The Need for Speed-ometer: Replacing Your Speedometer Cable
Your speedometer keeps you on the right side of the speed limit by letting you know how fast you are going. You can be certain that there's no way your body would simply feel that you're close to exceeding 50 mph. If your speedometer needle starts jerking around wildly for no reason at all or simply stops moving at all, then these are signs that your speedometer cable may be done for. Fortunately, a speedometer cable can easily be replaced, and, with the right tools and basic skills, you can do the work yourself.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Here's what you'll need:
- Crescent Wrench
- Cotton balls
- Plastic tarp or a long piece of cardboard
- Replacement speedometer cable
- Vehicle owner manual
And here are the steps:
- Open the hood of your vehicle and locate the speedometer cable. This is usually found below the main engine block, sticking out from the top or front of the transmission. The speedometer cable runs upward, through the firewall, and into the back of your dashboard. Pay special attention to how it is routed to the transmission.
- Go inside your vehicle and remove the instrument panel from your dashboard so you can access the back of the speedometer dial. Depending on your vehicle, the instrument panel could either be disconnected just by pulling or secured in place by a locking nut, which you will have to remove with the crescent wrench. Disconnect the cable from the speedometer dial and push the cable back through the firewall, but not all the way through just yet.
- Go back around to your engine bay and follow the loose speedometer cable down to the transmission. Disconnect the old speedometer cable from the transmission and release it from any mountings, cable grips, or zip ties.
- Take your replacement speedometer cable and straighten it out on top of the plastic tarp (or a long, clean, piece of cardboard).
- Using the cotton balls, apply grease (lithium or any lubricating grease appropriate for speedometer cables) evenly all over the new replacement speedometer cable, but stopping three inches from each end.
- Install the new replacement cable in your engine bay in exactly the same way as your old cable was. Restore all the clamps, nuts, and other attachments. Replace any zip ties you removed earlier with new ones.
- With one end secured to the transmission, feed the other end through the firewall, and reconnect it to the back of the speedometer dial.
- Re-install the speedometer dial.
Avoid any sharp folds on the cable. Also, make sure your speedometer cable steers clear of the exhaust since the intense heat can damage the cable. Refer to your vehicle owner manual for specifications that may require you to deviate from these general instructions.