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Car dashboard: description, tuning, repair
Car dashboard: description, tuning, repair

Each time a car enthusiast starts his car, turning on the ignition key, illuminated symbols are displayed on the dashboard. Sensors, performing self-testing of the units and mechanisms of the machine, signal the motorist about the status of important units and systems.

While most lights will go out almost immediately after starting, it may happen that one or more lights remain on and indicate problems. In order to clearly respond to any malfunction, you need to know well what each indicator on the dashboard means. So this topic should be discussed now.

Instrument panel device

car dashboard

The vehicle is equipped with several sensors that the driver must monitor while driving. On the main panel, two large indicators immediately catch the eye, around which the work of all the others is organized. List of typical icon set:

  • Speedometer that allows the driver to control the speed of movement.
  • A tachometer that monitors the speed at which the engine is running.
  • A pressure gauge showing how much fuel is left in the tank and is marked with a pump symbol.
  • Oil pressure gauge. The arrow of this sensor in the normal state should be in the middle part of the dial, for example, as on the dashboard of a VAZ. If the needle shows a high or low reading, the driver should stop and fix the problem.
  • Engine coolant temperature sensor. If it shows an extremely high temperature, then an immediate stop of the car is needed, otherwise the engine will stall or overheat.
  • Voltmeter. This sensor tells the driver the voltage generated by the battery while the engine is running. If this gauge shows a particularly high or low reading, the battery or alternator may not be working properly.

Color coding

Color coding

The dashboard tells the car enthusiast what is happening with the internal mechanisms of the car. Lighting performs an informational function, using different colors.

Regular colors: red, yellow and green. They are similar to traffic signal lights, both in color and meaning. Red indicates potential danger. It can also convey an important reminder that requires immediate action and attention. Therefore, as soon as the driver sees this color, you need to immediately stop the movement of the car.

Yellow badge lights on the dashboard usually mean you needurgent repair or service. The driver, having detected these signals, must act with caution.

Green (sometimes blue) panel lights usually indicate that the system is on and functioning properly. A flashing panel warning light is used to indicate the urgency of action related to the system referenced by the sensor.

A car enthusiast should study the owner's manual for their car in order to find out the meaning of each particular light bulb indicator in the dashboard. This will help him respond instantly to an emergency situation.

Typical engine signals

These are the most important car indicators. They signal that there is no oil in the engine or its pressure is very low. The driver must stop the car immediately otherwise there will be overheating and damage to the engine. Types of alarm:

  1. Brake system. The alarm means that the brake fluid level is critically low, the parking brake is applied, or there is a malfunction with the anti-lock brake system (ABS). A quick visual inspection is recommended to check if the parking brake is applied and to check the fluid level. This warning is very serious if it is due to loss of brake fluid due to a leak.
  2. Engine fluid cooling temperature. This dashboard light indicates that the engine is too hot. Or the coolant level is low. Or a faulty fluid temperature sensor. The vehicle must be turned off immediately. The cooling system muststay under control to avoid damage to the motor.
  3. Checking the engine. The light indicates that the computer has set a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) in the engine system and is usually associated with emission control systems or malfunctions. The vehicle may be operating normally. The appearance of the engine light does not mean that the driver should quickly step to the side of the road, but a flashing control light requires immediate action.
  4. Engine oil pressure. These gauges on the dashboard light up when extremely low readings are detected. The level and pressure must be checked immediately, this failure can cause serious damage to the internal parts of the engine.

Battery and brake indication

Gauges on the dashboard

The icons on the dashboard of the brake indicator usually indicate that the fluid is low. In this case, it is necessary to check for leaks. The operation of the car is completely dependent on the operation of the battery.

To control it, an indication is installed that warns of a failure in the recharging system. The control circuit monitors the voltage of the generator and indicates at low rates. If this warning light comes on while driving, the alternator belt is most likely broken. The charging indicator warning indicates that the voltage level is below normal and the charging system is not working properly. In addition to the alternator belt, you should check the battery contacts and the alternator itself.

Indicationanti-lock braking system indicates a malfunction in the ABS system. This breakdown will not result in the loss of the brakes, but the additional safety features of the ABS will be disabled. The windshield washer fluid level sensor alarm reports malfunctions in this system. The tire pressure level indicates that one or more tires have low air pressure. The driver must check the pressure on all tires, as it must always meet the specifications.

Auxiliary alarms

The technology and design of car alarms have changed along with the development of transport, however, its principle has remained the same. The following list is not all-inclusive, indicator images are not universal, as their list depends on the car manufacturer. General listing:

  1. Airbag indicator. The warning light indicates a problem with one or more airbags or the entire system.
  2. Indication of seat belts. Reminds the driver and passengers to buckle up.
  3. Low fuel level. Warns that the vehicle is running on extremely low fuel levels.
  4. Automatic engine lock. This indicator is informational and indicates that the brake must be applied to either move the vehicle out of park or start the vehicle.
  5. Door illumination indicator. Illuminates when one of the doors is not closed, or if one of the door jamb switches is faulty.

These are some of the most commonwarning or information lights on the control panel that may be illuminated.

Instrument cluster replacement

Instrument Cluster Replacement

Each device has its own service life, in the end everything wears out sometime. So there will definitely come a time when the speedometer, other dials and gauges will stop responding and the indicators will not function.

Even when sensors are working, replacement may be due to upgrades or design changes. Replacing the instrument panel is a relatively simple process, and therefore can be performed by any car enthusiast who is familiar with the basic knowledge of the car and has the necessary set of tools.

