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Three things in life are guaranteed; you will die, you will be taxed and the light bulbs on your car will blow from time to time. The dashboard lights are unfortunately not an exception. As you can see half of my speedometer and temperature gauge are now not illuminated.
Mercedes suggest taking the steering wheel off and then using release keys, like you would use on a stereo, to pull the gauge cluster out of the dashboard. Taking the steering wheel off requires disconnecting the battery though so the airbag doesn’t go off in your face and then once the new bulb is in you would have to reconnect the battery to test the light is working and it just seemed like a lot of effort so I did it my way.
As with a stereo I figured that if you could get behind the gauge cluster you could push it out from behind so first I would have to open up a hole in the dashboard to get my hand behind the unit. The most logical way would be to remove the drivers side tweeter and air vent.
Inside the air vent at the top to the right hand side (I assume the left hand side if a left hand drive vehicle) you will see a little plastic tab.
This will release the tweeter that you will be able to pull away. Underneath that you will see two Philips head screws holding the top of the air vent in place which you will need to undo.
When undoing these screws be mindful of these little metal pieces. On this car they are quite firmly attached to the dashboard plastic but if they have worn loose they could drop. If they feel loose it may be worth removing them and putting them somewhere safe.
The next bit is a little fiddly. At the bottom of the air vent you will see two little plastic tabs. These need to be pulled up at the same time so the vent can slide back out of the dashboard. I used two very small flathead screw drivers on the bottom and levered it out by hand from the top.
Voila! It is out and we have a hole!
Now, if I poke my camera into that hole you should be able to see a plastic white lump behind the dash. That is the rear of your gauge cluster.
Give it a good push and it should start to come free!
It is out! If you have a car with a telescopic wheel you could extend the wheel as far out as it will go so you can bring the cluster further forward to give you come more room but I found ample room even with my static wheel. A tip is if you turn you wheel half a turn you can slide the bottom of the cluster over the top of the back of the wheel to give yourself a little more room too!
There are quite a few bulbs back there so if you are unsure as to which bulb it is you need to change flick them on and see which one doesn’t light up. (Would have been tricky to do if you had disconnected the battery)
All the bulbs are held in with 6mm sockets. They do have a space for a flathead screw driver as well but personally I’d just use the socket for ease.
Replace the bulb and check that it works then simply slide everything back into place!
Simple! It’s not as daunting as it first looks!
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Author: Richard Francis