Picture of Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair
One day I was driving our 2001 Buick Century Custom, and I noticed that the odometer wasn't lit up. At first I thought that a bulb was out, but this instrument panel cluster (IPC) is completely digital, so there are no bulbs in those locations. The odometer/tripometer is all LED segment displays. It wasn't until later I noticed that the transmission indicator was also unlit. This can be dangerous if you think you are in park and are actually in reverse and let off of the brake. My wife and I kind of just dealt with the absence of indicators for a few months until I finally got around to fixing it.

Since there was no erratic behavior of any sort, I figured this was just a faulty discrete component somewhere and set out to look for it. If certain parts of your IPC are not illuminated when they should be, there is a good chance that this is what's wrong with it. I have found lots of people who had or are having the exact same issue, and this procedure fixed them all!
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Step 1: Helpful Tools

Picture of Helpful Tools
While this isn't a precise list of what you may need, it should get you started on the right track. 

To remove and open the instrument panel cluster I used:
Socket Set with Extension - Primarily a 7mm Socket
Battery Terminal Wrench - Equivalent to a 1/4" socket in most cases
Auto Carpet Plug Puller - Pliers and a flat head screwdriver should work as well
Flat head screwdriver

To fix the IPC I used:
Soldering iron and solder
Alcohol wipes
4 x 150 ohm resistors
bullymong26 days ago
I did this same job to my 99 century limited but something went wrong and now my odometer has Orange lines across it im not sure what my next movesure is what do I do I'm pretty sure the display is dead let's say I get one from a junkyard would it display the correct miles or does the cluster store the data and im sol
jdunphy1 month ago
I work at a automotive electronics service shop in southern Ontario and we repair these day in and day out and have been for many years but we use the original resistors they still work perfectly fine and when you pull it out you must be sure to not tilt it much or you will lose some of the resistors there is my bit of advice
Kurt E. Clothier (author)  jdunphy1 month ago

In all honesty, I would be infuriated to find out I was paying a shop to reuse the broken parts of the circuit when replacements are literally $0.01 each when bought in bulk from The junk resistors I removed were corroded and crumbling; they belonged in the trash.

yngpyrate2 months ago

This was great help!!! When I opened up the cluster panel, 3 of my resistors were gone, there was only the top one left. I think it may have fixed my gas gauge too. It was reading either Full or Empty. If it did, you helped me fix a $600 - $700 problem for only $13 dollars, and it was way easier than I could have imagined. Thanx a bunch.

Kurt E. Clothier (author)  yngpyrate2 months ago

No problem. That's what I do!

Great instructable. Easy fix...took less than 1 hour.

Kurt E. Clothier (author)  professor_doom4 months ago

Awesome, I'm glad it worked for you.

While the odometer did not work, did the mileage still increase or was it the same mileage as when it went out?

Kurt E. Clothier (author)  butteredtoast40410 months ago

The mileage did increase correctly. The odometer itself is just a display in these newer digital systems. It doesn't hold any actually information, it just displays what the circuitry tells it to do. I don't know what part of the computer system is responsible for counting the mileage, but this has nothing to do with that.

klyons232 years ago
This is excellent, fixed my instrument cluster saved $260.00
Kurt E. Clothier (author)  klyons232 years ago
Awesome. I'm glad it worked for you!