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Speedometer cable replacement
Speedometer cable replacement cost
Has your speedometer (speedo) been acting weird? Perhaps you have a feeling the speed is different from what the speedo is telling you, or there is a squealing noise coming from the dash. Sometimes, the speedo on a car can be damaged and will need replacing. A damaged speedo is a major problem. If you can’t rely on what it is telling you then the potential for amassing speeding fines becomes very real!
Before you go ripping out and replacing the speedo, make sure it is the speedo cable that has failed. Have an AutoGuru mechanic take a look to be sure. If it does need to be replaced, fitting a new cable will cost around $60 to $285 depending on the vehicle make and model and how difficult it is to get access behind the speedo gauge.
Some vehicles include the speedo housing and cable all in one unit, with the housing being part of the assembly. Also worth noting is that not all vehicles have a mechanical speedo cable. Some cars utilise a sensor that electronically transmits data to get a speed reading.
What is a speedo cable?
A speedo is a gauge that identifies the speed a vehicle is travelling. A mechanical speedo uses a gear assembly to turn the speedo cable which then turns the instrumentation in the dash. This works via a system of spinning magnets, magnetic fields, eddy currents and torque. Basically, the faster the car moves the more torque on the magnet which tells the speedo how far to move the dial. With the eddy current type of speedo, you won’t register a speed when driving in reverse.
The speedo cable runs from the gauge to the transmission. There is a hole through the firewall of the car through which it passes. The cable is needed to convert the spinning motion of the axle to a dial motion, precise to the speed travelled.
It’s worth noting that a speedo is only accurate if the same size wheels and tyres are fitted from manufacture. Any changes to the diameter size of wheels and tyres can affect the speedo as it is geared based on how many revolutions the axle turns in relation to distance travelled.
Symptoms the speedo cable needs replacing
- Speedo dial doesn’t work
- Damaged cable
- Speedo dial jumps around and erratic
- Noises behind the dash
- Speedo shows incorrect speed
- Check engine light is on
How is a speedo cable replaced?
- Locate and remove speedo cable from the transmission
- Access the rear of the speedo gauge/instrument panel
- Remove speedo cable from the rear of speedo gauge/instrument panel
- Push or pull speedo cable through the firewall
- Compare new cable with old to check the same
- Position the new cable through the firewall
- Fit new cable to the speedo gauge/instrument panel
- Fit end of the cable to the transmission
- Test drive and check operation
Tips to remember
In some vehicles, the speedo cable is part of an assembly that includes the speedo housing so the complete assembly will need to be replaced.
Some vehicles utilise an electronic sensor to send data to the speedometer and don’t use a speedo cable
Make sure there are no unusual bends in the cable. It should be kink free.
How important is replacing the speedo cable?
Traffic fines can be quite expensive and losing too many points off your licence can see you being suspended from driving. Since speed is known as the major factor in road accidents, you will want the speedo to be accurate.