5 Tips For A Successful Instrument Cluster Swap


Swapping instrument clusters can sound pretty intimidating. It's actually a straightforward process (which is outlined here). All you need to do is:

  1. Remove the instrument cluster from your dash.
  2. Either have your instrument cluster repaired or buy a new one.
  3. Install the repaired or new instrument cluster in your dash.

Removing and installing an instrument cluster can get a little hairy, though. That's why we're offering 5 tips to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible:

1. Use Plastic Pry Tools

removal tools

When removing an instrument cluster, you may need to pry it out. This is where the project could go wrong. If you use a flathead screwdriver or something with sharp edges, you could scratch up the dash and/or instrument cluster.

There's a safe way to pry out an instrument cluster. All you need to do is use plastic pry tools. A good set of plastic pry tools (like the one we sell) doesn't have any sharp edges that will scratch up the dash or instrument cluster.

2. Declutter The Dash And Front Seat Area Before Starting

You know what they say: a clean space leads to a clear mind. When you're doing an instrument cluster swap, your mind needs to be clear. You'll be dealing with a lot of screws, bolts, and other small parts.

A decluttered area will help you stay organized. You're going to need a place to put all the screws, bolts, and other small parts. When there's clutter in the dash and front seat area, it'll be easy to lose these parts. Designate a safe and secure area (like a cup holder) to store all the screws, bolts, and other small parts. You can line the area with a white towel to make these parts more visible.

Bonus tip: have an adjustable magnetic stick on hand to make it easy to pick up any dropped screws or bolts!

3. Don’t Rush Through The Process

Take it slow. Be sure to set aside enough time to get the project done without needing to rush anything. If you rush through the process, you'll likely end up with damaged or broken parts. For example, clips. Sometimes clips can get stiff. Yet, they commonly break because there's too much force used to remove them. It's also common to pull at the clip the wrong way or miss a screw.

You want to make sure you know what you're doing throughout the entire process.

4. Use The Opportunity To Customize Your Instrument Cluster

LED cluster lights

It’s a drag when your instrument cluster fails. Yet, there’s a silver lining: this is a great opportunity to get the instrument cluster you’ve always wanted!

If you've ever wanted to add a gauge to your cluster that wasn't installed at the factory (like an oil pressure gauge), now is a good time to do that. At ISS, we have options for add-ons and upgrades to factory clusters. We can program all these add-ons and upgrades to your specific vehicle.

You can also customize the LED lights in your instrument cluster. We offer two custom LED colors for instrument clusters:

  • Blue, which looks cool
  • Red, which is great for preserving night vision

If you have us repair your instrument cluster, you can have us put in custom LED lights. If you order a new instrument cluster from us, you can choose custom LED lights as an add-on.

5. Keep Meticulous Records Throughout The Process

Replacing an instrument cluster is a straightforward process. Yet, there are many different wires and connectors you're dealing with. If you're new to this process, keeping meticulous records will help a ton for when you're ready to install the new or repaired instrument cluster.

It's a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy during the removal process. You can write down where each wire and connector should go. It'll help a great deal if you take pictures throughout the process, as well.