Odometer, 1996 Honda Odyssey

Both the odometer and trip meter on my 1996 Honda Odyssey have quit. The speedometer still works. When I called the local Honda dealership to get an estimate to fix it, I was told that Honda no longer makes the part or the cable, and that I should get one from a junk yard. I am not qualified to do that. Is there some way that I can get the odometer fixed? I do not want to sell the car since there I cannot find another vehicle that seats at least 7, does not require the middle seat to be removed to get maximum cargo space, does NOT have sliding doors, has a “purse hole” between the front seats, and does not cost a fortune on a retiree’s pension. Is it illegal to drive it without a working odometer? The car works fine, has had two oil changes since I discovered (not until March, having had work done at 221,180 milesin January) that the odometer had quit. It squeaks in the rear, but no one has suggested a “lube job”–don’t cars get lubricated any more? Any help will be most appreciated. I live in northern Virginia and have lost confidence in the nearby Honda dealerships, which really seem to be intent on getting me to sell my car and buy a new one.

To my knowledge it is not illegal to drive with the odometer not working. By now you have a good idea what the maintenance intervals should be.

Dealers are not interested in installing used items, so you have to go to an independent (not a chain) garage. Insurance companies often specify used body part for repairing older cars.

Many independent garages can get you a one it from a wrecking (recycling) yard and install it for you. I would get a quote just to see what the charge would be. If too steep, just keep driving as you are. True, you can’t certify the vehicle for sale this way; you would sell it “as is” to the next buyer. Since you want to keep driving the car, I would not worry about it.

I agree, just drive it as is. You’ll keep it until it drops dead, and when it does, a functional odometer won’t add to its scrap value.

Just keep changing the oil every six months, and have the transmission serviced (new fluid and filter, but NOT a “flush” which Honda warns against doing) if you haven’t kept up with the service interval recommended in your manual.

Your vehicle doesn’t have a speedometer cable. The speedometer/odometer are electronically driven from the information from the vehicle speed sensor. More than likely the odometer portion of the driver for both the speedometer/odometer has failed. This means that the instrument cluster must be replace with a used instrument cluster with a known good driver for the speedometer/odometer.


When you sell the car you will have to check a box “true mileage unknown”. As long as you disclose the odo isn’t working or accurate you are ok legally in most states.

Any well recommended inde shop will be happy to fix this for you. They have weekly contacts with the local used parts vendors and their parts network. But get an estimate of the cost first, as the labor part of the bill for fixing this problem may be fairly expensive. You might decide you can live with it being broken.

Lube jobs are no longer common, as the parts that on older cars had zirk fittings for periodic lubes, those parts are now supposedly lubed for the life of the car and have no zerk fittings. But whatever is squeaking on your car can probably de-squeaked. Often it just means that part needs to be replaced. Ask the local inde shop to take a look-see on this too if the squeaks are a concern to you.

Like Tester said above, your car does not use a speedometer “cable”. The system is electronic and uses a sensor in the transmission to determine speed. If the speedometer works then the system is functioning save for the odometer in the instrument cluster.

I wouldn’t take a chance with a used part from a salvage yard. I’d have the cluster removed and sent out for repair. Around here that shouldn’t cost more than about $300.

Or you could just live with it. In Washington (the state, not DC), your car would be exempt from odometer disclosure because of age.

The instrument cluster points have been pretty well covered and while it’s unrelated to the problem at hand, I might bring up the timing belt kit if that has not been done in recent memory.

Any odometer/tripmeter problem takes a back seat to any potential timing belt issues. Just bringing that up because the belt is one of those out of sight, out of mind parts.

If it was mine, I would try replacing the vehicle speed sensor first. The sensor is not particularly expensive if you do it yourself and not that difficult to replace.

The vehicle speed sensor would knock out the speedometer too as Tester said. I can attest to that as I just had to replace mine in our 97 Accord. And it isn’t that easy to change, Honda put it in an awkward place.

The failure is almost always the speed sensor, which Honda still sells, since the same 1 is used on many years and models. There are many inexpensive ones offered on EBAY, I carry 3 with me in my mobile Honda repair business, which I use a 1998 Odyssey for. If I was nice, or mad enough, I might call the parts manager of that dealer and tell him the bad info you were provided, losing him a sale.

@Conoso, if the speedometer still functions properly where does it get the speed signal from?

Yep, foot in mouth, I totally misread the first line that Cricketmoore wrote. Sorry. And looking at Honda’s on line parts catalog (Honda e parts) shows the speedometer/odometer assembly is discontinued. Lots of used parts stores, junk yards, have access to national networks for parts. You should talk to a local place to get you a used instrument panel, I don’t think they would break one up and just sell you the speedometer/odometer part.