Odometer/spedometer randomly work

I have a 94 nissan sentra, and i’ve been having issues with the spedometer not working. If i’m just starting the car, often it will not register any speed (and hence the odometer registers nothing either). However, if i press up (not in) on the trip mile button, the spedometer will start to work. It will usually only stay working, however, if I’m able to get above 45 mph. otherwise, a small bump in the road will often cause the spedometer to stop working again. Can anyone tell me 1) what is causing this, and 2) how much i should expect to pay to fix it? Thanks!

We also have a 94 Nisan Sentra, and although we don’t have you problem, we can’t get the trip meter to work. So we don’t bother with it. Just subtract readings before and after. But the speedo works OK.

Your problem probably is also in the reset button that sticks out of the dash. A good mechanic should be able to make the speedometer work. If I were you I would not use the reset/trip button again. On a car that age you don’t want to be rebuilding the dash.

Good luck!

It sounds like a worn gear in the speedometer/odometer assembly. This can be fixed but it is labor intensive and therefore very costly. The alternative is speedometer replacement, also costly. Your best bet might be to replace the entire instrument cluster with one from a salvaged car. You might be able to do it yourself.

the trip meter actually works just fine, i use it every time i fill my tank to keep track of my mpg. it just seems that something around the trip meter button behind the dash is somehow affecting the speedometer.

i’m a single girl in her 20’s who knows very little about cars, which is why i wanted to check here first before i took my car to a mechanic, since i’ve been ripped off by them before (i called my dad but he didn’t know what could be causing it either). when you say it’s going to be expensive to fix the assembly, can you give me a rough estimate? Same for the salvaged cluster? i know i wouldn’t be able to change that myself. I can change a tire and check my fluids, that’s about it. :slight_smile:

At this point I am going to refer you to one of the Nissan forums. Not only might someone have specific and useful information regarding this problem, but you can quite likely find some other member who is parting out his car and can sell you the parts you need quite cheap. Click here: http://www.nissanforums.com/

… the only forums I could find on here required that you pay for an answer. I’d rather pay someone to look at it in person than put my question up for auction online.

EDIT: it’s a 1997 nissan sentra, not a 94.

OK, I shoulda given you a link. Try Edmunds, over here: http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/ed_displayMakeRelatedDiscussions!make=Nissan. You will have to register, but it’s totally free.

I had a 1986 Sentra with a similar problem. The speedometer heads on this range of Sentras had a weakness. It’s been a long time, but on mine I remember there was a gear driving a magnetic wheel. The plastic case where the gear/wheel mounted had cracked, allowing oil to leak out, and the speedo would sometimes just not move and sometimes it would work. The only real fix would have been to replace the speedo head. And, yes, the odometer kept working just fine. It was driven off a different gear. When I researched this on the internet at the time I learned it was a very common problem with Sentras of that vintage. I did not find any good cheap fixes. You might find a speedo from a wrecker, but make sure it doesn’t have the same problem.

Probably a loose connection. If you’re lucky, it’s just the data connector on the back of the cluster. If you’re unlucky, it’s a solder joint on the circuit board.

This might be a little outside the box thinking, but you can buy a GPS that shows your speed.