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1991 Honda Accord EX WAGON Odometer stopped working, S light flashes, Check Engine light sometimes

Hello! I am a grad student hoping my car will hang in there till graduation next year. I have about 227,000 miles on my Honda Accord Wagon and recently the odometer stopped working, S light started flashing, and the check engine light came on. This only happens sometimes, and the check engine light does not always come on when the S light flashes and odometer stops working. I’ve continued driving the car to see what happens and so far, no problems have come up. I have driven another 1000 miles and am hoping I can just ignore the problem and continue driving the vehicle since I am not in a position to fix it or get a new car.

Recently I passed my California emissions test and she seems to be running smooth. Any thoughts or warnings as to why sometimes these signals happen?

I have to drive with GPS on all the time to know my speed, but other than that I feel OK.


I’d say the vehicle speed sensor . . . . which may be located on the automatic transmission . . . is faulty

Had the same problem on my sister-in-law’s 1990 Accord EX. It was a LONG time ago, so I’m not entirely sure anymore where the sensor was located

I do remember it was very easy to replace, and not that expensive

You have 2 of the classic symptoms . . . odometer AND speedometer stop working correctly

The flashing S light…if Im not mistaken points directly to a problem with the transmission. More specifically…the speed sensor on the trans. You say the odometer stopped working…does the speedo still function? If so that can mean the motor inside the cluster for the odometer stopped working…or it stopped receiving signal from the trans computer and has no idea how many RPMS are taking place…so it cannot feed the odometer motor in the cluster.

I know this is OBD1 so you need to bridge that wire to force the computer to Morse Code its CEL engine codes to you…but you need those codes… It may tell you precisely where to focus your attention.

If it were 96 and newer you can just hook up a code reader…but 91 wasnt so slick yet. But the codes are there and trying to tell you something. Make the computer spit out those codes…and have fun trying to read them in Morse Code… I always enjoyed that…you usually need to watch it signalling to you many times before you get them correct. Have fun and let us know the codes…they are Golden at this moment.

The most common failure mode is the small speed sensor on the trans…its electronic and has a plastic gear on its base that meshes with the transmission…one 10mm bolt hold it in place and one little electric plug…pretty EZ Sometimes they just die…and sometimes the plastic gear is all stripped out… Pull it and see… Have a replacement handy if you do…thats suspect numero UNO


“does the speedo still function?”

“I have to drive with GPS on all the time to know my speed”



This may be the sensor you need, but you’d better look it up yourself

If I were you, I’d also make sure the sensor connector is plugged in all the way, and that there’s no obvious rat damage

Yeah @db4690 I caught that late in the game after I finished writing…didn’t feel like correcting it…besides I went along the path of his speedo not working… All the info i provided is geared with that in mind

Id replace the trans speed sensor… at least pull the codes first anywho…


If I was in the OP’s position with a 1991 anything with 270000 miles and had a emissions sticker good for a year I would just drive on until it quits. No matter how much money you throw at it the value will stay the same.

The funny thing . . . I remember how to retrieve OBD1 codes on Toyotas, but not Hondas :frowning:

Considering how cheap that sensor is, I would go ahead and replace it

It’s a lot more convenient looking at the speedometer in the cluster, versus that tiny display on the gps, which isn’t even directly in front of your face

Here’s how to pull the OBDI codes on a Honda.


He has the classic symptoms for the VSS. Its located on top of the transmission near the engine on the firewall side. Its easy to replace but it is a tight fit to get your arm down there.

Not that I really care but I don’t see how my previous post was off topic. I just stated what I would do and if the OP wants to ignore it that is their choice.

This was the poster’s only question:

Any thoughts or warnings as to why sometimes these signals happen?

Well, I guess I’m in good company… my first thought was the VSS.

Since I am an Off Topic PRO…who said you were off topic? lol…

“Any thoughts or warnings”

Well the computer is comparing engine RPM with the output of the VSS to determine the health of the transmission, slipping clutches etc. Without the input from the VSS, your D4 light is probably blinking which would tell an under-trained or unscrupulous transmission tech that the transmission is shot and needs to be replaced. That would be a waste of money.