My 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia was perfectly fine until last night, when the central part of the instrument cluster went dark all of a sudden.
The rev-counter display on the left and the speedometer on the right work fine. It is just the central display between them.
(I didn't accidentally/unkwowningly switch it off myself. This display is always on and can't be switch off normally).

I had done my work commute (95 km each way) earlier that day without problems, but needed to drop by my parents later in the evening.
Got out of my drive-way and 2 minutes later the central display just switched off. It remained off for the remaining 15 minutes of that drive. When I returned home an hour later it remained off for the entire drive.
Today I worked from home. Didn't use the car. Needed to go to my parents again this evening and drove there with the display still off.

So my first thought at that point is that the display is broken. (It is not a blown fuse. You can see it has power because there is a faint sheen of the back-light visible.)

But on my way back from my parents it got funny:
I start the car (display still dark), reverse out of their drive-way and after about 3 seconds the display comes back to life, only to switch off again a second later.
Half a minute later, while driving it comes on again to stay on for about 3 minutes. Then it went blank again for 10 seconds, came back and remained on for the rest of the drive home.

What make it really strange is that 1 single part of the display still doesn't work. It normally shows a line with the title of the song currently playing on the DAB+ radio or on the MP3 player. It shows all information as normal, except for that information from the infotainment system.
When I cycle through the various other display modes that same part of the display does show the normal text or graphics. Also a warning message, that the parking sensors in the front of the car were dirty, showed as normal in that same section of the display.

I think I can rule out a bad contact on one of the connectors inside the binnacle. None of the on/off switch moments corresponded to a bump in the road. And I did hit several bad pot-holes and bumps along the way.

The car runs normally, besides this. And the display isn't strictly necessary, but it is a major nuisance. (And I'm afraid it might count as a MOT failure when the car is up for inspection in a few months.)

Any idea what can be the problem and how to fix it?
I realize that potentially that part of the instrument cluster needs replacement, which could get real expensive as the car is out of warranty.

1 Answer 1


I have no experience with Alfas, but this is a relatively common problem and to the best of my knowledge the instrument cluster works the same way as other cars. The cluster is a single unit with electrical displays and a circuit board on the back. It's all digital, even if there's analog style gauges. Power and data are fed in through modular connectors.

It sounds like the binnacle has an electrical problem, some sort of intermittent short or component failure which can change states on a bump, vibration or some other mechanism. It's unlikely the problem is in the connection at the back, generally they're very solid. You could pull it out, unplug and re-plug the connectors and see if that solves it (doubtful but worth a shot as the problem is consistent).

If reconnecting it doesn't solve it the solution is to get the binnacle out and send it off for repair, there are specialized electronics shops that do that sort of thing routinely, and it's not nearly as expensive as you might think. You send it off, they do an assessment and give you a quote. It's far cheaper than a replacement. That does mean you can't drive your car for a few days.

The issue with a brand new one is that often they have to be programmed for your car, it's not a straight swap, so it ends up being much more expensive.

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