Algorithm for the production of works:

  1. Put the car on level ground and make sure the handbrake is on.
  2. Review the auto's technical documentation to make sure the panel section containing the cluster can be deleted. Some cars require you to put it in a certain gear or put the car's steering wheel in the right position.
  3. Remove the dashboard. Carefully remove the required compartment without removing the clips holding it in place.
  4. Carefully put it aside, examine the instrument cluster. There should be several bolts securing it to the car at key points.
  5. Unscrew the instrument mounts using the set of sockets, starting from the position on the control panel.
  6. Pull the cluster towards you and inspect the connection of the wiring harness that transmits all information to the device.When the connector is found, disconnect it using the docking clips in the connection compartment.
  7. Replace the instrument cluster. Compare the old cluster with the new cluster to make sure it matches the make and model of the car.
  8. All connections and connection points must match exactly. After checking that the parts are the same, connect the wiring harness and slide the instrument cluster back.
  9. Install the panel frame back to the car.
  10. Perform a proper test of the new cluster of instruments - start the engine and check how the lights are illuminated before checking the car for a test drive.
  11. If the cluster is not working properly, follow the steps to access the part and check all connections in place.

Setting up Paint A Car Dashboard

Color replacement

Changing the lighting design is a good way to update your dashboard tuning. This method works just as well on a modern car as it does on a classic one, and a local auto shop can help you find the right paint. There are also instrument kits available to improve damaged or obsolete panels. Sequence of actions:

  1. Choose what color you want to repaint the dashboard. Think about how to prefer the exterior paint color of the car or create a two-tone color effect. You can also contact specialists or look at samples on the Internet.
  2. Clean the panel and degrease with alcohol. This will help the paint adhere well to the surface.
  3. Apply duct tape toprotect any areas where the original color needs to be preserved.
  4. Spray 3 coats of spray paint. Wait for the paint to dry.
  5. Remove protective tape.
  6. Finish the surface with varnish.
  7. Purchase and install a set of stickers. These sets offer logo trim pieces and other decorations that can enhance the look of panels such as wood. These stickers can completely replace the paint.

The installation process typically involves applying a primer to the cleaned, dry, existing panel, then cleaning and gluing the finish material onto it.

Replacement of signal lamps on the panel

Panel design

The most common sources of problems in cars are light bulbs, wires, connectors, fuses, flasher boxes and switches.

The car owner can troubleshoot these problems using a test light and sometimes a digital multimeter (DMM).

When dealing with any malfunction of the electrical circuit of the vehicle, it is recommended to replace the bulbs in the dashboard using the repair manual for the specific vehicle and model. This helps to identify not only wires and components, their connection diagrams, but also to understand how to troubleshoot and replace them, if necessary.

All pressure gauges have a green "bottle" filter, which motorists are trying to change. Filter replacement:

  1. Open sensor.
  2. Using a sharp, thin knife, remove some of the plastic, then simply pressfilter on the back side.
  3. They are neatly tucked into a plastic cap around the steering wheel shaft.
  4. Replace the required, pre-purchased from the auto shop.

Tuning with colored LEDs

Tuning with LEDs

Recently, dashboard tuning has become widespread with the replacement of LEDs instead of conventional lamps.

First get the LEDs according to the required filter. The same applies to exterior lighting - front flashers (amber) and brake lights (red).

In addition, you need to purchase an LED dimmer that controls the brightness of the lamps. Without it, the LEDs will not work, because the LEDs consume much less current than the original incandescent lamps. For these purposes, a small PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) is suitable. This is a controller based on a 555 timer with a power transistor for switching. The board is built into the lighting circuit, which, in turn, provides the dimmer.

Removing and installing dashboard

Panel change

Dismantling car parts is a very serious matter. This also applies to the situation when the dashboard does not work and needs to be replaced. Some people entrust this work to an auto mechanic, and some people like to repair the car themselves. Then this information on the removal and installation of the control panel on the example of the popular Mazda 3 car will be of interest to them. All process details:

  1. Set the air supply mode FRESH, and the air mixture indicatormove to the “max.cold” position.
  2. Disconnect negative battery cable.
  3. Remove the following parts: front doors, front plate, front trim, car dashboard under the cover, glove box, top panel, shift lever knob (MTX), selector lever knob (ATX), shift panel, side wall, Console, Shift Lever Component (MTX), Selector Lever Component (ATX), Exhaust Release Lever, Bottom Panel, Driver Side Airbag Module, Steering Wheel, Column, Combination Switch, Steering Shaft, Center Panel, Audio Unit, Control Unit, instrument panel, center cover, vehicle top instrument panel, information display, A-pillar trim, wiper blade.
  4. Disconnect the fan motor connector and wiring harness when replacing the panel.
  5. Remove heater body, nuts A, bolts B.
  6. Remove caps. Then - bolts C.
  7. Remove nuts D and bolts E. Then panel bracket.
  8. Remove bolts F.
  9. Lift up the back side of the panel, turn it in the direction of the arrow. Removing it without support is dangerous and may fall and injure the driver.
  10. Remove the instrument panel from the front opening on the driver's front door.
  11. Install in reverse order.

Modern cars have dashboards equipped with dials and lots of warning lights. If a breakdown occurs, then before proceeding with the above process, you need to carefully familiarize yourself with the repairvehicle-specific documentation.

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