Tip & How-To about Dodge Caravan

Speedometer problems? Try this money-saving tip first!

With today's cars and trucks, your speedometer's reference doesn't come from a spinning cable connected to the transmission anymore. It comes from a pair of wires coming from a sensor connected to the transmission. This is your vehicle's speed sensor.

In some applications, there are 2 of them, but we'll concentrate for now on the transmission's output shaft speed sensor. This is the one that is cruicial in telling you how fast you're going down the road, courtesy of your vehicle's computer reading its signal and then translating that information to your speedometer. The computer also uses this signal in order to help determine fuel delivery, ignition advance, transmission shift points, etc., based on the vehicle's speed.

That being said, it's an important little sensor! And might I also say that it is fairly easy to change and is fairly inexpensive. But let's look at your speedometer. Are you getting erratic (jumpy) readings on it? Is it just stuck at 0? Is it wildly inaccurate? Is your computer-controlled transmission shifting erratically as well? Chances are, if you have one or more of these problems, you may want to first look at replacing your output shaft speed sensor. If your vehicle has 2 (input and output shaft sensors,) replace them both. They're inexpensive and chances are, if one is bad, the other has aged the same way, so it will be beneficial for you to change them as a pair.

How inexpensive are these do you ask? Well, at most auto parts stores, you'll be looking at spending no more than around $15-$20 each, Depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle of course. Also depending on your vehicle will be the amount of time for replacing it (them.) I recently replaced both sensors on a '98 Dodge Caravan and it took me around 15 minutes or so, and I wasn't in a huge hurry to finish, either. Again, depending on your vehicle, the location of your speed sensor(s) will vary. The Dodge Caravan's were located on the driver's side, way at the front of the transmission, allowing very easy access.

So, if you have any of the above-mentioned problems and care to tackle the problem on your own, do so before going out and buying a new instrument cluster. (Yes, I've seen many problems on here where the automotive technician was quick to replace the cluster, costing the customer hundreds of dollars, and ending up with the same problem!)

I wish you safe driving in the coming seasons and most of all, I wish you good driveability!

Kind Regards,

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1 Answer

The speedometer bounces and sometimes does'nt work at all, and odometer hasn't changed sametime

Right off the bat it sounds like a broken speedometer cable. As the cable spins from the gearing of the transmission it is clicking against the broken part of the cable running to the speedometer gauge. The frictional clicking is what's causing your needle to bounce around. Since the cable is probably broken and cannot spin long enough to move the odometer numbers. Raise your vehicle safely and disconnect the speedometer from the transmission. then see if you can pull the cable out of the housing. If only a portion of the cable comes out, then that should answer your question. Be careful when you disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission as not to lose any small pieces that cause the drive mechanism to work.

May 08, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Why would speedometer needle bounce

The needle bounce may be related to the cable, it may be broken or just needs lube.
Remove the speedometer cable, locate the connection at the transmission and unscrew it, then locate the connection at the rear of the speedometer, remove the cable from the car, pull cable out of plastic housing and see if it comes out in two parts, if it does then cable needs replacing.
You will see the cable has two ends, is the cable is broke replace it, a broken cable will sometimes spin and not spin causing needle to jump, also a binding cable will do the same, if cable is good then spray wd40 in to cable and spin by hand. note; if cable is binding you will need to work it so it does not break. good day

Apr 29, 2012 | 1984 Toyota Celica Supra

1 Answer

The speedometer in my 2002 chevy prizm stopped working. From what I can tell that is the only issue. I'm not sure if it is a fuse or a relay or something different altogether. It does tend to just bounce around speratically but doesn't tick away the miles. Help me if you can, thank you.

Sounds like a broken speedometer cable. The bounce around erratically, because the cable is still connected under the hood and still spinning. Even though its broken the two ends make contact and still causes some movement of the speedometer.

Usually runs from the transmission through the firewall and into the back of the gauge cluster.

Sep 24, 2011 | 2001 Chevrolet Prizm

1 Answer

speedometer doesn`t work anymore , speedometer replacement

Probably a bad cruise transducer that caused the cable to break from the transmission.

Apr 10, 2011 | 1983 Pontiac Bonneville

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