Help...! My car gauges not working and what should I do now?

Updated Oct 20, 2021 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Here’s everything you need to know about car gauges -- including identifying and diagnosing the possible reasons why car gauges not working.

Many drivers take dashboard gauges for granted -- until they stop working, that is. Of course, car gauges are very helpful. Gauges can tell you a lot about the condition of your car. So when car gauges not working, you should definitely find out the reasons. 

Without your gauges, you wouldn’t be able to know the state of your vehicle in important areas. This could also tell you a few other important things that you should know about your car.

car gauges

Gauges can tell you a lot about the condition of your car

But what if one or a few more gauges stop working? What can you do about this? Should you leave it up to the experts or can you perform a DIY? Get all the answers you’re looking for right in this article from

Non-functioning gauges

Once one of the gauges in your car stops working, there can be one of two reasons for this. It could be either a bad sensor or a problem with the gauge itself. But it could also happen that all the gauges stop functioning at the same. This could be caused by defective instrument clusters or a blown fuse and require instrument cluster repair

But we want to be thorough, so we have listed down a few scenarios reasons for a better understanding. Check each out and see which applies to your situation.

>>> Check out: Buyer guide: Understanding 4 common car's meters and gauges

Scenario 1: Dashboard gauges not working at all

As stated above, a defective instrument cluster and a blown fuse are common reasons. These are only applicable if you’re sure that not a single gauge in your car works.

There could also be a problem with the part that feeds your car’s instrument cluster. This part is called the voltage regulator. If you think your gauges are giving low readings or are erratic, this could be the cause.

This could also be caused by possible wiring problems. You can safely assume this if the gauges are showing the highest possible readings. Another possible cause of this is a defective instrument voltage regulator.

There are tons of configurations and instrument cluster designs out there. If it happens that all your gauges stop working at the same time, the problem is only caused by two things. It’s either by a wiring problem or a fuse problem.

car gauges not working


An instrument panel not working and a blown fuse are common reasons why all of the car gauges are not working

>>> For your reference: 3 things you might not know about the fusible link and car fuses

The first step in diagnosing this issue is by identifying the fuse connected to the gauges or instrument cluster. When you turn your key on, there should be power on both sides of the fuse. You can use a multimeter or an inexpensive test light to check this.

You can also take your vehicle to an auto mechanic if you have no idea what to do. If your fuse is fine, the next thing you or your mechanic should do is check the individual gauges for power. This will usually require you to remove the instrument cluster. This may take a lot of time and energy from you.

instrument cluster design

A blown bulb is usually the reason why dashboard not working.

This is because you will need to remove a few trim pieces here and there. You will also need to unscrew the cluster to remove it. The difficulty level of this task is comparable to installing a new radio in your car. With that said, you can safely assume that if you can do that, this task will also be a manageable one for you.

Scenario 2: A single, independent gauge isn’t working

In cases like these, the gauge, sender or wiring could be the problem. This assumption is most applicable if your coolant, oil pressure or gas gauge isn’t working perfectly. This could also be the cause of the mentioned gauges working erratically.

If your speedometer isn’t working, it could mean that there’s a stripped gear. This could also be caused by a broken cable. Speedometers are actually a unique type of gauge. A lot of manufacturers utilize physical cables rather than sensors.

>>> Also check: How to fix not-working gas gauge in your car

single gauge not working


If a single gauge is not working, the gauge, the sender or wiring could be the problem

Scenario 3: One or more of the warning lights of the car dashboard not working

  • A blown bulb is usually the reason for scenarios like this to happen. This is usually the case if one or more of the warning lights fail to light up – even after you turn the key.
  • If none of your warning lights are working at all, this could signal other problems. You can go ahead and check the fuses. Make sure you check the ones that lead to the instrument cluster before checking elsewhere.
  • It could also happen that the warning lights turn on and stay on even after the engine is kept running. When that happens, this will usually mean that there’s a problem with that particular system

warning lights

A blown bulb is usually the reason why one or more dashboard light is not working

>>> FYI: 6 important car warning signs on the dashboard.

What if my dash lights and indicators don’t work as well?

If your dash lights, gauges, and indicators don’t work, this could be a potential grounding issue. Before assuming this, make sure that you’ve exhausted efforts and checked the aforementioned carefully.

dash lights

If your dash lights, gauges, and indicators don’t work, this could be a potential grounding issue

If a single instrument cluster isn’t grounded properly, you will notice that your dash lights and gauges will fail to work at certain times. You can easily check the grounding by looking under the dash and using a flashlight. However, you will most likely be obliged to remove your vehicle’s instrument cluster in most cases.

That is all information you need regarding car gauges not working. We hope that you find our article helpful. 

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Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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