2003 Honda Accord Sdn - Magnetic Field Disrupting Compass

Up until recently I owned a 1994 Chevy Lumina Euro and my cheap little suction cup compass worked really well stuck to the windshield of this car. But now I have a 2003 Honda Accord EX, V6 and the same compass will not work INSIDE my car. The Honda has a stereo system and a CD player, the Lumina just had a Boze radio and cassette player. Do I need to find a scientist to get an answer to this question? Love your show!

No. The Honda is creating a magnetic field inside the car that is affecting your compass. It doesn’t matter what kind of radio you have. There are a bunch of things that can create those fields.

And how long have you had this compass?? I haven’t seen one of those in the parts store for ages!

Londi, the show has been reruns for years and very few stations are even broadcasting the reruns now. Also Tom passed away , RIP .
Amazon has a selection of vehicle compass so you might be able to find one there that will work or maybe the one you have might need a different location .

I still love the show, even in reruns.

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You didn’t ask a question.

If you’re wondering if this is unexpected, the answer is no. You’re inside a large metal object full of electronic devices and wiring, so anything can happen.

As already mentioned, you can try other compasses in other locations, but you might end up just having to rely on your phone or your navigation system if you have one.

The magnets in the dash speakers/tweeters will interfere with the compass operation.

I wonder if it was acceptable to enjoy the show re-runs 10 years ago?

You’ve re-discovered what the famous scientist Oersted discovered in 1820, current flowing in a wire produces a magnetic field. In modern times there’s a product called mu metal that would reduce magnetic field emitted from the car’s wiring. You could give that a try.

Another idea is to buy a new compass, but one designed for light aircraft. It probably already has some magnetic shielding. Air Craft Spruce is one vendor.

I seem to be getting flack for saying “I love the show” as if I think it’s still airing. Should have been succinct and said “I used to love the show.”

To George, as you suggested I’ll Google my metal.

Sure, I can buy a new compass for my car…and I just wanted to understand why it wouldn’t work. Makes total sense to me.

So, thank all of you for your responses. It was interesting.


Typo… Not my metal…mu metal.

That guy confronts everyone that enjoys the radio show, he might be employed by CarTalk to chase people away.

I still listen to the show, and I still love it.

The show is still airing on some radio stations here and there, but most of us continue to listen via the Best of Car Talk podcast. Click cartalk.com above left, then click “our show”, then “podcast”. I believe the “best of” show continues to be aired on satellite radio service also.

btw, the current podcast “Best Of” shows are not total “re-runs”. There is usually some new, never aired content. First Ray continues to add some short interludes himself; and the producers will edit-in never aired calls from the show’s vault.

Gee I thought you were talking about my show but I don’t have a show. Are you sure your new car doesn’t have a built in compass? Most cars do now. You might have to look a little bit since they aren’t always obvious. I got totally lost the other day with road construction and no detour signs and the compass was helpful for the ten mile loop to make it back to square one so I feel your pain.