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HomeWhatWhat Would Cause My Gauges to Stop Working: How Do I Fix It?

What Would Cause My Gauges to Stop Working: How Do I Fix It?

If you have been asking yourself, ‘what would cause my gauges to stop working?’ you have come to the right place. 

A gauge cluster encompasses several gauges fixed in the instrument panel of vehicles to monitor oil press, voltage, fuel level, and temperature. Some examples include a truck tachometer and speedometer gauge.

Undeniably, having a malfunctioning gauge may be the last thing you wish to deal with anytime. 

From faulty lights and blown fuses to loose connections and wiring, there are a variety of factors that contribute to dysfunctional gauges. Ideally, knowing the root cause will save you time and the heartache of trying to replace a whole system. 

Table of Contents

What would cause my gauges to stop working

The five main reasons your gauges will stop operating include the following:

Wear And Tear

Gauge clusters are also prone to wearing and tearing after long-term use.

The gauges may deteriorate over time despite manufacturers building them to function during a vehicle’s lifetime. For instance:

  • Malfunctioning LED or LCD screens may display faded letters or numbers.
  • A Burned-out speedometer may have dark spots or backlighting.
  • You might encounter stuck cluster gauge needles.
  • Presence of disconnected or corroded wires.
  • Burned-out instrument cluster indicator lights. 

Excessive Vibration

Secondly, if you often drive on rough roads or take your motor off-roading, the machine may experience excessive vibration.

Consequently, the vibrations might distort the gauge cluster by loosening the circuit board(s) connections. 

Off-roading

(Off-roading)

Mechanical Speedometer Failure

Gauges like tachometers, odometers, and speedometers usually employ small gears.

Unfortunately, the small gears decline with time, then cause the gauge to fail mechanically. 

car tachometers

(car tachometers)

Voltage Spikes

An alternator with a frail output or input voltage wire normally generates voltage spikes.

The spike occurs because a regulator often turns the alternator to a full charge if the output or input wires have poor connections.

As a result, the voltage rises, and sometimes the alternator windings can saturate. 

If you restore the connection, the energy undergoes an electromagnetic collapse creating a voltage spike. Subsequently, the spike damages the electric components of your vehicle, including the gauge cluster. 

car alternator

(car alternator)

Blown Fuse

Sometimes, you may have a normal gauge but with a blown a fuse.

The only thing you’ll need to do is get a new fuse. 

Blown fuse

(Blown fuse)

What If Only One Speedometer Gauge Is Bad?

There are several reasons why you may have a single malfunctioning gauge, common ones being;

  • Loose connection
  • Worn-out gauge mostly in an older car
  • Circuit short in the wire
  • A bad fuse connecting to that specific gauge

Since the other gauges are fine, you’ll only replace the bad one. Luckily, it is easy and affordable. 

How To Pinpoint the Problem with Your Gauge Cluster

Satisfied with the reasons why your gauge may have stopped working? If not, the steps below will guide you on how to check the exact problem affecting your cluster. 

Check The Fuse

First and foremost, start with the fuse. 

Stepwise instructions

  • Locate the fuse box. Depending on your vehicle type, you’ll find it in the kick panel in front of your left knee or the engine compartment. 
  • Modern vehicles have a single for the entire gauge cluster. But, if your model is old, examine all the fuses.
  • Check for any damages, such as broken metal wires or soot. 

Usually, you will find a normal cluster and a blown fuse. Replace the fuse as needed.

However, a second blow from the new fuse will force you to inspect the wiring linking to the cluster. At times, the cluster may also pose a problem. 

Check The Wires and Connections

Next, the connections and wires may be the culprits. 

  • Use a flashlight to check all wires connecting to the cluster. Then, ensure they have no damages like breakage, frays, etc. 
  • Check all connections for damages or any looseness. 
Torn-apart wires

(Torn-apart wires)

Check The Instrument Gauge Cluster

If the connections, wiring, and fuse are okay, the gauge cluster may now be the problem. Check for the;

  • Monitors and bulbs
  • The ground wire for looseness or other damages 
  • Power at the gauge cluster 
  • Film of the instrument cluster (it could be corrupted or peeling off)

Generally, it is easier to replace the gauge cluster if you experience unknown problems to save time.

Either way, checking the other parts will eliminate doubts about whether they are at par. 

Other things to check 

  • Circuit board – It may have some damage and will therefore need replacement.
  • Modules – If one module in a wiring harness with many modules malfunctions, the rest of the gauge will halt its operation.
  • Engine temperature – The gauge can malfunction if your temperature sensor is faulty and stuck on either cold or hot. 
  • Connections for the vehicle’s odometer – could have gone through corrosion.
  • Speedometer cable – If the cable has corroded parts or seizing, there will be difficulties in connecting it to the gauge cluster. 
  • Terminals – These denote where the stepper motor wire connects to during manufacture. When corrupted, they’ll work inefficiently. 
  • Stepper motor – An overheated stepper motor usually stops functioning and affects how a gauge works equally. 
Stepper motor

(Stepper motor)

Repairing Or Replacing Your Gauge Cluster

If you have issues with your gauge cluster, you can either repair or replace the cluster. The whole process might be tedious.

However, if unsure of what to do, professional work by a mechanic may come in handy. 

Conclusion

This post may be just the sign you need to repair or replace your malfunctioning gauge.

We have outlined criteria to know the source of the problem and how you can examine the faultiness.

For further clarifications or questions, you can contact us via our website. It will be our greatest pleasure to assist you.  

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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