Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'99 VW Jetta, Instrument Cluster Problems
am the owner of a '99 VW Jetta which has had sporadic problems with the
speedometer and tachometer not working, although the odometer and water
temp gauge do work when the former instruments aren't. Concurrently, the
car's battery (perhaps coincidentally) went dead...although a boost got
the car running, but the speedometer/tachometer, which were working previously,
no longer worked. I was told, besides the battery, that the entire instrument
cluster would need to be replaced. I couldn't understand why parts of
it would work (the odometer, for example) and the main gauges wouldn't.
Can you provide some light on this?
was a time that any part of an instrument cluster gauge or lighting that
did not work correctly was repairable. Remove the failed part, solder
in a jumper wire or replace the printed circuit board or gauge was just
every day stuff. That was then and this is now. Now if one segment of
the instrument cluster fails you replace the whole darn thing. Parts are
just not sold separately. If you have the time and can get parts from
a known good instrument cluster, I'm sure you could replace or repair
the failed part. In the old school we were taught how to take it apart,
repair it and put it back on the vehicle. In today's world we replace
the unit and move on. Not that it's the right way, but at the cost of
labor hours it is often the best way.