How to Fix an Odometer That Doesn’t Spin

How to Fix an Odometer That Doesn’t Spin


Hey guys, ChrisFix here! Today I’m gonna show you how to fix an odometer that doesn’t work. So I just got the DriftStang running, I got it registered, and now I’m out for a ride. And one thing I immediately noticed is neither the trip odometer or the regular odometer are working. They’re not spinning at all. Since this car is new to me, I’m not completely sure if it has 120,000 miles or more. But one thing I know for sure, is I wanna fix the odometer, so it works. Now, this fix I’m about to show you applies to pretty much any car with an analog dash, with these numbers that actually physically spin. Digital dashes are a little bit different, and there are two common reasons why your odometer stops working. Back in the old days, they actually had a spinning cable that was connected to either the wheel or the transmission and that spinning cable would turn the odometer so you can get your mileage. And I’m sure you’ve seen it in the movies, where someone puts the car up on jack stands and runs the car in reverse to roll back the odometer. Well, that was actually something that could happen back in the day. But today’s vehicles work completely different. They use something called a “vehicle speed sensor”, which is this right here and it converts a mechanical signal, so this spins to an electrical signal, which runs up to the dashboard, and then turns that odometer. This works for digital and analog gauges. So if you put the car in reverse, it actually increases the mileage on the car, not decreases. And like anything else, since this is mechanical, and this spins, the speed sensors wear out. Usually, when they wear out, you might get a check engine light, but, more importantly, your speedometer and odometer won’t work. So if your speedometer and odometer don’t work, you wanna replace the vehicle’s speed sensor. And the vehicle’s speed sensor is located underneath the vehicle. So if we slide from the front of the car, past the oil pan, back to the transmission, if we look in the rear of the transmission, you could find the vehicle’s speed sensor. Right back here. And it’s easy to replace, with just one bolt holding it in. So, replacing the vehicle’s speed sensor is a common fix, when both the speedometer and odometer are not working. But in our case, the speedometer works perfectly fine, it’s just the odometer that’s not working. And the reason why the odometer stops working is because there’s these gears that actually spin the odometer, and these gears get brittle, because they’re just made of plastic, and the teeth break off, and then there’s nothing to actually spin the odometer. So, let’s remove the gauge cluster, and replace these gears. Although this job might seem intimidating, it’s really simple to do. All you need is a flat head screwdriver, a T15 and a T20 Torx I have on a screwdriver end, and then, of course, you want your new gears. These gears come with a lifetime warranty, they’re real inexpensive, and they use a better quality plastic, so that hopefully you’ll never have to do this again. And since we’re gonna go behind the dash and remove the dashboard, I’m gonna change out the old incandescent dash lights to these new LED dash lights, which will probably never burn out. So, let’s grab our tools and begin! Anytime you’re working with electrics in the car, such as removing your dashboard, you wanna make sure you disconnect the negative terminal on the battery, that way nothing shorts out by mistake. After the negative terminal’s removed, we can go and remove or dashboard. Inside the car, there are two bolts that we need to unscrew at the top of the dash. There’s one… … and there’s two. Now, just in case you don’t have a torx bit that fits this, you can use a seven millimeter socket which also works as well. Next, grab the headlight button, and pull it outwards. And then turn it, so that you see the slot in the side of the plastic. Now, stick your flat head screwdriver into that slot, and pry on that clip and pull outwards, which will remove the switch. Now, we’re gonna remove this plastic bezel that covers the gauges. In the left corner and in the right corner are clips, so what you wanna do, is you wanna get your fingers behind the bezel, and with a firm pull, pop the clips that hold that in. And the bezel will come right out. With the bezel removed, we have four screws we need to remove. There’s one down here. There’s one up there. And if we go to the other side. There’s one down there. And one up there. Again, use your T20 or your 7mm. There’s one. And two. Now go to the other side. There’s three. And four. With all four bolts out, gently pull the gauge cluster out far enough, so that you can disconnect the back, where the wiring harness is. Now that should give us room to get to the other one. Same thing, it has a little clip that you have to press in, and then pull it right out. Now we can remove the whole gauge cluster. All right! With our gauges removed, we can put them on a workbench, make it easier to work on. Now, all these gold colored screws on the outside have to be removed. You can use a T15 torx or a 5.5mm socket. And with the last screw removed, now we wanna gently remove this cover and place it off to the side. If you have any dust between the gauges and this plastic piece, you can get some compressed air, and blow the dust out. I don’t know about you, but I hate when there’s dust behind the clear plastic covering the gauges. Now there’s three sections of gauges that we need to pop out, so grab a screwdriver, and carefully pry upwards. That should come right out, you can see these pins plugged right into there. Next there’s one more gold screw on this side that we have to remove. Good. And now pry the gauges on the right side up, and now we can remove our middle gauges. Just. Like. So. With the middle gauge cluster completely removed, we can flip it over, and you can see the gear, which is located right down here. So, what happens is, the speed sensor’s signal comes in here, and it tells the motor how