A speedometer is one of the more important parts of your car — a safety feature that protects you both from unsafe driving and from the financial repercussions of getting a speeding ticket. You can spend several hundred dollars for a mechanic to install a new device, or you can take a weekend to do the work yourself. This is a relatively complex car repair, and you should not attempt it as your first automotive project.
Step 1: Disconnect your car’s battery to eliminate the risk of electric shock.
Step 2: Locate the instrument cluster for your vehicle. If you don’t know where it is, use the owner’s manual for guidance.
Step 3: Loosen the screws around the instrument cluster, and pull the top down to unclip it from its position
Step 4: Locate the screws holding the instrument cluster in position. Unscrew them using your flathead screwdriver.
Step 5: Pull the instrument cluster out of the dash, disconnecting any wiring connectors as you do so. You may need to use pliers, wrenches and/or a screwdriver for this step.
Step 6: Locate your speedometer in the instrument cluster. Disconnect the lighting connections.
Step 7: Unscrew any screws holding the speedometer in place in your instrument panel. Pull it gently loose.
Step 8: Set the new speedometer in place on the instrument panel. Reattach by screwing it to the mounting points that held the old speedometer in position.
Step 9: Reconnect lighting connections for the speedometer. If the model is compatible with your car, they should connect as the old one did.
Step 10: Reconnect all wiring connectors for the instrument cluster.
Step 11: Slide the instrument cluster back into position. Screw it back in place to hold it in position.
Step 12: Re-set the panel in front of your instrument panel. Screw and seal it back in position.
Step 13: Reconnect your car’s battery, and confirm that the electrics turn on.
Step 14: Use a stopwatch and your odometer to test-drive your car and confirm that the new speedometer is accurate.
- Check with your owner’s manual and the manufacturer’s website before ordering a speedometer or any other part for your car.
- Be sure you understand the various connections for your speedometer before beginning this project. This is precision equipment, and connections will have different parameters on different models, even years of the same model. Since it’s such an important part of your vehicle, you don’t want to leave anything to chance.
- Vehicles with an automatic transmission will also require you to disconnect the gear selection wire. Consult your owner’s manual to locate this component.
Materials and Tools You’ll Need
- Owner’s manual for your vehicle
- New (or refurbished) speedometer
- Socket wrench
- Screwdriver, flat-head
- Pliers or vice grips
- Work gloves