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Erratic Speedometer 1998 Civic DX

Greetings. I have a 98 Civic with 218,000 miles. It’s my around town car (the bigger more expensive car sits in the garage most of the time). The speedometer whacked out about a month ago. The needle will sit and quiver on 20 mph when I start it, when I’m going 60, and at stop lights. Suddenly, with no apparent reason the needle will jump to to the correct speed, work correctly and then as suddenly drop back to 20. I replaced the speed sensor (an easy job) and that didn’t fix it. What else might be going on? Wiring harness? What would I do with the wiring? I do a lot of low level maintenance myself; oil, plugs, brakes, struts, but I’ve never done wiring work. Thanks.

I would guess the instrument cluster will have to be replaced. If this happened to my 1998 Civic DX with 204,000 miles, I would learn to live with it.

The problem is with the speedometer drive circuit in the instrument cluster.

A trip to the auto recycler for a used instrument cluster fixed the wife’s 97 Accord when her speedometer did the same thing.


Thanks for the suggestions. Is replacing the instrument cluster an labor & time intensive project?

You should be able to do it yourself, if you’re willing to take the dash apart. Usually a few phillips screws, and maybe a few Torx bolts will get it apart.

The first time you do it, it feels kind of frightening pulling the parts out that are help in by clips. They seem like they’re almost going to break, and then they pop and come out.

You should either get a maintenance manual or see if you can find a description with pictures on line on how to do it. Really, though, a couple pieces of plastic, few screws, and it’s out. Just be careful with the wiring, as there will be 2, 3 or even 4 connections on the back of the cluster.