fast to spin. And that motor has a worm gear on it, which is this, right here, and that worm gear spins this driven gear, the black driven gear, right there, which spins the red gear, which gives us our mileage. Next, we wanna remove this motor right here. Grab your flat head screwdriver, you can see this little plastic clip right here, in the blue, you just wanna pop that up, just a little bit, and then twist your motor, and that will allow the motor to come out. Now, to get the black gear out, just get your flat head screwdriver underneath it, just like this, and pop it out. And check out the difference. So, the black gear is completely busted, it has teeth missing, this piece of plastic is cracked, so we’re gonna replace it with a new white gear. Just wanna make sure that you fish all the old pieces of gear outta here, so that doesn’t jam up the new gear. And look at how soft this plastic is, it’s just coming apart in my hand. And once we’re sure the old pieces are outta here, we can grab our new white gear and that’s just gonna slip right in. Kinda clicks in there. Good. And you can see that meshes with the red gear, so that’s good. Now we wanna remove the old worm gear, just gonna get a flat head screwdriver, should help pry that off, and you can pull off the rest of it away. We can get our new worm gear and that’s gonna slide right on. And with this, you wanna push the worm gear almost all the way to the base, but you don’t want to touch the base, you want it to give some space. Little bit more, and… good! So you can see how there’s a gap in between there, this way the gear won’t bind. Now we can just push this in here, give it a little turn as it goes in, turn the motor… All right! With our new gear in there and everything in place, let’s put this back together. So, we’ll start with our speedometer and tachometer, and all these gauges, they just push right in. They have these prongs, that fit right in here. So, just put it in place, and push down until it clicks. Same with the left side. And the right side. Good. Now, with everything pushed into place, you wanna make sure that we don’t forget to put in one of the screws right there. Because once you put the plastic cover on here you can’t get to this screw. Now, you guys already saw we did this whole job with a screwdriver. But to make things go a little bit faster… I’m gonna be using an electric screw gun. [screw gun noise] With that screw screwed in, now we can get our plastic cover. And not only did I dust out the cover with air before, but I also took a microfiber cloth and gently cleaned the surface here. You wanna be careful, it’s soft plastic, so it easily scratches. Don’t use a paper towel. Make sure you use warm water, and I made this thing look brand spanking new, check that out. That’s gonna look real nice once in the car. And that just sits right on top. And then, there’s eight remaining screws that go around the edge at the black plastic. And we’re gonna screw those in. Only snug these up and don’t over tighten them. Because we’re only screwing into plastic. Now we’re almost done! Let’s flip it over and change out the bulbs. The five black knobs are the large bulbs that provide the back lighting to the cluster. The beige knobs are the dummy lights, like the low coolant, low oil, or ABS light, but we’re just changing the larger bulbs to LEDs. So all you need to do is twist the knob and the bulb pops right out. Now, with all our bulbs out, let’s replace it with nice new LED bulbs. The LED bulb is similar in size to the stock bulb, so it should fit. And all you do is pop out the old bulb, and push in the new bulb. Now, one thing you wanna be mindful of, when you’re using LED bulbs, is that, in many cases, polarity matters. So when you have it plugged in, and you turn it on, it turns on in this direction, but if you unplug it, and you just flip it around, and plug it in, it might not light up. In this case, it does light up, so these bulbs, the polarity doesn’t matter. But in many LED bulbs, polarity does matter, so after you install them all, you’re gonna have to plug it in, and make they all light up. If they don’t light up, take it out, flip it around, and put it back in. With our old bulbs removed, and our new LED bulbs put in, let’s install them into our dashboard. And the new bulb gets pushed right in, make sure you have the clearance. Good. Turn it, so it clicks right into place. And do the same exact thing for the other four bulbs. All right, we’re ready to install this and see if the odometer works and see how the LEDs look. So, let’s go install it into the car. Installation is the opposite of removal. Connect the two electrical pigtails to the gauges, slide the gauges into the dash, and screw in each of the four screws, so they’re snug. A drill really makes this job go a lot faster. The black plastic bezel just slides into place, and then you have to push it so that it clicks in. And now we have two more screws holding in the bezel. Good. And one less thing, our headlight knob. You just push that in until it clicks. Just like that. All right, now that looks great! We got our new LEDs in there, and more importantly, we got our new gears, which replace this old broken one, so let’s see if the odometer works. Now, we just need to plug in the battery, and let’s go out for a ride! [key turning] [dashboard beeps] [engine start up] [running engine noise] Out for a little cruise around town, and it looks like we fixed the odometer! Check out this time lapse. Both the odometer and trip odometer are working, and little by little, the DriftStang is getting fixed up. All right, now that worked perfectly! And hopefully if you have an odometer problem, now you know how to fix it. If the video was helpful, remember to give it a thumbs up. Also, if you’re not subscribed, consider subscribing! Stay tuned for more drift car videos. Things are just heating up! If you wanna follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, I’ll post up some pictures of the LED gauge lights the night this video gets published, I’ll also link it in the description.

