Overhauling A Light Cluster

How To Overhaul A Light Cluster?

Light clusters are a common feature in many modern vehicles. This shift in vehicle design is from their simplicity to manufacture and assemble. In addition, they are simple to repair and are generally more effective than individual light bulbs. This one-piece unit allows you to drive safely by improving your visibility significantly in the dark. In some instances, however, the need for overhauling a light cluster will arise.

It is quite simple to identify problems with your light clusters. It thus makes repairs easier as you know what the problem is from the errors and tests. Indeed, when your lights don’t light, it is an indication that you need overhauling.

When Does The Need For Overhauling A Light Cluster Arise?

Like any component in your vehicle, the light cluster will also need repairs and replacements after some time. Unlike simple repairs, however, overhauling can be challenging due to the vehicle’s vast electrical connections. Various instances will prompt the need for overhauling the light cluster. These include;

#1. Damages from Accidents

A head-on collision will damage the headlights completely. The bulbs and their housing components will break, and you will need to overhaul them. This also applies to the rear lights. Owing to their location, the light clusters are highly exposed and replacing them after a crash is inevitable. It is thus important to understand overhauling a light cluster in this event.

#2. Dust and Condensation Accumulation

If you drive in a highly humid area, your light clusters will accumulate condensation. It also comes from water that sips through the gasket and collects in the light clusters. If your water leakage allowances aren’t working well, water gets trapped, and condensation will build up.

#3. Corrosion or Bust Light Bulbs

When water accumulates in the light casing, it will contact the electrical components. This causes sparking that will blow out the light bulbs. Additionally, it causes high current fluctuations that have a similar effect. Leaving the water for long periods causes corrosion to build up. You will thus need to overhaul the light cluster and install a new one.

Overhauling A Light Cluster

Identifying the cluster type on your vehicle makes it simpler to fix it. It also ensures you get the right replacement model, and it will thus work well. A convenient option is getting an exact model to the one you are replacing. If the manufacturer installed it, you are sure to have the right one. Additionally, you should disconnect the battery from the vehicle. It stops any current transmission throughout the vehicle. This keeps you safe from electrocution or further damaging the electrical components. There are new and old type clusters, all with different replacing procedures.

Replacing New-Style Clusters

Firstly, access the light compartment by removing the carpeting on your trunk. Keep these safe as you will need them for reassembly. Unscrew the bolts and nuts holding the light cluster in place. Ensure they are completely disconnected from the vehicle’s body while not damaging the earthing cable.

Remove the multi-connector plugs from the light unit and connect them to the new one. Connect them firmly to prevent slipping while reconnecting them. Align the light unity into the light cluster housing and firmly screw it back in place. Check that all the nuts are tightly in place to prevent falling off while you drive on harsh terrain.

Replacing Old-Style Clusters

Unlike new clusters, old ones have more connections and operate independently. It will thus take more skill and care to replace them. It often has a lens held in place by screws and should be removed separately. This is an important part of replacing old-style clusters, and you should be careful with all the electrical connections here.

Firstly, unscrew the light cluster to expose the bulb holders. They operate independently in this setup and should thus be replaced individually. Unscrew the bulb holders while carefully disconnecting the light units. You can now fix the new light unit in place by aligning it with the previously disconnected one. Finally, reconnect the cables into their light units while ensuring they are firmly in place. The overhauling is complete, and you can now reconnect the battery to test whether the lights work.

Cleaning The Cluster Lenses

Vehicle lights use lenses to extend the strength of their lighting component. It thus allows you to get brighter and more consistent light. After some time, however, the light cluster lenses will accumulate dirt and wear out. Cleaning them restores their clarity and improves their performance. Firstly, unscrew the light clusters and remove the lenses.

Secondly, clean them gently with a soft brush to prevent scratch marks. Be sure to get the edges of the light cluster as these too hold a lot of dust. Thirdly, rinse them with soapy water and dry them. Leave the lens to dry and finally reassemble it into the light cluster. Screw the nuts firmly in place, and you will begin getting brighter light.

Checking For Wiring Problems

Inspecting the wiring in your vehicle’s electrical components is an important part of overhauling a light cluster. It is particularly crucial if the light bulb gets busted often due to current fluctuation. Firstly, disconnect the battery to stop all electrical transmission. There should be cables attached individually to all the light bulbs in older models. Check that their connector plugs are firmly in place. You can also disconnect, clean and reconnect them to their respective terminals.

Newer light clusters will have a multi-connector plug that links to all bulbs in the cluster. Check that it isn’t broken and that it is firmly in place. Disconnect the push-fit and reconnect it back to the system. This check will ensure all loose connections are corrected and that your light cluster is working well.


Overhauling a light cluster depends on the extent of damages. If they are too significant, replacing them is the best option. In addition, the complexity of the work will depend on the light cluster model. Newer models are simple to fix in comparison to older ones. To sum it all up, test the success of your replacement by reconnecting the battery and checking whether it will light.