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C-Max 08 warning lights


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Hi All,

i have intermittent warning lights appear on dash C-Max 08 titanium. red snowflake, handbrake on light and the temperature gauge shows dashed lines. Please bare in mind its currently 20c so its not telling me to watch for ice. Any ideas?


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Could be a problem with the Instrument Cluster (the pcb behind the dials etc, aka IC), or a wiring or connector problem. I presume there are no real symptoms (engine or other functional problems?).

The IC is a major gateway, linking the vehicle CAN busses, which carry all sorts of information between all the various electronic modules, so CAN bus or IC problems can give a huge range of symptoms. They range from a few warning lights coming on, to complete immobilisation of the vehicle.

You will probably need some diagnostic tools, you could go to a main dealer or other garage with the kit, and risk being charged a fortune for a wrong diagnosis. The diagnostic codes for IC & wiring faults can often be misleading, unless done repeatedly over a period of time. Or you can obtain good diagnostic tools now without huge expense. A basic OBD2 scanner will diagnose engine faults quite well, but is less useful for IC & wiring problems.

An ELM327 interface (to a computer) and the freely downloadable Forscan software give a good system, just search this forum.

It could be the problem will go away, at least for a time, but often this sort of problem gets worse, which, oddly, can be a benefit as only then does the cause become clear. It might just be a bad connector (corroded or loose), or a bad solder joint.

It is worth investing in some diagnostic equipment, and finding out how to use it, or find a friend who already has it, before the problem does develop. These problems are not always expensive, but the key is to pin it down. I fixed a serious problem with my IC just by re-soldering a joint.





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Like Ian says, check connectors first. There are also a couple under the passenger door lower trim, just above the floor. These carry a lot of signals, including the CAN bus. There is also one in the main (engine bay) fusebox. At least, this is the case on the Focus, I presume the C-Max is similar.

There is a simple resistance test you can do on the CAN bus, just needs a multimeter. See:


If odd messages are appearing for no apparent reason, it must be wiring or electronics related. Most garages are not good with this sort of problem. Narrowing it down will help Try looking for a specialist (eg auto electrician) in this field.

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There are known faults with the history of Focus instrument panels, where the solder joints dry out and become intermittent. It can show all sorts of crazy issues and can seem terrifying! that said, it can be fixed relatively cheap. You can send the cluster away and for around £99, it will be repaired and returned to you, and in most circumstances, will outlive you.

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