You look at your instrument cluster countless times when you go for a drive. You’ll notice if it’s not working because you’ll get inaccurate readings for fuel, speed, and other stats.
A problem with your instrument panel might make you think there’s a hefty mechanic bill in your future. There’s something you can try to fix the problem before taking it to the shop.
Resetting your gauge cluster is a way to revive your gauges to get accurate data about your vehicle. You’ll find the answers here if you’ve wondered how to reset the Ford instrument cluster.
What Is the Instrument Cluster?
Many people think the instrument cluster refers to technological systems of a vehicle, such as the stereo or infotainment center. But the instrument cluster is the gauges, meters, and indicators that tell you what’s going on with your car.
You can see the instrument cluster on the dashboard behind your steering wheel. It’s where you check your speed and gas level and see alerts like the check engine light.
The Functionality of an Instrument Cluster
An instrument cluster is a term that encompasses many different gauges. Most vehicles all have basic meters, including:
- Speedometer to show your current speed
- Odometer to measure distance traveled
- Fuel gauge to show how much gas is in the fuel tank
- Tachometer displays the engine’s revolutions per minute
- Ammeter to show Battery & Charging status
A glance at your instrument cluster gives you an idea of your car’s performance. You’ll be able to see if it’s straining too hard for the power output based on the tachometer. You can see if you’re following the speed limit and when you must stop for gas. With the odometer, you can keep track of the vehicle’s total mileage and how far you’ve traveled per trip.
What Causes Instrument Cluster To Stop Working?
An instrument cluster is a crucial part of your vehicle and should last as long as the car. But sometimes, wear and tear make an instrument cluster stop working. Indicator lights can burn out even if the gauge itself still works properly. Wires can corrode or disconnect, so your dashboard can’t communicate with the related part.
On older instrument clusters, needles get stuck, so your speed or fuel gauge isn’t accurate. The LCD or LED screen can fade, burn out, or malfunction on newer vehicles, so you’re not getting the full picture from your dashboard. Computer issues on new cars can also cause instrument cluster issues.
If you drive your vehicle off-road, the vibration of rough terrain can knock things loose inside your dashboard. A dislodged wire can sever instrument cluster communication. Wire connections loosen over time, so checking them will help you understand what’s going on with your gauges.
Weak alternators can disrupt the voltage going to the instrument cluster. A voltage spike damages your vehicle’s electrical components, so you’re not getting information through your gauges. Similarly, a fuse blowing might make it seem like your cluster isn’t working, but it simply needs a replacement fuse.
A blown fuse will usually cause a gauge cluster to be completely blank with no power. Simply check the fuse box (usually under the hood in most Ford models) and look for the fuses labeled “gauge cluster” or “instrument cluster.” Sometimes there will be multiple fuses for the entire gauge cluster.
Signs Your Instrument Cluster Might Need To Be Reset
Some Ford drivers have found themselves driving on the highway when all the dashboard alerts light up, and the gauges reset to zero. It looks the same as when you turn the key a notch past the ignition before the truck starts. It might seem like the vehicle lost power, but nothing else has changed. Your air conditioning and radio are normal, but your gauges reset.
A single occurrence of this situation might be a glitch with your truck, but it’s still alarming. It might inspire you to reset the instrument cluster to solve any underlying issue and prevent it from happening again.
Other drivers noticed their speedometer wouldn’t show the right speed for a drive. Some found the gas gauge didn’t change after refueling the truck. So it’s not always an issue of the entire instrument cluster malfunctioning. It might be a single occurrence.
Can an Instrument Cluster Be Reset?
You might not have much trouble with instrument clusters, depending on the year and model of your vehicle. If you want to know which Ford models have this issue the most, it’s commonly:
- Ford F250, F350, F450, and F550 Super Duty trucks from 2002 to 2007
- Ford Excursion trucks from 2002 to 2005
- Ford Fusion cars from 2013 to 2019
Read on to find out how to reset the Ford instrument cluster on various vehicle models.
How To Reset the Ford Instrument Cluster on a Ford Focus
To reset the Ford instrument cluster on a Focus model, insert the key in the lock and put it in the 0 (lock) or I (accessory) position.
Look at the fuel gauge on your dashboard. The Sel/Reset knob is next to it, and there’s a Sel/Reset button on the right side of the steering wheel. Press and hold both of these.
The light alerts on the dashboard come on and off in a cycle. Once the lights turn off, you’ve reset your instrument cluster.
How To Reset the Ford Instrument Cluster on a Ford F150
As with a Ford Focus, you first need to insert the ignition key in the ignition switch but put it in the 0 or I position without starting the truck.
Next, hold the Sel/Reset button next to the fuel gauge or under your display info button. The dashboard lights cycle through and reset the meters.
If you reset the instrument cluster and still have troubles, you can check its status by starting your Ford F-150 in Engineering mode.
Put the key in the ignition and press the reset button on the steering wheel.
Turn the key to the run position without starting the truck.
Hold the reset button until you see “Engineering Mode” on the message center.
At this point, you can start the truck if you want, but you don’t have to. You can keep clicking the reset button to read the available messages. “Stored DTC” is the code that shares what’s going on with your instrument cluster. You can look up the codes in your owner’s manual or tell your mechanic.
If your truck model has no message center, you can hold the odometer reset button while turning the key to the run position.
Other F-150 Instrument Cluster Problems
Several years of Ford F-150 trucks have had issues with instrument cluster malfunctions. Some drivers say it happens when they’re going over 70 miles per hour on the highway. Others have it happening while they’re making a turn. Those imply it could be a wiring issue, and your truck vibrates from the speed or wires shift during the turn.
In that case, you might want to check the wires of your instrument cluster. Ensuring they’re properly connected could solve your problem. As trucks often traverse rough terrain, it’s understandable that wires would work loose with use.
How To Reset the Ford Instrument Cluster on a Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion reset process differs from the Focus and F-150. Put the key in the ignition and lock it into either the 0 or I position, as you do with other Ford models.
Instead of holding the button, you push and release the Sel/Reset option three times in a row. Each push cycles the gauges so the instrument cluster self-tests.
After running the cycle three times, you can turn the car off. The next time you start the car, all meters on the instrument cluster should be reset and light up as normal.
Some Ford Fusion drivers with 2010 models notice that the instrument cluster resets on its own periodically. They’ll turn off their car after a drive, and everything automatically resets when they turn it back on. A mechanic can fix the wire connections to keep this from happening.
What If Resetting the Cluster Doesn’t Work?
In some cases, resetting the cluster doesn’t work because there’s a different problem. For example, if you just filled your gas tank but the gauge still shows as empty, you know there’s a bigger issue in the works.
The gauges might not properly communicate with the steering column, so you’re not getting an accurate meter reading. If you feel comfortable with this process, you can unplug the instrument cluster and the steering control before plugging both in properly. Sometimes mechanics plug them in the wrong ports, which interferes with their purposes.
You’ll have to take the car to a mechanic if you’ve reset the instrument cluster and still have issues with the meters. They’ll be able to check the entire vehicle to determine the root of the trouble.
Many Ford drivers end up with replacement instrument clusters. Sometimes, this is the best option because you can upgrade your system. If you’re updating the vehicle in other ways, like getting a digital keypad, it’s often preferred to update the instrument cluster as well. Otherwise, the digital keypad can interfere with your other electrical wiring and cause issues.