The instrument cluster, also known as Driver's Information Module (DIM) or instrument panel as it is more commonly called.
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
- 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.
Picture of defective Volvo instrument cluster.
First, check the fuse for the instrument panel. Next, read the fault codes from the IC module with a Volvo scanner. If you can't communicate with the IC module, you have a bad cluster (IC) or damaged wire harness.
Another problem that could trigger random warning lights on your Volvo dashboard is a defective CEM module.
CEM problems can 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 itself, it is cheaper to replace the existing cluster than replace it. You can remove the old cluster and send it in for repair to an instrument cluster specialist. See these listings of Volvo Instrument Cluster Repair Service ( eBay link).
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 is going on with your car.
It is important to have your Volvo diagnosed as soon as possible if you think the instrument cluster isn't working the way it should.
When fixing Volvo instrument cluster problems, you have a few different options.
You can choose to:
- Dealer - take your car to a Volvo dealer,
- Repair service - send the cluster off to be serviced
- Used cluster - install a used Volvo instrument cluster.
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.
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.
It will only cost about $100-250, 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 the 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 on eBay.
Miles on the old cluster will not match your miles. This 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 around $100. Usually, these are parts that are being sold off of cars that have been in wrecks and no longer run.
Unfortunately, Volvo instrument clusters' problems are not uncommon. The good news is that there are ways to fix them.
It is 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 is dangerous and could cause long-term issues with your car.
Have your car checked out by a Volvo mechanic and then decide what the best option to fix it is for you.