How to Fix the Speedometer in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer

Speedometer problems are as wide ranging as a simple loose wire to a massive electrical problem that requires the help of a professional. A jiggling speedometer needle or one that won't move Vehicles all isn't just an irritation; it's a road hazard. Whatever the problem may be, it is critical that a speedometer is fixed quickly and correctly so you know your driving speed. Though larger problems will need a mechanic, there are some problems that can be fixed Vehicles home with your own tools and a little elbow grease.

Under The Hood:

 How to Fix the Speedometer in a 1995 Jeep Wrangler

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery terminal. Unscrew the retaining nut or bolt with a socket wrench, pull it from the terminal and set it aside.

Remove the retaining screws on the instrument cluster trim with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the trim away from the instrument cluster by hand to dislodge any retaining clips, and remove the trim from the passenger compartment.

Unscrew the retaining screws holding the switch panel and tachometer and speedometer cluster in place with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the switch panel and cluster out and unplug the electrical connections from the back of the cluster and switch panel.

Disconnect the speedometer cable with pliers. If the speedometer cable has already become disconnected, connect the cable with pliers and skip to Step 7 to install the cluster with the cable now connected.

Unscrew the screws retaining the switch panel to the cluster with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the panel from the cluster.

Attach the switch panel to the replacement cluster, installing the retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Place the panel and cluster near the instrument panel and plug in the electrical connections to the rear of the cluster and panel. Connect the speedometer cable with pliers. Push the cluster and switch panel into the recess on the instrument panel and install the retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Push the instrument cluster trim back into place. Install the retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Attach the negative battery cable to the battery terminal. Tighten the retaining bolt or nut with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Pliers

 How to Fix the Speedometer on a Moped

Remove the moped's negative battery cable with an adjustable wrench.

Open the fuse box and replace the instrument cluster's fuse if the speedometer, gas gauge and other gauges on the cluster aren't working. The location and amperage of the fuse will be clearly marked. Pull the old fuse out with the needle-nose pliers, slip the new fuse in and replace the fuse-box cover.

Loosen the screws holding the instrument cluster panel in place on the dash if only the speedometer isn't working and the rest of the dash panel appears to be functioning properly.

Remove the speedometer cable from the bottom of the speedometer with an open-end wrench.

Follow the speedometer cable to where it attaches near the drive gear, and loosen the connection with the open-end wrench. Pull the old cable free once it's loose.

Fasten the new cable in place with the open-end wrench near the drive gear. Run the cable back to the speedometer. Use plastic ties, if necessary, to hold the cable down along its route.

Attach the speedometer cable to the bottom of the speedometer with the open-end wrench. Set the instrument panel back into place and replace the retaining screws with the screwdriver.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Fuse

  • Open-end wrench

  • Replacement speedometer cable

 How Can I Fix the Speedometer in My Car?

How to Fix Speedometers that Shake or Make Noise

Lift the hood and look at the cord that connects from the dash to the transmission. Wiggle it to see if it has come loose or worn out.

Look at the speedometer head. Wipe away any collected grime or dust with a damp rag. Put a fresh drop of oil on the bearing.

Detach the cable from the casing on the transmission end if your speedometer is making strange "whirring" sounds. Pull the cable out carefully. Use a solvent to clean the cable. Let the cable dry, then rub the cable with non-migrating grease that is lithium based. Push the cable back through the way it came without forcing it. Turn it slightly when reconnecting it to the speedometer. Test drive your vehicle to make sure the speedometer works properly.

How to Fix a Speedometer that is Slow or Doesn't Move at All

Ensure that you haven't recently changed to larger tires, changed your transmission or gotten involved in a rear-end crash, as these factors can all contribute to speedometer problems.

Check the gear at the transmission end of your speedometer cable to see if there's any damage caused. Purchase a new gear and change it if the part looks damaged.

Compare the speed of your car to the speed of other cars on the road while driving to see how far off your speedometer is. Take the car to a speedometer shop or someone who knows how to fix speedometer magnets to recharge the magnet.

Items you will need

  • Damp cloth

  • Oil

  • Solvent

  • Lithium-based grease

 How to Fix the Speedometer on a 2002 Dodge Neon

Get to the Circuit Board

Remove the plastic covering from the dashboard. This should lift off fairly easily, as there are no screws.

Unscrew the four screws attaching the gauges to the dashboard. Once these are all removed the gauge cluster is simply removed.

Pull the protective piece of paper off the back of the cluster to reveal more screws. Unscrew all of these, but do not remove any of the bulbs.

Dislodge the circuit board from the pins slowly and gently. Take extreme care not to cause any damage to the board, as this will prove more expensive than getting the initial problem fixed at the garage.

Soldering

Search for the cold solders. They will be visible by a small, faint circle around the pin. If you're not sure, solder the pin in question anyway.

Heat the soldering iron up. Carefully rest it on top of the joints until the solder changes color. Remove the iron and move on to the next joint.

Allow the circuit board to cool down. Once it has done so, reattach it to the dashboard by replacing all the screws.

Items you will need

  • Set of screwdrivers

  • Soldering iron

 How to Fix the Speedometer on a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe

Loosen the negative battery cable of your 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe with an open-end wrench. Remove the cable and move it out of the way so that it does not come into contact with any metal parts.

Remove the trim plate on the face of the instrument cluster by using a screwdriver to pop it out of the sockets.

Remove the four screws that are holding the instrument cluster in place and pull the panel forward.

Detach the gauge cables that are connected to the back of the instrument cluster and remove the unit from the dashboard.

Attach the gauge cables to the back of the new instrument cluster and put the unit into position in the dashboard.

Secure the new instrument cluster by tightening the four screws, then snap the trim piece back around the front of the unit.

Reattach the negative cable to the battery.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Aftermarket instrument cluster