Silverado Instrument Cluster
Silverado Instrument Cluster
This page is my attempt to cover some of the common issues and concerns with 03-06 Chevy Silverado instrument clusters. On this page and in the links below I'll cover recalls, stuck gauges, common problems and calibration.
Background on the Whacky Instrument Cluster Problems
Between the model years of 2003 and 2006 GM produced thousands upon thousands of Silverados with instrument clusters that had faulty parts inside. Little did they know years later some unlucky GM owners would be stuck with malfunctioning instrument cluster gauges. Flash forward a few years and the problem has gotten pretty huge but GM has taken a pretty hard line on the subject. Although there was a factory recall of sorts it was fairly limited in the coverage, see the links below for more on that. They typical cost of repair if you aren't covered under the recall is usually $400-$600 at the local dealership, local independent mechanics aren't any better. This leaves the disgruntled Chevy truck owner with just a couple options: Replace the cluster with a used one from a junk yard truck or repair their original one. Let's take a look at both options for a few minutes.
Used Instrument Cluster Pros and Cons
First off you can save some money by using a used cluster, no doubt about that. Used instrument clusters for Silverados can often be had for anywhere between $50-$150. But, you may agree that some of the downsides are worth taking a look at.
First problem is you're replacing a part with a known problem with another part with the same known problem - faulty parts inside the unit. When you do that you're taking one step forward and two steps back. It's only a matter of time until the "new" used part goes out just like your original one.
Second, with a used instrument cluster you need to be aware that the vehicle mileage on the odometer stays with the instrument cluster - not with the vehicles main computer. So, if your Silverado odometer shows 80,000 miles and the instrument cluster you pulled out of a junk yard shows 145,000 then your truck will look like it has 145,000 miles and you'll run into serious resale value problems when you go to sell it! And, on the other side of the coin if you put in a cluster with 50,000 miles you'll be committing odometer fraud and they'll catch it on your title work! Those issues can be solved by having the odometer re-programmed to your correct mileage but by the time you've paid a mechanic to do that plus the cost of the used part you're way, way over what you thought you were going to save originally.
Repairing Your Original Instrument Cluster
For many truck owners this is an attractive option that works well for the do-it-yourself folks out there who like to save some cash and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. Probably the first advantage here is cost. For a very reasonable amount you can get all the parts needed to do the job, instructions and maybe even a little left over for a couple tools - not a bad deal at all.
Second advantage here is time. With this option you can order the instructions and parts ahead of time then find a time that fits into your schedule to do the repair - which only takes about an hour or two if you take your time. For instructions on how to repair the cluster check here - Silverado Instrument Cluster How To
So, in conclusion I hope this short intro has helped to shed some light on the instrument cluster issue with Silverados and has given you some ideas on how to move forward if you are suffering from the problem. Be sure to check the links below for more discussion of the specific problems the speedometer and other gauges often have.
More of My Silverado Instrument Cluster Info
- How To: 2003-2006 Suburban Stepper Motor Install and Speedometer Repair - YouTube
A DIY video tutorial showing how to repair your Silverado instrument cluster at home
- Silverado Instrument Cluster Problems
A guide to the most common problems, helpful to see if you can fix your cluster yourself
- Silverado Instrument Cluster Lights
Info on Silverado instrument cluster lighting problems
- Silverado Instrument Cluster Recall
Could you qualify for the GM factory recall on certain Silverado instrument clusters? Check this page to find out.
- Trailblazer Speedometer
A look into the issues Trailblazers have with their speedometers
Chevy Speedometer repair parts and tools on Amazon
Here's some helpful tools I've come across on Amazon if you decide to repair your speedometer yourself.