How to Change the Dash Light in a PT Cruiserby Mindi Orth
The dashboard lights of a Chrysler PT Cruiser allow for the visibility of the heater controls and instrument panel in darkness. A dim or burned-out bulb can make nighttime driving difficult and dangerous. Replacing a dash light requires the disassembly of the dashboard to gain access to the bulbs, a task many prefer to leave to professionals. Save money by removing the PT Cruiser's dashboard and changing the bulbs at home.
Open the hood to the engine compartment and disconnect the negative cable from the PT Cruiser's battery terminal, using the socket wrench.
Pry the "A" pillar trim away from the dashboard by releasing the upper and lower tabs located on the trim. Found on both the driver and passenger sides of the PT Cruiser, the "A" pillar trim is the plastic trim that covers the pillars that run up along each side of the windshield. Start by prying the upper portion of the trim away from the driver-side pillar until it pops free, and then pull the trim toward you while pulling up to release the lower tabs from the dashboard. Repeat the process for the passenger side pillar trim.
Pull off the center bezel carefully using your fingernails or a small flat-head screwdriver. The center bezel surrounds many of the PT Cruiser's dashboard controls such as the temperature control knobs and the power window switches located between the center vents. You will need to use pliers to pull off all control knobs and a screwdriver to pry off the power window switch array before removing the center bezel. You also will need to unplug the electrical connectors located on the back of these controls to remove them from the dashboard.
Remove the two dashboard screws previously hidden by the center bezel and place them to the side. Find one screw on the right side and one screw on the left side of the cover.
Pry the dashboard cover off the PT Cruiser, starting at one side and working your way around the entire cover.
Remove the screws that secure the plastic housing to the steering wheel column and place them to the side.
Remove the screws from the lower left dash cover and place them to the side. Find these two screws by pulling down on the knee bolster by the steering wheel.
Pull the instrument bezel to gain access to the instrument panel cluster. Remove the screws securing the instrument cluster and place them to the side.
Disconnect the electrical connector located on the back of the instrument cluster, and then pull out the bulbs you need to replace.
Insert the replacement bulbs into the instrument cluster of the PT Cruiser. Touch only the base to avoid damaging the bulb with the oils from your hand.
Reassemble the dashboard of the PT Cruiser by reversing the steps.
- Replace all dashboard lights at once to avoid having to remove the dashboard repeatedly.
- Use care when removing dashboard components to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging the plastic.
Items you will need
- Socket wrench
- Phillips screwdriver
- "2001-2009 PT Cruiser Repair Manual"; Haynes; 2009
- light bulb image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com