Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Long Does a Speedometer Cable Last?

How Long Does a Speedometer Cable Last?

speedometer cable

Speed limits are there to help provide better safety on the road. They’re not set arbitrarily. You need to know how fast you’re traveling in order to ensure that you’re both safe, and in compliance with the law. The speedometer shows you the information you need.

Older style speedometers use a cable that runs from the back of the speedometer assembly to the transmission. Newer styles don't use a mechanical cable – they’re electronic. The shift from mechanical to electronic was largely done because of the propensity for mechanical speedometer cables to stretch and eventually break, which would render the speedometer itself useless.

In a mechanical speedometer setup, the cable is in use every time your car is in motion. If the wheels are turning, the speedometer cable is working, transmitting motion from the transmission mount to the needle so you know how fast you’re traveling.

There is no particular lifespan for a speedometer cable, and yours could theoretically last the life of the car, particularly if you don’t drive very often. However, if you drive frequently, you’ll put additional wear and tear on the cable and it will eventually stretch, and possibly break.

Of course, if your speedometer is acting up, it could be another component in the system. Mechanical speedometers also include a magnet, springs, pointers and other components that can experience wear and tear related failures.

Given the importance of the speedometer and the chance that it will eventually fail on you, it’s wise to know a few of the most common symptoms to watch for. These include:

  • Speedometer needle bounces
  • Speedometer makes a loud noise, particularly at higher speeds
  • Speedometer doesn’t work at all (most likely a broken cable, but it could be other issues)
  • Speedometer wavers between different speeds (different from bouncing)
  • Speedometer routinely displays speeds higher or lower than true

If you suspect that your speedometer cable is stretched or broken, YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office, inspect the speedometer, and make any repairs to the speedometer cable 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

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...

Related questions

Q: Speedometer and odometer off when starting the car

Hey there. Although we need a bit more information from you to accurately pinpoint the source of your issue, it sounds like this could be due to a damaged or faulty transmission speed sensor. Sometimes the speed sensor, which monitors...

Q: My instrument cluster is not telling me my speed and mileage

It sounds like your speed sensor on the back of the transmission has failed. I would certainly recommend having it professionally tested to verify this diagnosis but this is the most likely cause. If the gauge cluster is still displaying...

Q: Noise at higher speeds, engine revs in park

Hello. The first step would be to have the new tires that you installed inspected for defects and to make sure that they were properly balanced. I would also have the wheel bearings checked as they could be causing the...