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. This guy is full of shit!!
    He said that if your odometer and your speedometer didn’t work it is your speed censer that is broken witch was my problem so I personally put a new speed censer in my car and it still doesn’t work so I suggest you un sub from this guy because he is full of shit!!

  2. When you get state inspections the mileage is recorded so you should be able to look up the state inspection record for the mileage.

  3. I have other issue the Revolution per minute sometimes it goes pass the red line and gets stuck there sometimes it works how do I find the problem ??

  4. Hey Chris,

    How do you remove the gauge cluster on older cars with spedo cable? is it OK to remove it? How to do it without damage?

  5. Thanks Chrisfix, was able to fix my odometer and change lights to led on my 98 mustang I just bought as a toy…. !!

  6. I had the same problem in my 97 Explorer. For me the small plastic mount that holds the motor that spins the numbers broke off and the motor fell into the cluster. Easy epoxy fix for me lol

  7. Anyone have any idea if a 1997 Ford ranger would store the mileage on the ecm? Looking at buying one with a broken odometer and looking to get the mileage set right.

  8. Just to be specific, those are SMD LED bulbs, not original LED bulbs. SMD LED is far superior to original LED in every way.

  9. Hi Chrisfix…I have the same type of mustang. I replaced the gears and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time it doesn't. I tried going back in and re-set the gears but same results. Now I don't think it's turning at all. Any thoughts?

  10. I have a 2007 mustang and I was switching the fuses to see if it would fix my whipers but it didn’t instead my mustang won’t start any more it wont even crank I check the starter and it’s good same for my battery what could be the issue can someone help me

  11. My 2000 Honda Civic odometer didn’t work so I had to repeatly push the trip odometer button and it got unstuck and works fine since. That was a couple of years ago.

  12. Hey Chris i hope you might point me in the right direction

    i recently bough a nissan 100nx because ist my dream car

    ad fisrt rpm meter thit not work fully in the end i gife a incorret ready if the engine runs on ilde it shows 2000 rpm while the moter sounds like 1000 rpm
    while on my fist trip back the the km/h meter died onl the last few miles i try to clean the plug with contact spray no luck and even the blinker died on me i have bin googleling for hours with no suc6
    i hope you might be able to gife me a hint

    p.s srry for the bad writing and english

  13. Great quality videos, narration that makes sense and to the point. You have saved me so much time, money and stress. Where do I send the check? Thank you.

  14. What if the speedometer is bouncy? It does work but every time the kph/mph goes up it's like bouncing or shaking up and down

  15. U re freaking genio master….greating from Guatemala 🇬🇹🇬🇹🇬🇹🇬🇹🇬🇹🇬🇹👊👊👊👊

  16. Im having the same issues with my 2012 Altima. All guages are working fine except trip odometer… dont know how to fix that. Chris … any opinion?

  17. Yes!! The first guy who actually said incandescent for those 192 bulbs instead of halogens….nice vid as always CF 🤙

  18. I noticed the old odometer/trip gears were lubricated, its probably what softened them up over time, but you installed the new ones dry, still should last you quit a few years still…. oh, and that MILWAUKEE 12v cordless drill(fuel/m12/brushless), i have the same and its a beast in such a small package.

  19. Sir please tell me how to change led bulbs of suzuki ritz car… It has an digital meter plzz tell my English was not good and i am from india

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