The most common reasons behind the 2003 Ford Explorer instrument cluster not working are blown fuses, faulty wiring, misplacing connectors, weak solder joints, and worn-out cluster bulbs.
Some of these problems are incredibly easy to fix if you know your way around the dashboard. Keep reading this article to find out how you can fix this issue in detail.
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2003 Ford Explorer Instrument Cluster Not Working [5 Easy Fixes]
We’ll explain the usual reasons behind the 2003 Ford explorer instrument cluster lights not working in this section.
1. Blown Fuses
A single blown fuse or multiple fuses can cause 2003 Ford explorer instrument cluster lights to not work properly. An indicator of this is if the power windows, gauges, radio, and internal lights go out along with the information cluster.
If there are multiple fuses that are not working, look for a disconnected ground. That ground is likely to be connected to those fuses and you can fix the issue by connecting it.
You need to replace the fuses if this is the case. If you see that the vehicle doesn’t work even after you replace the fuse, you need to restart the car. Follow these steps to restart your vehicle and fix your information cluster:
- Make sure the battery is fully charged.
- Disconnect all the battery terminals.
- Let the car sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rewire the terminal connections
Start your car and see if the instrument cluster is working now. A good old reset is enough to solve the problem in most cases.
2. Faulty Wiring
A big issue like this can be a result of faulty wiring or if any of the wires get loose. The instrument cluster is connected to many components with wires and it won’t work if any of the connections are loose.
Inspect if all the wires are connected. This inspection involves taking out the instrument cluster and looking for any wire that is hanging or has gotten loose. Connect the wires properly and your instrument cluster will be fixed.
3. Misplacing Connectors
The connectors of the SCCM (Steering Colum Control Module) and the Instrument cluster look similar in Ford vehicles. It’s possible to put one in the place of the other and that causes the instrument cluster to fail.
To identify if this is the cause, check the connectors first. See if they’re getting power and ground. If they’re powered, then this could be the cause. Replace the connectors and the issue will be fixed.
4. Weak Solder Joints
The panels on the information cluster can get worn with time. The solder joints get loose and can cause errors in the instrument cluster. If there are any particular lights not working on the cluster, it could be due to a weak solder joint.
There’s no way to know for sure if this is the problem without opening the dashboard. You need to take off the dashboard, take the instrument cluster out and look if any solder joints have come loose.
It’s an easy problem to fix if you know how to open the dashboard and take out the instrument panel. A soldering gun isn’t expensive. You can solder the weak joints yourself or get an expert to do it for you.
5. Worn Out Cluster Bulbs
The cluster bulbs can be blown or worn out with time. If the cluster bulb is damaged, you won’t be able to see that light in the information cluster even if everything else is fine.
Replacing the bulb is the only solution if it’s the one causing the problem. You’d have to unscrew the dashboard and disconnect it to access the cluster. Once you get to the information cluster, you can easily change the bulb.
How Do I Reset My Ford Instrument Cluster?
Resetting the instrument cluster on the newer Ford vehicles is easy. Just press the button in the middle of the steering wheel for a few seconds and that’ll reset the instrument cluster. But if you’re driving an older vehicle, it’s not that easy. In that case, follow these steps to restart your Ford vehicle:
- Locate the reset button on the dashboard. For most vehicles, it’ll be located on the right side of the dashboard.
- Long press the reset button.
- Put your key in while you press the button but don’t turn it on.
- You should see a sign on the screen that says “Sweep Gauges”
- The gauges will now start troubleshooting on their own and restart the information cluster.
Although it’s harder to fix the instrument cluster in the older vehicles, it’s easier to troubleshoot the issues. One faulty wiring won’t mess up the entire information cluster as it would on a modern vehicle.
Why does my 2003 ford explorer instrument cluster keeps going out?
If the instrument cluster works intermittently on your vehicle, it’s better to check the battery and the alternator since these are the most common causes of this problem.
How much does it cost for a 2003 ford explorer instrument cluster glass replacement?
The price of the part itself is generally around $20-$30 in most cases. But the charges of the mechanic will vary depending on where you live. You can also buy the glass and replace it yourself.
Can a instrument cluster be fixed?
The instrument cluster can be fixed if the circuit board hasn’t gone out of order. Issues like weak solder joints or burned cluster bulbs can be fixed.
How long does it take to replace an instrument cluster?
Replacing an instrument cluster shouldn’t take long if you know what you’re doing. Expert mechanics take around one or two hours to do this job.
Now you know the typical reasons that cause the 2003 Ford Explorer instrument cluster not to work problem. Blown fuses and disconnected grounds are the most common issues with Ford vehicles. Check for these issues first before moving on to the other ones.
We hope the tips we shared in this guide will help you get your instrument cluster back to normal. Drop a comment below if you have any questions.
Note: You can also read how to fix no check Engine light when key is in on position.