Volkswagen Instrument Cluster Failure

Over the years of working on VW’s I have encountered enough instrument cluster failures that I would consider it a common problem. There are a few things you should be aware of before attempting to repair this unit.

Don’t Buy Used VW Cluster

I have tried this route already and have been burned multiple times. The bad part about it is you may start to second guess your diagnosis and re-check your troubleshoot path to make sure your not over looking something stupid after replacing the cluster with a used one that has the same problem. I have learned from experience that if you suspect the cluster just make sure it has good power (switched ignition and constant B+) and ground. If those are good you probably have a failed cluster. Anyways, there are so many failed ones that if you buy used you’ll probably get one with the same problem(s).

Common VW Instrument Cluster Failures

There are two common things I see fail with these clusters, the first one you could attempt to repair yourself if you confident in your soldering skills. Take a look at this picture below, which shows the back side of the instrument cluster circuit board.

Volkswagen Instrument Cluster Circuit Board

Volkswagen instrument cluster circuit board showing burnt solder point.

If you look closely at the burnt pin terminal you’ll see where it is cracked. This is a common problem that I see in circuit boards and will cause high resistance and thats why the point looks burnt. Also may cause intermittent problems if not a constant failure.

The second more common failure that I see is the processors fail causing the cluster to go crazy. Yes, Volkswagen was ahead of there time in 1995 which is the year of the cluster I’m referencing too. The internal processor for the instrument cluster controlled everything and also communicates with the powertrain control module via BUS line. This is most likely beyond your repair abilities but I found a good company that repairs these electronic clusters. Tacoma Speedometer

I have had good experience with these guys and they back there work up with a warranty which is great when your dealing with electronics like this, hope this may help.

This post was written by: Martin Hand


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Martin Hand

About Martin Hand

ASE Certified L1 Advanced Mastertech. Martin Hand has over 15 years experience in Asian and European Import Auto Repair. Specializing in electrical diagnosis, engine performance, AT/MT transmission repair/rebuild. Martin is also pursuing a degree in Computers Science & Information Systems starting at Portland Community College while he plans to transfer to OIT. Certified in Java application level programming, experienced with other languages such as PHP, Ruby, JavaScript and Swift. Martin has future plans of automotive diagnostic software development.


  • Ash says:

    volkswagen kombi instrument In Jetta 2007 , not working, I cannot know the next service or any problem which should display on the creen , what should i have to do????

  • CJ says:

    Hello, i purchased a MK3 GTi VR6 with a cluster in MPH. I live in Alberta so KMH would be best. Current cluster is in perfect working order.

    So i purchased a set of plasma dials from the site “MOMAN.PL” in KMH which are just lick n stick over my current cluster.

    Got my mechanic to insall them as he said its plug n play so it should work.

    Turns out my SPEED and RPM’s are not true but seems like the TEMP and FUEL are..

    I guess my question is

    what seems to be the issue and how can i fix it?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated

    • Martin Hand Martin Hand says:

      It would most likely be a calibration problem, tire or wheel size or different speedo gear.

      • CJ says:

        Thank you for the feedback.

        I went to my local scrap yard and found a MK3 cabby with a cluster im KMS.. We transferred everything over yet nothing works but GAS and FUEL.

        I will try a calibration next. Is that something is a simple not so mechanically inclined guy could do on a saturday while enjoying a few cold ones? What tools are needed?

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