Does anyone know anything about cars?


I’m driving home tonight doing about 55 to 60 down the freeway when i notice every once in a while to gauges on my dash, temp, tach, speedometer and fuel, would jump a bit and then come back inot place. The speedometer would jump up about 5 mph and then jump back. The fuel would jump down to 3/4 or 1/2 a tank then back up to full. Once I got off the the interstate and was driving slower it increasing got worse. By the time I arrived home the speedometer had quit working completely, the tach was pretty much stuck in one position no matter my acceleration, and the fuel was still bouncing around a bit.

Anybody have any guesses as to what is going on here. It’s a '96 Grand Am.


Usually that means you need clutch light fluid.


I’ve never heard of that. Is that a real thing or are you just yanking my chain? Do I find the clutch light fluid on the back wall with the muffler belts and wheel cover bearings?

Sorry MiamiBudda, it’s just sounds funny to me. Could i actually buy some and add it myself?


Yea, there’s a spot next to the washer fluid for it.


Well the AutoZone said they can’t help me. They said I need an “instrument cluster” which will run me $250 to $300 for the part + whatever labor to get it replaced and I it’s a part available only from GM.


Dontgo to Autozone, Les Schwab, any of the big car parts stores. They exist soley to rip off people that don’t know better about their cars.

I went to Les Schwab for a wheel alignment once. They told me I needed $700 worth of work done to my car before they could do it. Lol!
Go find yourself a privately run mechanic, they’ll do ya’ better.

I don’t know anything about Grand-Ams, but I would imagine your problem is that of loose wiring around the gauge cluster, not the cluster itself.

And even if you do need a new cluster, do it yourself. You’ll be using a stock part, so the old one will slide right out and the new one will slide right in. They would probably charge you an additional $1-200 to do it for you.


Have you ever replaced anything under the dash? It can be a very labor intensive job.


Check to make sure all the wires running to your cluster are good (not loose, dirty, etc), and make sure none of your fuses are blown.

Also, might help to post this somewhere like…

I’m not familiar with the interior of grand ams at all, so I’m not sure how easy or hard it is to change out your gauge cluster, but doing it yourself if you do need to should save quite a bit. It might involve removing a good deal of your dash though, which you may or may not be comfortable doing yourself.


Just the cluster shouldn’t be, really… I’ve only done it on Subaru’s, though.

It was literally just an unscrew, unplug, replug, rescrew job.


It varies a lot from car to car. On my miata, it’s about the same as your subaru. But I’ve worked on a few other cars and it requires a bit more disassembling. Never anything that requires a mechanic from my experience, but it really depends on what someone is comfortable doing. I know more than a few people who won’t change their own oil.


Changing your own oil is more expensive anyway… Weird, right? But 5 Qts of Royal Purple costs me $50, plus the filter(about $15), and yet Texaco will change my oil and filter, vacuum my carpets/seats, wash my windows and fill windshield cracks(if you have full coverage on your car) for $45.

WTFFFF?!!?!? Lol. So much for all that money I thought I was saving.

(Q) #12

And definitely not a job for summer unless you have an A/C’ed shop.

Banjo, do you still live in Ankeny? I could bring my boss out to take a look if you’d like.


You’re not getting 5 qts of Royal Purple at Valvoline for $45…


No, they use Mobil 1. But honestly, high-grade synthetic oil is high-grade synthetic oil.

People are very touchy and very personal about their oil brand, so that comment generally doesn’t go over well.

(Jei Cheetah) #15

I saw one once


If I were you banjo go to a local non commercial auto shoo and see what they charge (bet it will be cheaper)


The place doing all that for $45 isn’t using high grade oil, and they’re likely doing it half-butted.

My friend got his oil changed at a dealer before because his brother got him an oil change certificate. cost ~$120. They didn’t let all the old dirty oil drain, and used the cheapest oil I’ve ever seen. It was filthy when you looked at it on the dipstick. He did his own oil change a few days later with better results.

Not to mention, some people enjoy working on cars, and $45 is still expensive for an oil change. I get to use the oil of my choosing (not some recycled or dino crap that a lot of places will use) which happens to be mobil 1 5w-30 full synthetic, which costs me $25 for 6qts on sale, or $27 for 5 normally. You also get to choose your filter. I don’t actually use the filter for miatas for instance, as the filter off a mazda millenia fits, but is just a hair longer so it technically provides more filtering.

No one is going to be as passionate about your car as you are.


It’s oil… The best kind of oil, is oil.
As long as you’ve got the right weight is all that matters and synthetic or not is simply a preference thing.

Mobil1 may only run you $25 retail, but then you’ve got the $10-15 filter. You’re at $40 already, and you haven’t even gotten you’re car detailed and your chipped up windshield fixed in that price. While I’m chillin’ in the waiting room with a complimentary little cup of Mountain Dew and a bag of popcorn.

I haven’t had a problem with my local Texaco. Interior is cleaner than I can get it on my own and the oil has been at the right level, so… hard to complain.

I’d hardly consider pulling the drain plug working on your car.


Thanks for all the info and interesting conversation, it’s has actually been helpful in places.

It’s always interesting to see the little rabbit trails these threads can take.