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Honda Accord Speedometer Jumping

Q. I have a 1994 Honda Accord EX. It has either a 1.8 or 2.2 liter VTEC engine; 4 cylinder. I bought it in the beginning of September 2003 from a private, local seller. Starting late November I began having problems with the speedometer. It kept on jumping around. For example when I started the engine it would jump to 18 even though I wasn't moving.

Honda Accord Speedometer Jumping

A little while later, two or three minutes, it would show the correct speed. Then it would go back to 18 for a while. It seemed to correct itself for about three minutes when I down shifted from fourth to third. By the way I have an automatic trans so when I say fourth to third it's really high to lower. I looked online and asked around and found out that I might be having a problem with my Vehicle Speed Sensor or the speedometer cable. I still think this is the problem.

It is now the middle of May and I am still having problems. Shifting down does not seem to help anymore. When this first started I was also able to correct it for a longer period of time when driving at higher speeds, above 60 mph. This also does not seem to help now.

I have a cruise control which works fine. Even though the speedometer is telling me I'm going 18, which is where it stays most of the time, the cruise stays at the speed I set it at.

I read that the VSS sends a signal to the cruise box so that it knows how fast it's (the cruise) is going. This would mean I shouldn't be having a problem with the VSS. The speedometer never goes below 18 except when I am going less than 18. It proceeds to bounce from 0 to 18 until I come to a complete stop when it then reads 18.

The only other time it goes to 0 is when the speedometer starts working again. This usually happen when I am going 50 that it drops to 0 and within half a second bounces to 50.

The odometer also does not register unless the speedometer works. Usually I get 50 miles until I fill up again. I fill up on the half tank usually. So given that I should get about 300 miles to the tank the odometer would register about 100 miles more the speedometer works about a third of the time. I think it is closer to 25%.

One last bit of info. I took my car into Carmax to get it appraised and they said the car should have 170,000 miles on it. The odometer reads 81,??? miles right now. I think it should have about 87,000 given the speedometer problem. I checked with Carfax before I bought the car and I did not see that there were problems with the odometer.

Carfax also said that there was one previous owner before they sold it to the guy I bought it from. I checked with Carfax and I think that they only get odometer discrepancies from the DMV. Given this info I have a few questions.

  1. Do I have a problem with my VSS or the speedometer cable?
  2. Are the speedometer and the odometer interconnected?
  3. If question 1 is a yes, how do I install a new VSS?
  4. If I have a problem installing the VSS would you recommend a place near Chicago that would be able to do this type of repair?

Thank you for taking your time to help me with my problem. I hope you will be able to help.


A. Okay, here we go by the numbers.

1. The vehicle does not have a speedometer cable. The odometer and speedometer drive circuits receive pulses from the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) . The pulse rate increases as the car accelerates. The frequency and duration of these input pulses are measured and displayed by the speedometer, odometer, and tripmeter.

2. Yes, directly.

3. Here's how to replace it.

  1. Disconnect the 3-P connector from the vehicle speed sensor (VSS).
  2. Remove the mounting bolts, then remove the VSS.
    NOTE: The VSS drive link is a very small part, be careful not to lose it.
  3. Install in the reverse order of removal.
Honda Accord Speedometer Jumping

4. I don't think you'll have any problem at all replacing it.

Honda Accord Speedometer Jumping

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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