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My 2004 Honda Civic gauges have started failing in an intermittent way. When this happens, all the gauges (speedometer, tachometer, fuel, temp, LCD odometer) all read zero. When the gauges are in this state, the odometer is also not counting any mileage that I drive.

As far as I can tell, the car is driving fine and when the gauges come on, there are no warning lights (e.g. CEL) on.

One interesting thing that I have noticed is that when the gauges come on (possibly long after the car was started), the cluster goes through the normal startup sequence. For example, the light that flashes a few times if you are due for service does its few flashes when the gauges come on. This makes me think that the problem is with whatever component manages things like the time since last service.

Is it possible that this is a loose wire, or is it likely that there is a component that needs replacing.

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  • I have the same problem, I can go a few days without the gauges to work and then all of a sudden, they turn back on... Also, when the car is running and I am totally stopped, the light in my dashboard flickers as well as my headlights... Don't know yet what is the problem, but i will certainly try the following suggestions! Thanks Guys, I'll keep you posted!
    – user651
    Jun 3, 2011 at 9:54
  • You have a penny in your factory-installed CD player. It costs a pretty penny to fix that.
    – GregC
    Jul 14, 2011 at 6:08
  • In the end, I found a cheap used cluster at a local scrap yard. I plugged it in and it worked perfectly - except that my car now has the mileage of the new cluster, which was 60k more than my last one.
    – efunneko
    Jun 22, 2016 at 13:42

4 Answers 4

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It looks like the entire instrument cluster is intermittently losing power. Loose wiring, particularly bad ground wire(s) should be your first suspect. Find the wiring harness(es) that plug into the back of the cluster and check that they are secure. Follow them around behind the dashboard to see if anything else is loose.

You may find a ground wire for the cluster that grounds on the (metal) body of the car somewhere in the driver's footwell or behind the dashboard. I'll bet it's loose.

[...] the light that flashes a few times if you are due for service does its few flashes when the gauges come on.

Since you indicate that this is part of the cluster's normal behavior on start-up, I think this is just a normal consequence of the cluster suddenly being "powered on." I don't think it indicates that the service interval counter is at fault.

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  • About the service interval counter, I do know that it is in play because I manually reset the counter by starting the car and holding down the trip reset button and then that light no longer flashed when the cluster came back on. If the cluster is not responsible for maintaining that count, then I don't think that it is a problem with the cluster itself. Of course if the cluster does hold both the odometer value and the service interval counter, then I agree that the cluster is a fault. Thanks for your answer, BTW!
    – efunneko
    Apr 25, 2011 at 11:11
  • I did some more googling and it does appear that the cluster keeps the odometer value. I will spend some time looking at the wiring like you suggest and hopefully it will fix the problem.
    – efunneko
    Apr 25, 2011 at 11:28
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I have the same problem.I finally took it to a mechanic I trust who tested all connections etc and found the cluster to be defective. I'm looking at $800 to replace it. I've contacted Honda to see if they'll help, given my total mileage is only 65,000 km. The problem started at about 50,000 km. It's unlikely that they will take any responsibility. I'd like to know if others are having the same problem, as it is clearly a factory defect issue.

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  • I saw this problem in a GM once awhile back. It ended up being the ignition switch! Jul 14, 2011 at 12:12
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The component on the cluster board could be defective. I had something similar years ago (decades actually). It turned out to cold solder joint on a 5 volt regulator as well as a nearby capacitor. Also checking for bad grounds.

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I had a 2004 Honda Civic that had the speedometer drop to 0 while on the interstate. After a lot of searching, I found a way to do a test on the instrument cluster which ended up solving my problem. Here are the steps to perform a self test on the instrument cluster. This sounds crazy, but it does work.

Honda/Acura Instrument Cluster Self-Test

  • Insert the ignition key into the ignition lock. Leave it in the 0 or I position.

  • Push and hold the Sel/Reset knob (on the instrument panel by the fuel gauge), or the Sel/reset button on the right hand of the steering wheel below the Multi-Information Display Info button.

  • Turn the headlights ON.

  • Turn the ignition switch to ON (position II).

  • Within five seconds, and still holding in the Sel/Reset button, turn the headlights OFF, then ON, then OFF again.

  • Within 5 seconds, release the Sel/reset button.

  • Push and release the Sel/reset button button 3 times repeatedly.

    You can release the Sel/reset button after the guages start to cycle.

  • Now, Each time you press the Sel/reset button the guages will cycle.

  • To end, turn the ignition switch to OFF, or vehicle speed exceeds 1.5 mph.

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