Honda dealer repair quote legit?

Have a speedometer (and associated dials) that’s going out - dealer says there’s a faulty connection, and that he’ll have to order a new dial(s) piece for my dash and install for 360. This is on a 98 Honda Civic that’s had regular maintenance and under 100K miles. Is this price a fair/legit one, or should I take it elsewhere (heck for 360 I’m almost tempted to get in there are fix the “loose connection” myself, but I know that’s probably not the wisest approach!)

Are the instruments themselves failing, or is it just the lights that let you see them at night? I have owned several Hondas and the instrument lights ALWAYS fail.

Taking a dash apart can be a nightmare, but there is no reason that the dealer has to do it. Get a quote from an independent.

Lights are fine. Speedometer sometimes “sticks” at around 20 mph, sometimes not. When it’s not working, miles traveled are not registering either (no mileage calculations)…


Depending on which state you live in and how thorough their inspection process is, I would just drive it myself until it breaks (and then probably keep driving).

This does not mean that you should do this, as it may be illegal to drive without a working speedo.

The repair sounds like the dealer is telling you they need to replace the dash instrument “cluster”. The whole thing comes out as a unit. The loose connection if it “inside” the cluster is likely not repairable. The cluster is sealed and full of circuit boards and other wiring. There could be repair options that you’d send the old cluster to for “reconditioning”. Best bet could be to buy a used cluster from a salvage yard, you might even find one on e-bay.

$360 doesn’t sound too bad for a dealer repair. If you can find a used dash cluster a car audio electronics shop might be able to install it in an hour or less. Audio shops are good with working around dashboards and car interiors without damaging the clips, fasteners, plastics, and leathers.

You could buy a GPS. It will give your speed and totalize your driving distance.

The dealer will be able to transfer the odometer reading to the new cluster…Not so with a used one…

80% of the time, electronics problems ARE just bad connections but there is little money to be made repairing bad connections…

No reason to take a 14 year old Civic to the dealer. I’d try elsewhere. The dealer is just trying to maximize his profit, not help you at the lowest cost.

The price sounds reasonable for a dealer price, but dealers parts are often twice the price of aftermarket parts or more.

I don’t know how the '98 Civic is set up, but on newer cars the instrument cluster is very easily removed as a unit. It’s just a plug in set of gages, driven electronically by the ECU rather than by a speedo cable. If that’s true of yours (your dealer parts department can look it up for you), They can print you an “exploded view drawing” of the installation. You may be able to remove the cluster, remove the “lens” plastic, remove the needle, blow out any contamination from the spaces around the needle, and reinstall the needle. That might fix it.

Reinstalling the needle requires plugging the cluster i with the lens off, turning the key to “ON”, and setting the needle at zero.