Common Volvo Instrument Cluster Problems & Solutions

Volvo instrument cluster (speedometer) may fail triggering various warning lights to come on or the speedometer to stop working. Although Volvo has always been known for its commitment to quality and safety, Volvo instrument cluster problems are quite common.

The instrument cluster ( also known as Driver’s Information Module (DIM)  or instrument panel) as it is more commonly called is an essential part of your Volvo. It’s the area in front of your steering wheel that lets you know critical information about your car, such as speed, gas level and if there’s an issue with the car.

Problem Description

volvo instrument cluster problem

Many Volvo models, including S60 S80 V70 XC70, have been reported to have issues with the instrument cluster such as warning lights showing up when they shouldn’t or flashing unnecessarily. Problems with the instrument cluster can be dangerous because you don’t get an accurate read on what’s going on with your car. 

It’s important to have your Volvo diagnosed as soon as possible if you think the instrument cluster isn’t working the way it should. 

Common symptoms

Some of the most common problems that affect the instrument cluster on Volvo vehicles include:

  • Lights not illuminating turning on the ignition
  • Intermittent illumination of lights
  • Check engine light staying on
  • Warning lights turning on and then off randomly
  • Gauges and needles not working 
  • Intermittent or dim Information displays
  • Intermittent or fully dead cluster
  • Intermittent Gauges
  • Flickering lights
  • Dim Back-lighting
  • Clock running up or down quickly
  • Non Communication
  • Check engine light comes on when E-brake is pulled.

If you notice any of these symptoms but your car still seems to be running fine the problem may be the instrument cluster itself.

Possible Causes

Volvo instrument cluster

Picture of defective Volvo instrument cluster.

There could be a few reasons why the instrument cluster is having problems.

First, check the fuse for the instrument panel. Next, you may want to read the fault codes from the IC module with a Volvo scanner. If you can't communicate with the IC module, you may have a bad cluster or damaged wire harness. 

Another problem that could trigger random warning lights on your Volvo dashboard is a defective CEM module

Because it is common in Volvos, you shouldn’t be too surprised if it happens to your car. It may be caused by failures of various electrical components, failures in the circuit board or electrical unit, or even water damage. Again, if you think your instrument cluster isn’t working correctly, have it diagnosed by a specialist as soon as possible.  

If your mechanic determines the problem is the instrument cluster itslef, you can remove the old cluster and send it in for repair. See these listings of Volvo Instrument Cluster Repair Service

Possible Solutions

removed volvo instrument cluster

When fixing Volvo instrument cluster problems, you have a few different options. 

You can choose to:

Each option has it’s own pros and cons, which are discussed below. 

Dealer

The most logical solution to this problem is to take it to your Volvo dealer and have them fix the issue. This is great because they are Volvo specialists and will know exactly how to tell if there is a problem and be able to fix it or replace the cluster for you. The downside of this option is that the dealer will charge between $850 - $1200  to fix the issue. 

Repair Service

Your second option is to turn to companies that specialize in Volvos and offer Volvo instrument cluster repair. To do this, you simply pay for the service and then detach the instrument cluster from your car and ship it off for service. This is a relatively easy option, as it’s not very difficult to remove the instrument cluster, simply unscrew it, unplug it, and pull it out.  And it will only cost you about $100-150, depending on the service provider that you choose. However, you will have to wait for the parts to be shipped, serviced and then returned to you, during which time you should not drive your car. The main advantage is that repair service is significantly cheaper than having the dealer replace your cluster. Plus the mileage and all setting remain the same.  

Installing a Used Cluster

The last option is to purchase a used Volvo instrument cluster. Miles on the old cluster will not match your miles. Which means that when you sell the car, you will have to mark the title Not Actual Miles and let the buyer know.  You can find used parts for pretty much any Volvo model for under $100. Usually, these are parts that are being sold off of cars that have been in wrecks and no longer run. The other drawback to this is that you’re getting a used part so it won’t be as good as new.  


Conclusion 

Unfortunately, Volvo instrument clusters problems are quite common. The good news is that there are ways to fix them. However, it’s essential that you know what warning signs and symptoms to look for that will indicate that the cluster isn’t working properly.

Otherwise, you may go a long time with problems that are undiagnosed, which will is dangerous and could cause long-term issues with your car.

Although it’s fairly simple to resolve this issue, it could cost you time and money.

Have your car checked out by a Volvo specialist and then decide what the best option to fix it is for you.