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How Do I Change European Speedometers to Miles?

by Robert Morello

European cars and cars manufactured for European territories come equipped with speedometers that read in kilometers per hour rather than miles per hour. Drivers in the United Kingdom and United States operate on an MPH system and so you can either do the math and make the conversion or change the way the instruments themselves work.

Converting Your Speedometer from KPH to MPH Using an In-Line Converter

Visit one of the companies who manufacture and sell in-line KPH-MPH converters online (see Resources). There may or may not be a converter suitable to your particular automobile.

Follow the instructions given on most of these converter websites to see if a particular converter will work for your car. You may have to examine the speedometer type and positioning under the hood and under the dash to do so. Order the appropriate part for your car.

Install the converter cord or chip. Cord type converters are essentially replacement speedometer harnesses which are installed as the standard harness is removed. The chip type of converter is placed onto the existing speedometer harness where it will adjust the signal without changing the equipment. Each converts KPH to MPH accurately.

Converting Your Speedometer from KPH to MPH by Changing Dials

Visit one of the online conversion dial distributors (see Resources). These outlets sell dials which by repositioning the numbers automatically convert KPH input into MPH readings. Since different dials have different number positions, charts of speedometer types are provided so that you can find the proper one for your car. Order the appropriate size dial for your vehicle.

Remove the cluster from your car dash board. This is usually done by removing some dashboard framework from the area around the cluster and then removing a few screws which hold it in. Make sure to check your shop manual or another source for instructions on cluster removal for your particular car.

Remove the cluster cover so that the dials are exposed. Place the new dial over the old dial following the instructions included in the conversion dial kit. Replace the cluster cover and reinstall the cluster into the dash.

Tips

  • A simple way to always have an idea how fast you are going when converting kilometers per hour to miles per hour is to remember that MPH speed is about 60 percent of KPH speed so 50 kph = about 30 mph and 90 kph = about 55 mph.
  • Conversion is simple by using a calculator and then marking your cluster as needed with sticker lines at the most important speeds (30, 35, 55, etc). Make sure not to block your view of the dials.

Warnings

  • Never do anything that might block your view of the speedometer or any of the other instruments that make up the cluster. To do so would be illegal and hazardous.
  • Changing your tire size can effect your speedometer accuracy with larger tires causing it to read low and smaller tires causing it to read high.

References

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.

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Photo Credits

  • Speedometer close-up image by Proydakov from Fotolia.com