Most modern vehicles are equipped with an instrument cluster to keep the driver well-informed about important vehicle information. The instrument cluster was introduced in the 1980s and was employed by some luxury BMW vehicles. However, with time, the instrument cluster became standard in most vehicles.
Usually, BMW’s instrument cluster is located on the dashboard, directly in front of the driver behind the steering wheel. It relays information about the vehicle to the driver through the signals from the gauges and warning lights.
If any of the components in the instrument cluster becomes faulty, it may affect the functioning of the system and the dissemination of adequate information to the driver. Therefore, being ahead of the problem by knowing what signs to look out for will go a long way to help you prevent the breakdown of the system. You may notice the following signs when your instrument cluster begins to fail:
Flickering indicator lights and gauges
Flickering indicator lights are the first visible signs you will notice when the instrument cluster starts failing. The voltage regulator is a major component in the instrument cluster that controls the gauges and lights. If the voltage regulator becomes faulty, the indicator lights will start flickering, and the gauges will dim out. The sign is noticeable by merely looking at the instrument cluster on the dashboard.
Erratic gauge readings
Erratic gauge readings can be caused by several factors. A failing speedometer sensor can cause the speedometer to read erratically. A defective thermostat or a failing radiator fan can cause the temperature gauge to act erratically.
It is not advisable to drive your vehicle with one or more erratic gauge readings. Apart from being confusing, you don’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere because your fuel gauge gave an erroneous reading. Hence, if you notice sudden changes in the readings, you should consult your BMW specialist to rectify the issue.
Complete failure of the instrument cluster
The instrument cluster is meant to test out immediately when you start your vehicle. If the lights do not cycle through and then shut off after a few seconds, then the dashboard may be faulty and should be examined by a BMW technician. This is why we advise most drivers to take warning signs very seriously before they develop into something more severe.
Common Causes of Instrument Cluster Failure
There are several reasons why the instrument cluster of your BMW will fail. Some of the reasons are listed below:
- Faulty sensors: Faulty sensors can result in erroneous readings or no reading. When the sensors become faulty, you may notice glitches in the cruise control, the check engine light may come on without any issue. The most common gauge that experiences fault is the speedometer sensor.
- Damaged fuses: When the fuses in the instrument cluster become damaged, it is called being “blown.” Blown fuses are one of the major causes of failing instrument clusters. When the fuses get blown, the gauges will stop working or display erratic readings.
- Worn out LED lights: Various components of your car are prone to wear and tear, and the LED lights are no exception. The LED lights will wear out through constant use of your BMW and might start dimming out or stop working. Repairing faulty LED lights requires replacement and is relatively inexpensive. You should ensure you entrust the repair to a BMW expert to prevent damage to other parts of the instrument cluster.
- Damaged ribbon cables: The ribbon cables in the instrument cable connect the circuit board to the LCD lights to provide power. The instrument cluster will fail if the ribbon cable is broken.
Trust the Experts at Ultimate Bimmer Service to Handle Your BMW Repairs
Driving in a car with a damaged instrument cluster is risky in its entirety. Hence, whenever your BMW experiences any problem, report to the nearest trustworthy auto repair shop. Ultimate Bimmer Service serves the cities and communities in and around Carrolton and Dallas TX with the highest-quality repairs and workmanship in the area.
At Ultimate Bimmer Service, we are dedicated to providing the best auto services to BMW drivers. Our experts are ASE-certified with decades of experience in BMW models. Our shop is equipped with the latest factory-grade tools and equipment to ensure that your vehicle receives the very best service. Please call or visit our shop to schedule your next service appointment.
* BMW M3 image credit goes to: DarthArt.