantee that the mileage will be correct and the cluster is calibrated in accordance with your truck's specifications. A new cluster will also carry the same warranty as your vehicle since it has not been tampered with.
For the Chevy Silverado, we recommend the following:
- Speedometer and Tachometer - Aftermarket clusters will not have a tachometer.
- Fuel, Temperature, and Volt Gauges - These are the most important gauges to have in working order.
- Odometer and Trip Meter - you will want to know your mileage for maintenance and resale value.
- Message center - this is where a lot of the Cluster information is displayed.
- Compass and outside temperature display - This is nice to have for long trips or if you live in an area with extreme temperatures.
There are many different types of aftermarket clusters available on the market, but we recommend that you purchase one from a reputable dealer. We also recommend that you have your cluster installed by a professional to ensure proper functionality.
Where can I find the best custom gauges?
We recommend you purchase custom gauges from the manufacturer of your truck's instrument cluster. The original manufacturers have access to all of their customer's calibration files and they can ensure that your cluster is calibrated to match your truck's instruments. Custom gauges can come in various sizes and colors and they may be more accurate than the original gauges because of modern technological advancements.
You can also find custom gauge manufacturers on the web by simply typing in "custom gauges" or "custom speedometers".
Possible Symptoms of a bad speedometer: Dead Cluster Dead gauge cluster No display Unit will not move No or inaccurate mph reading Possible symptoms for a dead instrument cluster: Incorrect mileage Incorrect RPM's Inaccurate fuel level Inaccurate temperature gauge Incorrect oil pressure gauge No or inaccurate speedometer Possible symptoms for a dead fuel pump: Fuel gauge does not work Excessive fuel odor Fogged headlights
Can I upgrade my instrument cluster?
We do not recommend upgrading an instrument cluster because they are calibrated to match your truck's specific parameters. Gm trucks equipped with an auto transmission will require different calibration than a manual tranny vehicle.
If you must upgrade, we recommend that you purchase custom gauges. Custom gauges can be calibrated to your vehicle's specifications.
It is also important to note that your truck may not pass smog inspection with an aftermarket cluster because it will be calibrated differently than the original.
Would I get better gas mileage if I replace my speedometer cable?
A new cable can improve your meter's accuracy by improving its operating range, but it will not improve the overall performance of your vehicle. If you want to improve gas mileage, we recommend that you get a new electronic speedometer from the original manufacturer of your truck's instrument cluster.
An aftermarket speedometer will not improve gas mileage because it is calibrated differently than the original.
Engine hours are an important metric to track for engines that are used in a variety of applications, such as those in construction equipment, generators, and boats. Yes, your new instrument cluster will have a different odometer reading because the mileage of your truck is recorded on the instrument cluster.
Does a used instrument cluster need to be programmed?
Yes, a used instrument cluster needs to be programmed before it can be installed. The odometer will need to be calibrated and the speedometer will need to be set. We can program your new instrument cluster before it ships.
What damage can an incorrectly installed instrument cluster cause?
An incorrectly installed instrument cluster may not display all of the instruments on the cluster. The instrument cluster may also damage other components in the dash such as HVAC controls and radios because they are mounted to the same circuit board. Stepper motors can also fail if they are not calibrated correctly. Vehicle instrument clusters can also display incorrect readings such as speed and RPM.
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Does a new instrument cluster have the same warranty as my vehicle?
Yes, a replacement instrument cluster is warranted by its manufacturer for the same duration as your vehicle's warranty. This is because it has not been altered or calibrated to match your truck's specifications. A used unit may or may not have a warranty depending on the condition of the unit.
How do I install my new instrument cluster?
Installation steps vary with each vehicle and can be found in a factory service manual. There is a special procedure that must be followed when installing an instrument cluster to prevent damage to components, modules, and wiring harnesses. We recommend that you have a professional install your instrument cluster, they will have the knowledge and tools to do it right the first time.
How fast can my new instrument cluster travel?
Speedometer needles will only travel as fast as their corresponding speed sensors which are located on or near the transmission. The speedometer needle cannot go faster than its compatible sensor and some vehicles do not have sensors on the transmission. Vehicle speed is also limited by the rear differential gear ratio and tire size.
Will my steering wheel controls work after I replace my cluster?
Most likely, yes. The new instrument cluster should not affect the operation of your steering wheel controls.
Is it illegal to change the instrument cluster?
Yes, it is illegal to change the instrument cluster because they are calibrated to match your truck's specific parameters. Custom gauges do not have the same calibration as the original manufacturer's calibrated cluster. Gauge face color may also appear slightly different.
Altered or modified clusters may cause your vehicle to fail emissions tests.
How much does it cost to program an instrument cluster?
Programming can cost $100-$300 depending on the year, make, and model of the vehicle. Trans temp gauge calibration will almost always work and is the least expensive at $75. Digital gauges are the most expensive. Custom look clusters also cost more because they usually require additional programming options. Upgrade cluster prices vary depending on the gauges being replaced.
Please note, if you have power locks, windows or mirrors there is also a charge for programming this option into your cluster.
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Does the cost of programming affect my warranty?
Yes, it can reduce your warranty by up to 1 year. Generally, 50% of the extra work done to the vehicle will be deducted from your warranty period. You will need to ask your service manager if they are willing to absorb the additional work into their standard pricing. Speedometer repairs will always work. Installations, extra labor, and the cost of the cluster may affect your warranty. Custom look gauges can possibly reduce your warranty.
Does the instrument cluster have to be programmed?
Yes, your instrument cluster will need to be programmed before the installation. The odometer reading will need to be calibrated and the speedometer needs to be set. The new cluster will come pre-programmed but you will need to verify that all the gauges and warning lights are working correctly. Direct replacement clusters may not need to be programmed if they came from the same vehicle. An old cluster may need to be programmed depending on the age of your vehicle.
Should I upgrade to a digital cluster?
No, it's better that you use an OEM cluster to ensure that you have a perfect match or you will possibly have issues. Digital gauges are wider and they will not fit into your dash correctly. Full line of gauges including Silverado speedometers, Silverado cruise control components, and Silverado brake pressure sensors. Trim levels include SE, SLE, SLT, WT, LS, and LT.
What are the benefits of aftermarket instrument clusters?
Aftermarket instrument clusters are easier to read and use. They look great in your vehicle and allow you to customize the gauges that come with your car or truck. If you want a different speedometer face color, or to add a tachometer, you can do so with an aftermarket cluster. You can also choose to upgrade the look of your instrument cluster without changing the entire thing.
Some aftermarket clusters come with built-in features that are not available on OEM clusters. These can include a shift light, oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge, and voltmeter.
What are the symptoms of a bad instrument cluster?
Bad instrument clusters can cause a variety of issues with your vehicle. The most common symptoms are dim or flickering gauges, dead pixels, and incorrect readings.
If your factory instrument cluster is failing, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. A failing cluster can cause your vehicle to fail emission tests, and it can also prevent you from being able to accurately read your gauges.