2000 Nissan Altima

Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Nissan Altima that developed a dash cluster problem two years ago. When temperatures dropped to 50 degrees while driving in stop-and-go conditions with the heat on at the maximum settings and blower on high position, the dash lights went out. Then the engine bucked and stalled. The MIL lamp came on and the dealer found trouble code PO500. They replaced a VSS sensor and recommended a new instrument cluster. I opted at the time for a used cluster and it was fine for about two years — until presently. The lights go out and stay off for 15 minutes (but this time no bucking and no MIL light). Is there any advice you can give me on this? Kris

Dear Kris: Electronic dash clusters are more common than ever and as cars equipped with electronic dash clusters start to age these units will beak down and need repair. Getting a used dash cluster will not work in all vehicles. Some vehicles need to have a dash cluster programmed to the vehicle with the correct mileage, VIN number, and other pertinent factors. When I have a vehicle with a dash cluster problem, I opt to send it out to a specialty shop and have the original unit repaired as opposed to using a replacement unit (which are rebuilt as well).

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