The gauges on your Chevy's dash offer important info about the current state of your vehicle. From temperature, to speed, to oil pressure, the gauge cluster holds vital data that the driver needs to know. Unfortunately, gauge failure is common - from Camaro's to pickups to Chevy TrailBlazer, gauges can and do fail.
Here are some tips to help you pinpoint a problem if your gauges have stopped working.
NOTE: TSB Notice
If your vehicle is a 2003-2004 model year Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, or Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, or Tahoe; or GMC Sierra, Yukon, or Yukon XL, there's a known problem with your vehicle's instrument panel. This problem can cause gauges to stick, flutter, or become inoperative, causing inaccurate readings. GM has issued a TSB that outlines the cause of this problem, but the long and short of it is that you'll need to visit your GM dealer.
Finally, even though there's a TSB on this problem, there is no warranty coverage for it.
Scenario 1: All Gauges Are Dead
The first step is to check the fuses for the gauge panel to make sure a simple blown fuse isn’t the problem. Then, check the lights for the gauges to ensure they are still operational. Sometimes, a bad ground will kill the power to the instrument cluster, so check all grounding points.
If you have checked these areas and nothing has come up, your gauge cluster will likely need to be replaced or rebuilt.
Scenario 2: Only Some of the Gauges Are Not Working
Most commonly, only one gauge will go out, and this is probably going to happen at least once over the life of your vehicle. Here’s the easiest process for identifying the problem:
* Start by checking the wire that goes to the gauge. Any abrasions or breaks? If not, follow the wire back to the sending unit and unplug it. Turn the ignition key to the run position, then ground the lead on the gauge wire and see if the gauge reacts. If the gauge moves, the issue is probably related to the sending unit or sensor. If the gauge doesn't move, double-check the fuse for the panel or the gauge itself.
* Next, check the voltage between the gauge and the ground. If there is no voltage, there is damage to the circuit between the ignition and the gauge (or panel and gauge).
* If these troubleshooting techniques haven’t revealed the problem, the issue is likely in the gauge head itself.
Keeping a close eye on your gauges can help you avoid problems in the future. Many times, inaccurate readings are indicators of a gauge failure in the future and may be avoided if observed and fixed early enough.