LED lighting for the dashboard

Anyone who still owns a Golf 2 that is true to the original probably knows the miserable problem with the original switch lighting, which is weak and usually no longer functional. The solution is LEDs.

Already in winter 2022/2023 I renewed parts of the switch lighting, at that time it was the light switch, the fog and the switch for the rear window heating. For all three switches, I replaced the original light bulb with a white LED. Nevertheless, I still had the problem that switches and instruments were hardly or not at all legible at night.

So, since I had to remove the instrument cluster anyway, I decided to paint Emma a bit. Since I already knew that I was not going to do a very nice job, I took my time with it.

Here is the list of materials and tools:

  • 5x LED 3mm (8x if you also want to exchange the indicator lights) preferably with a series resistor, e.g. 3mm LED blue at Amazon
  • 1x LED 3mm white for hazard warning switch
  • 2x SMD LED z.B. Tachobeleuchtung blau bei Amazon
  • When changing from green to another color diffusion film
  • Screwdriver PZ2
  • slotted screwdriver
  • slotted screwdriver
  • 6mm drill
  • 8mm drill

Removing the instrument panel

First the battery is disconnected and the instrument panel is removed, all switches are removed (simply pull out and unplug the connectors behind them) and then the climate control is removed. The two controllers can be easily pulled off, just like the rotary switch. Then pull off the plug for the rotary switch (difficult to do) and unclip the plug for the lighting. And then remove the six screws. Be careful with the indicator light for the handbrake, the bulb holders tend to break off there!

Schraubpunkte Instrumentenblende Golf 2
screw points

In the same breath, the instrument cluster is removed, this is again attached with two screws. When removing, make sure to carefully loosen the speedometer cable beforehand. It is best to use a mirror to look behind the instrument cluster. Then loosen the plugs (2 with the old ZE, 1 with the new ZE) and tilt forward and pull out to the right (right-hand drive to the left).

LEDs in the switches

Let’s start with the switches. Basically it can be said that all switches open in the same way. In addition, I only replaced the instrument lighting, I left the indicator lights as they are. If you want to swap them, there is very little space to accommodate the LED and the series resistor!

The switches can be opened as shown here in the example of the heated rear window
Be sure to watch out for the little feathers

You can open the switches carefully by opening the lower part with a small slotted screwdriver and then pulling off the lower part. Be careful not to drop the switching element on the floor, there are very small springs behind it.

For switches with an indicator light, the higher light is the switch illumination

In the case of switches with a message and a switch lighting, the top of the two light bulbs is then removed, remembering where it was connected.

When changing the color from green to another, the seesaw must be removed
Plättchen grün eingebaut
Then the green tile must be removed
Plättchen grün ausgebaut
This should only be inserted

If you want to change from green to another color, you still have to remove the green inserts in the switch covers.
Then put everything back together.

Ventilation control

With the panel for the ventilation control, everything is now a bit brute. At that time, Volkswagen was already of the opinion that the customer should buy a new one right away if there was a defect in the instrument lighting in the cover. The old light bulb is welded into the cover. Also, the gray back of the bezel is glued to the front.

Start by carefully scoring the glued areas on the back with a cutter knife. Once you’ve done that, you can carefully pry the back from the front with a flathead screwdriver. The whole thing goes with a lot of cracking and effort.

Klebpunkte Golf 2 Klimaregler

The two parts

Now if everything went well you have an intact front and back. Now it’s getting ugly again. Now take the 8mm drill bit (you can also use 5mm at first) and drill the bulb out of the holder from the inside until the two contacts for the plug are loose. Be sure to keep the two contacts, then drill through them with 8mm.

LED Licht Klimasteuerung Golf
The two halves

Two 3mm LEDs are now used to replace the incandescent lamp.
These are bent so that one of the two points toward the fan controller and one toward the temperature and airflow selector.

LED Lichtleiste
The display must also be drilled out below the bulb, or better cut open
LED Glühlampe Golf Volkswagen
Die alte Glühlampe wird ausgebohrt. Die Kontakte aufgehoben

I used hot glue to attach the two LEDs. Hot glue was also used to glue the bottom to the top.

To reconnect the connector, bring the wires together through shrink tubing and then solder the two ground wires to one of the contacts on the old bulb. Again, shrink tubing over the surface of the contact that does not disappear in the connector to avoid short circuits.

Do the same with the positive lines.

LED SMD’s in the instrument cluster

Swapping the lighting in the instrument cluster is easy if you don’t want to go to a different color. All you have to do is swap the two SMD (in vehicles without MFA) for the LED SMD.

LED Golf 2 Licht
The light bar

If you swap the colors, you have to carefully loosen the white bar in the picture and swap the green diffusion foil for a white one. Use the green foil as a pattern for the new one.

To loosen the bar you have to carefully remove the conductor foil. This is only clipped when you have removed the SMDs. So carefully detach the film from the clips. You don’t need to go further than the white bar. Be careful not to kink the conductor foil, there are thin copper tracks in it that can easily get hairline cracks.

Diffusionsfolie grün golf 2 LED
Green diffusion sheet

Reassemble everything

Install instrument cluster with LED SMD

The instrument cluster is inserted back into the dashboard in the opposite direction to the removal direction. before you screw on the instrument cluster you have to reattach the speedometer cable. Make sure that the plastic connector from the shaft to the speedometer is still on the shaft. Then you can put the shaft back into the AI. Watch out for the click there too.

Now the KI is screwed tight and the plugs are reconnected.

Insert instrument cover

Next up is the instrument cover. Also pay attention to the connector/socket of the handbrake.

Ventilation control

Here I would recommend first connecting the plugs and then pressing the panel back on. Insert the knob and clip in the two adjusters.


Finally, all the switches go back into place. You can’t swap the switches either, because the plugs are coded.

The function test of the LED

Now reconnect the battery. As soon as you set the ignition to the first level (ignition on) you should now see that the light switch lights up during the day. The hazard warning light switch also lights up brighter now.

If you now turn on the low beam, the other switches should also light up brightly and the light should also be visible in the CI ​​during the day.


I started the rebuild in the summer of 2023 and changed all the switches and controls to blue. At least I think the result is pretty good.

KI Golf II LED blau
The switches now also shine brightly and visibly during the day

Even in white everything looked much better than the original yellow/green light. The advantage of the LEDs is better illumination, especially from the instrument cluster, better legibility of pictograms on the switches and the instrument cluster, and a more modern look. According to the examiner, a disadvantage could be the H-acceptance, but that’s not relevant to me.Schreibt mir doch in die Kommentare wie ihr den Look findet und ob ihr eventuell auch einen Umbau auf LED gemacht habt.

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