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Is it worth it?

The odometer backlight in my '02 Odyssey is burned out (only 85,000 on it, I’m annoyed). It’s driving me crazy that I can’t see how many clicks I’ve gone except during daylight hours. It’s summer now, but the dark days of January will be here soon enough. I have a repair manual that says I have to remove pretty much every piece of trim in the front passenger compartment in order to pull out the instrument cluster to get to the bulb. I called the dealership about another repair and asked about having this done at the same time, and they don’t want to deal with this. Am I crazy (well, yes, I am, but I’m asking specifically about this issue) to think about doing this myself? If I decide to do it, is it advisable to replace every bulb in the instrument cluster while I’m at it so that I can hopefully never do it again?

Having done this a few times I can tell you that if you’re not crazy now you will be when you’re done. It takes a contortionist worthy of “America’s Got Talent” to do this job.

And I offer a tip. When I did mine years back on my '89 Toyota pickup I bought the bulbs listed in the bulb catalog. They were clear. I thought nothing of it and proceeded. When I got the old bulbs out, they were coated green. I finshed the job and discovered that clear bulbs washed out the instuments at night. So, I went back and bought coated “mood bulbs” in green…and redid the entire job.

I’d recommend that you buy both in preparation for the task. It’s worth the few extra bucks not to have to do it all over again.

I agree with mountainbike. It is a frustrating job so it might be better if you just keep a small flashlight at your disposal. The new LED barrel type multicolor flashlights are cheap and bright. You may find you can’t live without several of them stashed away here and there.

I’ve done this too. Time, diligence, care, and patience (next to the manual) is mostly what is required. And I would certainly replace all of the bulbs. Nothing like having to do it all over again, eh mountainbike?

Just tape or velcrow a light to the steering column,you can tape a piece of colored plastic of your choice to the end

It’s a lesson one does not forget…

Some things never change, some get better some get worse.

Cars are better over all, but the dash area is not. I can remember back in the 60’s working on a dash was a real pain. Today’s are so bad and I am so old, I would not consider trying it. OK I might consider it and I might start it, but I doubt if I would finish it.

Good Luck

If you have a repair manual and are willing to follow the instructions, by all means, replace the bulb.

You’re right, the dark days of winter are coming, and you’ll want to be able to see all of the instrument panel.

Wipe the new bulb with alcohol (the drug store kind, not beer) before you install it. A fingerprint on the bulb will significantly shorten its life.

You might want to replace all of the bulbs while you have the instrument cluster out.

If I were going to do this job, I would want Honda’s service manual, not a Haynes or Chilton manual.

You can find pirated copies of these manuals sold on CD ROM disks for $13.70 with shipping:

I called Honda to report the pirating of their copyrighted materials, but they don’t seem to care. I also reported this to eBay, and they don’t seem to care either.

Here is the real deal for $125 with shipping if you want to buy a legit copy: