How To Replace An Instrument Cluster

Many people put off replacing their broken or malfunctioning instrument clusters. The biggest reason for that is because shops and dealers charge a lot of money for the job. If you're in this situation, you really want to replace your instrument cluster ASAP. A broken or malfunctioning instrument or gauge cluster is not giving you the vital information you need about your vehicle.

We're happy to tell you that you can replace your instrument cluster right at home. It's not as hard as it looks, and you'll save a lot of money in labor.

Where Is The Instrument Cluster Located?

Cluster dash

The instrument cluster is in the dashboard behind the steering wheel. You may need to take apart the dashboard to remove the instrument cluster. It's an easy process. If you have the time for the removal, a plug-and-play replacement is a quick fix. Just be sure to set aside all the parts and hardware while taking apart the dashboard. It also helps to write down the steps during the removal process. This will help you put everything back together with ease.

The Tools You'll Need To Get The Job Done


The set of tools you'll need depends on the type of vehicle you have. We'll include a basic list of tools that would be helpful to have on hand:

  • A replacement instrument cluster
  • A buddy to help if the instrument panel is too big to remove by yourself
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead)
  • Flashlight
  • Allen screwdrivers in different sizes
  • Torx wrenches in different sizes
  • A small white towel to contain all the screws and bolts
    • The whiteness will help you see and organize the screws and bolts better
  • Large towel to protect the panels from being scratched once removed
  • Plastic trim removal tools
  • Small plastic wedge to help remove the panel if needed
  • Adjustable magnet on a stick to help pick up dropped screws or bolts
  • Pen and paper
    • Be sure to keep meticulous records of where each part should go. For example, write down where each wire and connector should go. This helps ensure that the installation process goes smoothly.

How Do You Replace The Instrument Cluster?

Dash removal

There's a replacement process for each make and model. You'll need to find a model-specific tutorial for your vehicle. We put together basic steps to help you understand what needs to be done:

  1. Set the parking brake.
  2. If your gear shifter is on the steering column, move it down to the lowest setting possible. This will create enough room to take your panel out.
  3. Tilt the steering wheel as low as you can.
  4. Remove the dashboard panel in front of the instrument cluster.
    1. On some cars, you can use your hands to pull it out. On other cars, there are screws all around the panel. It can be complicated because some of these screws or bolts are "hidden". They can be inside the defroster or vents. Or they can be underneath the climate control or steering wheel.
  5. If necessary, disconnect the wires behind the panel.
  6. Now you can remove the instrument cluster. There may be screws holding it in place.
  7. Carefully pull out the instrument cluster. Don't yank it out because there are wires behind the instrument cluster.
  8. Disconnect the wires from the instrument cluster.
  9. To install the new instrument cluster or gauge cluster, reverse the steps.

Use your phone to take pictures of any steps that are complex. Do you have any questions about replacing your instrument cluster? Feel free to contact us!