Multi Colored Gauge Face & Needles

In order to change to different color needles you will need to change the LEDs that light them to a different color. They are already red so if red works for you then that is fine. I changed my LEDs to white so that I could paint the needles whatever color that I wanted to. In order to remove the current color from the needle it has to be taken apart.

These LEDs need to be replaced for white needles. Should be 7 total.
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Changing needle colors:
Take the needle apart by cutting the three white tabs that hold reflector and the clear part to the housing.

Cut these tabs.
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Needle taken apart.

After you have it apart take the clear needle and wipe the color off with solvent. I first used “GOO GONE” and it took a very long time to remove the existing paint. I then used “GOOF OFF” which is pretty much like paint thinner. The Goof Off is VERY powerful and if left on the plastic too long it will crack, break and or dull and deform it. It just depends on what kind of plastic it is. It is best to dab the solvent onto a rag or towel and rub the needle across it until the color is gone. After you are done wipe the needle clean with a wet towel or rag.

Needle before.
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Needle after.

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Needle lit using LED flashlight.
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I used acrylic paint (available at most hobby shops and craft stores) to paint the needles. I already did my needles on the Rolla so I took a picture of one of my tCs needles as they are basically the same. When I was taking apart the temp and fuel needles I broke the white tabs off as they are kind of hard to remove. This wasn’t a big deal because when I put them back together I used hot glue on all of the needles to put them back together and found that that works very nicely. When putting the needles back on make sure to place the needle on about 1/3 of the way just enough to that you can twist it manually. Then turn the needle down toward the 0, E or C until you feel a little resistance. This is when the dial is bottomed out and at 0. Now keep turning the needle toward the 0, E, or C until you reach the line. At this point press the needle down fully leaving about a 1/16” gap between the face and the needle housing. Without this gap the needles will not rotate correctly.

Adding multiple colors on the gauge face:
You will need to remove the remove the gauge face from the cluster assembly which as shown above can be found in the DIY: Changing Gauge Cluster LEDS thread. I achieve the multiple colors by using transparent colored film (also know as stage gels). I purchased this film from my local plastic/acrylic supply store here in Sacramento, CA. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure cellophane or tinting films can be used also as long as they are transparent. The colors that they had available were RED, BLUE, YELLOW, & GREEN. These colors can be matched together to create other colors like putting red and blue together to get violet. Also the colors can be double up to get a darker shade of the same color.

Cut the film to cover the parts that you would like to have color changed and tape them down using “TRANSPARENT TAPE”. If you used other tapes like “MAGIC TAPE” or any others it may dull the part that is taped creating an unwanted effect on the gauge face. My wife has a tracing light that I borrowed which made it really easy to see my work before putting it back in the car but a flash light or just holding up to a light will work also.

Film cut to cover parts that i wanted blue.
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Finished product on trace lamp.
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My 05 Rolla LE already had white LEDs behind so I didn’t need to change anything but a few other indicators I wanted different colors but my friend has a 03 and his cluster is green and I’m not sure if it has LEDs or if it uses light bulbs. Either way this may differ for your car. Also I don’t think this can be done for the white face gauges on the S since the #s and lines aren’t clear

These are the LEDs that need to be replaced to change the gauge colors if not using film.
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These LEDs need to be replace to change the color of your LCD.
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As shown above, these are the LEDs to be replaced to change your needle color.
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