My odometer reads "error"

I am concerned that the mechanic will charge me a lot so i would like some information. ford windstar 2000, last checkup was 6 months ago and it read 37000 miles. this is my second car and not used much

You OWNERS MANUAL will have service interval both by mileage and by time, such as months. Most posters here urge you to go by time if you don’t drive much. However, under certan circumstances you would be doing a lot of needless work.

If you do not drive much. I would go by the severe service intermal for oil & filter changes, such as 3000 miles, for instance. I would not worry about the elapsed time. My mother-in-law has 35,000 miles on her 1994 Pontiac Sunbird, that’s a about 2700 miles per year. It would be ludicrous to service her car on a time basis. So we have her change the oil twice a year, spring & fall, flush the radiator every 3 years, transmision fluid & filter every 3 years, and not a lot else Her mechanic knows the routine, and never overcharges her.

You did not say what the checkup included, we recommend certain activities:

If the transmission fluid & filter have never been changed on your car, you should have it done soon. By a good transmission shop. If the radiator has never been flushed and coolant replaced, you should have it done. By a capable shop. If your spark plugs have never been changed, you should do it in the next year or so. A “checkup” itself should be FREE with any work performed, or you can have a competent friend or relative do it.

We assume you have kept all the service records, so you know what was done and what was not.

Service stations do spring & fall “checkups”; these are no more than expensive oil changes. Any real work required is usually beyond the capability of a service station.

thank you so much. i did not pose my question correctly. i need a new inspection and they have to fix the odometer in order to inspect. i am wondering what they need to do to fix the odometer and how much it will cost. (btw i have all work done on the car according to the manual, i am conservative and take good care of the cars, thanks for this tip).

You could have one of two problems; the sending unit, usually a cable is broken, or the unit in the dashboard is defective. If the speedometer is electronic, and other things in that window work, it is likely the sending unit. If the unit is mechanical, with numbers turning over, it is likely the sending unit. Does the speedometer work? On my old car, that was a cable replacement at a cost of $150. It was at a specialty “Mr. Speedometer” where taxis and police cars are certified. Your mechanic probably can’t fix this effectively, so I would go to the yellow pages and find a speedometer shop. Budget minimal $150, but if the dashboard has to come apart it would be much more.

Does your speedometer work?

yes it worked fine. i was told i needed to take the car to a ford repair shop and they are really giving me the run around and i am in tears. they have had the car since friday morning and say they do not know what is wrong with it. they say it might be the instrument cluster. they are very mean. they say they are not sure because it is giving a certain code which means it may not be the instrument cluster. i said i wanted to know what the code was and he said he would call me back. they also said the car wouldn’t start. first he said it wouldn’t start friday when i brought it in, and then when i asked him why he hadn’t told me that he changed his story to say it wouldn’t start saturday. he says they have put a call into the ford hotline. and have been waiting to hear back. i do not trust this place at all and i will never buy a ford again. please help me. now they say they are reprogramming the processor. then they can diagnose the problem.

The ERROR display on the odometer indicates that the speedometer head is defective, and it requires replacement.


Ask how much money you owe them at this point, and get a detailed description of what they’ve checked and post back. Any and all codes, too. Get number of codes, especially the one’s that start with P. Maybe when you said they were being mean they were just nervous and stressed. They aren’t necessarilly giving you the run around, but hang in there. Just what you need this time of the year. Good luck and post back.