My dashboard starts going crazy after driving the car for longer than 5 minutes. Can someone tell me what's going on?

Asked by May 22, 2014 at 02:56 PM about the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The fuel gage goes to empty.  The speedometer either goes to zero or it just bounces up and down.  The RPM gauge goes up and down.  Low Fuel or Power Steering messages pop up where the tacomter display is.  You can't tell how fast you are going or how much gas you have and it jerks sometimes.

11 Answers


Mine did something like that and I cured it by replacing the battery. Get it tested first, but its possible its something electrical like that. Modern cars are extremely sensitive to things like improper voltage and do strange things. A 2010 seems a bit new to be needing a battery already, but they don't last forever and any time after about 5 years they need replacement.

4 people found this helpful.

check to see if its part of the recall!

2 people found this helpful.

Chevy is known for electrical problems. Mine started doing it a few months ago, and I scoured the internet for a definitive answer. It could be a few reasons. A bad battery, bad grounding, or, in my case, its a screwy ECM. My quick fix for it is to turn off my car, and smack the panel that covers the ECM a few times. It works for me. It seems to do it when the interior gets too hot, so I'd assume its a bad connection somewhere in there. I'd suggest checking your battery, cleaning the grounds for your car, and checking to see if it is your ECM.

3 people found this helpful.

Check fuse #25 (10 amp fuse, referred to as ECM/TCM) in the upper left corner of the Body Control Module (BCM) fuse panel on the passenger side of the center console. Our fuse was somewhat blackened and changing it eliminated the same symptoms you are experiencing.

4 people found this helpful.

Fuse #25 was the answer for me! I have a 2010 cobalt and the other evening I turned the car off opened the door and then pulled the key in that order and the door chime kept dinging. I thought that the ignition was sticking so I put the key in jiggled it around, but no luck. So I closed the door and walked off. I came back 5 minutes later and the radio and speakers were dead and when I drove all my needles, (speedo, tach, and fuel) would drop to zero hold for a few seconds and then bounce back to normal and this was often accompanied by a few dash lights like the red airbag symbol. It would do this every minute and sometimes more. I was baffled but didn't believe half the stuff I was reading online. I did what LBrown1996 suggested and replaced my fuse and everything cleared up and is totally normal again! I would have NEVER figured that out because the fuse looked maybe a tad bit dark, but not bad at all! Hopefully this is the answer for more people!

Hey Neil, are you still experiencing improvement for the fuse #25 change?


Well, the fuse change only helped for a few months. Then the symptoms reappeared and changing fuses again did not help. The Chevy dealer diagnosed the problem and changed the ECM and BCM for $1500. All better now.

1 people found this helpful.

Wow! I hope that is the final fix needed. I'm going to see if I can buy myself some time with the fuse change. Good luck! Thanks for your reply.


Fuse change is still treating me well! I hope it keeps on working, but so far so good!

1 people found this helpful.

Another intermittent no-start condition and gages going crazy reappeared a few days ago. Chevy dealer tracked it down to some worn/frayed wiring in the engine compartment. Also apparently some wire insulation had become brittle with age and fell away. The bare wire would short out on the block. So another $500 to fix. New computers from October still checked out good, thank God. It is possible that the shorted wires caused the computers to go bad in the first place. I have no idea why changing fuse #25 helped temporarily, and neither did the dealer. Just trying to give everyone a heads-up on possible causes.

1 people found this helpful.

This is an old post but see a lot of recent comments. My 2010 Cobalt was doing this. Tried all kinds of things to correct. 4 trips to my mechanic trying to figure it out. After spending 4 hours one day, my mechanic found the issue with mine. The control module for the airbags located under the passenger seat was bad! It was causing a disruption in the ECM being able to communicate with any other module. He disconnect the airbag module and TADA! No more issues. No airbags right now until the control module comes from the dealer but it was the culprit in all the craziness. Not a cheap module, $400.00.

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