Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Speedometer Cable and Housing Last?

speedometer cable and housing

Your car’s speedometer is a crucial component. It’s responsible for telling you how fast you’re traveling. If you have a newer car, your speedometer is electronic, even if the readout is analog. In an older car, it’s mechanical, which means you have a speedometer cable that attaches to the back of the housing and runs down to the transmission and driveshaft.

The speedometer cable spins in time with the transmission and driveshaft. This motion creates an electromagnetic current that is used by the magnet, hair spring and needle in the speedometer housing to display the speed of your car. Because the speedometer is in use at all times when you’re moving, the cable (and other components in the housing) is subject to a lot of wear and tear.

There are many other things besides age that can affect a speedometer cable. These include kinks and bends in the cable, gearbox oil getting onto the cable, incorrect routing and many more. The housing itself is pretty durable and should last for the life of the vehicle, but the inner workings of the speedometer are another story.

Some cars have speedometer assemblies that can be repaired when something goes wrong. Others have to be replaced entirely (the entire housing, including the cable, the magnet, the pointer and hair spring must be replaced). There is no definitive use life for the cable or the speedometer itself, though. Age, use, and damage all play significant roles here.

Given the fact that a problem with the speedometer cable could render the readout inaccurate at best or inoperative at worst, it’s smart to know a few of the signs and symptoms that point to a problem with the system. These include:

  • The speedometer needle moves back and forth, without indicating a particular speed
  • The needle bounces
  • A loud noise is heard from the speedometer housing at higher speeds
  • At lower speeds, the needle drops to 0 and then back frequently
  • The Check Engine Light is on
  • The speedometer needle vibrates
  • The speedometer doesn’t work at all

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the professionals at YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office, inspect the system and replace the speedometer cable and housing if needed.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
P0477 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Pressure Control Valve Low
P0477 code means that the PCM has detected an abnormally low voltage reading often due to the exhaust back pressure control valve circuit.


Related questions

Q: My alternator was just replaced. Now it's whining and locking on me! Why?

Check the transmission output shaft housing and make sure that it is not cracked or damaged. The vehicle speed sensor is located in the output shaft housing and controls the speedometer. If the housing is binding with the output shaft,...

Q: speedometer tacometer and cruise not working

Hello. If the speedometer, tachometer, and cruise control all suddenly stopped working then the first thing I would look at is the vehicle's fuses. It may be possible that the fuses related to the gauges or cluster has gone out...

Q: Speedometer stop working after part was replaced

The speed sensor that is mounted into the transmission housing on the back side near the firewall. If it was disconnected or damaged during the hose, installation would cause the speedometer and transmission to not work correctly. It may have...