Instrument Cluster Buyer's Guide
Every vehicle has an instrument cluster. Whether you want to learn more about instrument clusters or you’re trying to fix a broken one, you’re in the right place. This buyer’s guide covers everything you need to know about instrument clusters.
What Is An Instrument Cluster And Why Is It Important?
When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll see a set of gauges and warning lights in front of you. That’s the instrument cluster, sometimes called a gauge cluster, and it’s located in the dashboard, right behind the steering wheel. It’s an important tool for the driver because it helps the driver keep tabs on the status of the vehicle.
Some of the most common gauges and indicators you’d find on an instrument cluster include:
- Fuel gauge
- Oil pressure gauge
- Turn signal indicators
This post provides an in-depth description of instrument clusters. It also explains why they’re important.
How To Tell If An Instrument Cluster Is Failing
Instrument clusters should last the lifetime of the vehicle. Sometimes they’ll fail, though. The two most common reasons for instrument cluster failure are:
- Wear and tear
- Blown fuse
Sometimes only one gauge is bad. Other times, the whole unit is bad. When you’re driving with a broken instrument cluster, you’re not getting the information you need about the vehicle. That’s why you want to confirm the issue and get it fixed ASAP.
This diagnostic guide will walk you through the process of checking your instrument cluster. To sum it up, you need to check the:
- Wiring and connections
- Instrument cluster’s power
- Ground wire
- Bulbs and monitors
When in doubt, replace the gauge cluster. It's very important to drive with a functioning instrument cluster.
How To Replace An Instrument Cluster
Before bringing your vehicle to a shop, think about replacing the instrument cluster yourself. It’s something you may be able to do at home with the right set of tools. This post provides an overview of the process.
5 Tips For A Successful Instrument Cluster Swap
Is it your first time removing and installing an instrument cluster? The job is more likely to go smoothly if you follow the instrument cluster swap tips listed here. Each tip is explained in more detail in the post we just linked. Here's a quick list of the tips:
- Use plastic pry tools
- Declutter the dash and front seat area before starting the swap
- Don’t rush through the process
- Use the opportunity to customize your instrument cluster
- Keep meticulous records throughout the process
Odometer Replacement Laws
If you're worried about breaking any laws while replacing your odometer, don't be. Here's an overview of the odometer replacement laws in the US. It's legal to replace an instrument cluster at home as long as the mileage is correct. Here's a guide on ensuring that the mileage remains correct.
Why You Should Never Ever Ever Turn An Odometer Backwards
You may have been able to get away with rolling back an odometer 40+ years ago. These days, it's impossible to roll back your odometer without getting in trouble. It's against the law to do it with the intention of deceiving others. These days, it's easy for others to find out if you've committed odometer fraud. Read this post for more information about the risks associated with turning back your odometer.
The Pros And Cons Of Customizing Your Instrument Cluster
Did you know that you can customize your instrument cluster? It's a neat way to personalize your vehicle's interior. This post explores the pros and cons of customizing your instrument cluster. To sum it up:
- A custom gauge cluster can liven up your vehicle’s interior
- A quality custom gauge cluster can be a good return on investment
- Custom gauge clusters can be hard to retrofit to a newer vehicle
- Custom gauge clusters can be very expensive
You don’t have to worry much about the cons if you shop with ISS Automotive. It’s because:
- ISS Automotive builds high quality instrument clusters. This means an ISS Automotive instrument cluster will be a good return on investment.
- All ISS Automotive custom instrument clusters are made to fit certain vehicles. None of our instrument clusters are universal-fitting.
- ISS Automotive instrument clusters are affordable.
Getting LED Lights For Your Instrument Cluster
A popular way to customize your instrument cluster is to add LED lights to it. You can read about this upgrade here. It's a small upgrade that delivers a lot of value.
Upgrading to LED lights can be a little tricky, though. You may have trouble finding the right LED bulbs for your instrument cluster and/or taking apart the cluster. If you're uncomfortable tackling this project yourself, we'll be happy to do it for you!
Anatomy Of An Instrument Cluster
The instrument cluster seems like a simple and straightforward part. It's actually quite complicated with many different components that work together. If you're curious about the anatomy of an instrument cluster, you can read all about it here. The main components of an instrument cluster are as follows:
- Gauge faces
- Stepper motors
- LED screens or dot-matrix displays
- Discrete indicators
- Printed circuit board
- Wiring harness
Is There An ISS Automotive Instrument Cluster For My Vehicle?
At ISS Automotive, we repair and refurbish instrument clusters for GM vehicles. We also work on non-GM instrument clusters. Our inventory changes from time to time, but we have many instrument clusters that always remain in our inventory. Do you want to get an ISS Automotive instrument cluster for your vehicle? Find the right instrument cluster for your make, model, and year in this fitment chart:
|Chevrolet||Blazer S10/Jimmy S15/Sonoma|
|Chevrolet||Chevy & GMC HD Trucks|
|Chevrolet||Monte Carlo & SS|
|GMC||C7500 + C8500|
|GMC||Express Savana 1500 2500 & 3500|
|GMC||Jimmy & Sonoma|
|GMC||Sierra 1500 2500|
Are you looking for a replacement instrument cluster? We have an extensive inventory of replacement instrument clusters to choose from.
If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this buyer’s guide, please contact us. We’ll be happy to answer them!