My Gauges Only Work After I've Been Driving For A While. Is It A Short?

It can be pretty frustrating when you start up the car and the gauge cluster doesn't "fire up" right away. This is a clear indicator that something is wrong. We'll help you figure out what's preventing the gauge cluster from starting up as soon as the vehicle does.

The Wiring Harness Connector May Be The Issue

Wiring harness

A common cause of this problem is a bad wiring harness connector. When a wiring harness connector corrodes or gets loose over time, it can cause electrical issues in the gauge cluster.

Diagnosing this issue is pretty easy. All you need to do is inspect the connector plugs. If you find any corrosion, see if you can remove it. If not, you would need to replace the wiring harness. You can also try bending the connector pins to get a better connection.

If the wiring harness connector looks good, the problem lies elsewhere. We'll help you pinpoint it.

Does The Entire Gauge Cluster Take A While To Start Up?

remove cluster

Do all the gauges and warning lights in your cluster take a while to start up? If so, the issue is connected to the entire gauge cluster. The issue may be the cluster itself, or it may be something connected to it. Here's what you need to check:

  • The fuse(s) for the gauge cluster
    • With the ignition in the "on" position, check for power on both sides of the fuse
  • Power at the instrument cluster
  • Ground connection

If everything looks good, the instrument cluster may be bad. In this case, you have two options:

  1. Remove your instrument cluster and then send it to us. We'll take it apart and figure out what's wrong with it. We can also repair it, if that's what you want.
  2. Replace your instrument cluster. We offer quality remanufactured OEM gauge clusters for a variety of GM models (and other makes and models).

Does Only One Part Of The Gauge Cluster Take A While To Start Up?

Fix cluster

Do you have only one (or a few) malfunctioning parts of your gauge cluster? For example, does only one gauge or light take a while to start up? If your gauge cluster is partially malfunctioning, the problem may be either a bad sensor or a bad gauge.

The first thing you want to do is to find the sensor that connects to the malfunctioning part of your gauge cluster. Next, check the wiring and connectors between the sensor and the ECU or instrument cluster. Sometimes the problem may be a loose or bad connection. If the wiring and connectors look good, check the sensor. The way to do this depends on the sensor and the way it's set up. In some cases, you need to disconnect the sensor and check its power. In other cases, you need to check the ground connection. If you're not sure what to do, find a diagnostic procedure for that specific sensor.

If the sensor is good, then the problem is likely the light or the gauge. In that case, you would need to get your gauge cluster repaired or replaced.

Is The Speedometer The Only Issue?

Broken speedometer

If your speedometer takes a while to start up, you need to figure out what's wrong with it. You can refer to our diagnostic guide for malfunctioning speedometers. In a nutshell, the most common causes of speedometer failure include:

The guide will walk you through the process of checking each area.

If you still can't figure out why your gauge cluster is taking a few minutes to start up, maybe we can help. You can send your gauge cluster to us, and we'll try to find the problem with it. We've been repairing instrument clusters for 70 years, and we have a great deal of expertise.