Instrument Cluster Lights Too Dim On Your Ford F-150? Here's What You Can Do About It.
When the lights in your instrument cluster become too dim it can be annoying and unsafe. If the cluster is too dim, you may not be able to keep an eye on important information like speed, RPMs, and engine temperature. In the Ford F150 a dim dashboard is not an uncommon issue.
Turn Up Your Dimmer Switch
It could be that the dimmer switch had been turned down. In most every F150 built after 2000 you can find the dimmer switch on the dash just to the right of the steering wheel. While your cluster lights are on, spin the toggle a bit to see if the lights had just been turned down.
If you see the lighting fluctuating brightness when you are not toggling the dimmer, you may have an issue with the dimmer. You can check the dimmer switch by attaching an ohmmeter and looking at the resistance while you toggle the dimmer. If the dimmer switch isn’t working properly, it needs to be replaced.
Check Your Alternator
If your F150 is older, your alternator regulator may be going bad. If the regulator has gone bad the alternator may not produce the right voltage for every element of your truck. Dim dashboard lights are a very common issue with a failing alternator regulator. When reading the voltage to your dashboard with an voltmeter, it should read at least 13.5 volts to ensure the lighting will work correctly.
What should you do if your alternator is failing? First you should check all the connections to make sure you don’t have any loose connections, or damaged wiring. If all connections look secure check the alternator voltage. You'll need to find the correct voltage output for your year of truck. But in most cases, the alternator should produce 13.5 volts or more, depending on the level of charge in the battery. If your alternator isn't producing that voltage, it should be replaced. Low voltage output is a symptom of an alternator that is going to completely fail.
Make Sure Your Truck Is Not Maxing Out The Electrical Load
When your engine is running, and spinning the alternator it can only produce so much power. If another electrical component is eating up this power, your lights may be dimmer. This is a common issue to pop-up after installing an aftermarket electrical part. Some of these include aftermarket headlights, amplifiers, or custom lighting. Use an ammeter to check how much current is being used by various components when they are switched on. Compare that draw to the rated output of your alternator.
Have The Cluster Repaired Or Replaced
Like anything, age can be the cause of a failing part. Maybe the bulbs have burned out. Either way you have two main options:
- Repairing the Instrument Cluster
- Replacing the Instrument Cluster
Most shops won’t repair instrument clusters, leaving you with an expensive installation of a brand new cluster as your only choice. Thankfully ISS Automotive is here to help. We repair and offer OEM quality refurbished instrument clusters for your Ford F150. You can find an article with more information about cluster repairs here. You can either:
- Mail the instrument cluster to us and we’ll diagnose and repair the issues
- Order a replacement cluster from us
Our team is well versed in repairing Ford instrument clusters. If you’re leaning more towards a replacement cluster, you can find that here. We offer repair services for many models of Ford F150. While you’re looking for a replacement, why not upgrade your cluster with LED lighting? You can learn more about the LED clusters in this article.
If you have a new or older Ford F150 with dashboard issues, we encourage you to reach out to our team about replacing or repairing the instrument cluster for your Ford.