Recently my truck picked up a new quirk. When I start or stop the engine there is a static scratching noise that comes from the dash. I also tried turning the key just far enough to get power and gauges and that produced the noise as well. My best guess at this point is that it happens when the gas gauge goes from empty to actual level when power comes on, and then again when it goes to empty when power is cut. Radio and climate controls are both off.

I can't exactly tell if the noise is mechanical or electrical. It sounds a lot like crackling static or sand paper across a hard surface.


The gauges in the dash are actuated by motors. When you turn the vehicle on, they do their "power on self test" and start doing their thing getting the gauges set correctly. If one of them is having an issue, you could be hearing the scratching noise because of this. I had an '04 Suburban which had the speedo go bad and this is exactly what it sounds like. It was fixed under warranty, but sounds like you are well out of it. If this sounds like what you are hearing, you may try getting a replacement (used) cluster for it as a fix.

  • You can find the gauge motors on eBay, but requires some good soldering skills to replace them. – Moab May 5 '16 at 15:59
  • @Moab - Yup. Getting an entire gauge cluster is cheap enough if you look on the forum sites or possibly a pick-apart-yard. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 5 '16 at 16:09
  • As long as the gauge isn't pegged at one end or the other will it still reliably show gas levels as long as it's making these noises? – Andrew May 6 '16 at 14:46

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