, Salem, MA


February 2, 2013

Auto Scanner: Why won’t dashboard knobs light up?

Q: I have a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, four-wheel drive, six-cylinder engine, in excellent condition. However, the dashboard control-knob lights are out on the following: fan, heat control, air direction. All of these knobs/functions actually work; it’s just that they do not illuminate. I thought it might be a blown fuse, but my Jeep dealership told me it’s not an easy fix. Rather, the entire unit must be replaced at a cost of around $300. Does this sound right to you?

A: This is a common problem for the ’05 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and models a few years earlier than that. The price of $300 from the dealer is pretty accurate. Unfortunately, there is no replacement listed for the illumination bulbs. A less expensive way of fixing the problem would be to check with your local repair shop and see if they can rebuild the HVAC head. I don’t recommend buying a used unit from a used auto parts store; it will only come back to haunt you with similar problems in not too long a period of time.

Q: I have a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer LT, four-wheel drive. It has about 50,000 miles on it and is no longer under warranty. I have recently begun having problems with the gas gauge (and also the digital display of mileage left before gas is needed). Both read empty (0 miles left — low fuel) when the tank has just been filled. In fact, the gauge reads empty for several miles after fill-up. Then it will sporadically jump around between empty and full while I am driving around. It goes up and down all day long. It’s enough to make you crazy. I have no way of knowing when I actually need gas except to set the trip meter and fill up when I reach 200 miles. So that is what I have been doing. Any idea what is causing this?

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