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Should I fix a Saturn odometer?

We have a 2001 Saturn L100 sedan. The odometer broke a few months ago. No local/independent mechanic will touch it. We called GM. They charge $200 for the part plus $300 for labor. We are trying to decide if it is worth fixing. Is there anything wrong with leaving it broken? And if we do fix it, is there anywhere to go to do it cheaper?

I would not bother unless it is required to pass state inspection.

I agree. The odometer is not an essential part of the vehicle. If it runs, it runs. The age and condition of the vehicle should tell you all you need to know.

How many independents did you try? Maybe there’s something I don’t know about these cars, but usually it’s a simple enough repair. An independent mechanic should be able to get a used instrument cluster, which should reduce the parts cost considerably.

I to a certain extent agree that an odometer is not essential, but I think that having one is helpful enough that I might consider even paying the dealer to do it. You’ve got to figure on the one hand if you’re going to keep the car much longer, you’ll want to know roughly how many miles you’re putting on it (and does this car have a timing belt?). Maybe you can work out some sort of system of estimating your mileage and putting it in a log or something. And of course if you go to sell the car any time soon, not having a working odometer is going to be a big problem.

We’ve been to 4 places. The last one said he would have to remove the dashboard to access the cluster (Is that right?), then said we should just go to the dealer.

Any suggestions on where to get a used instrument cluster? The local junkyard didn’t have one for our model.

How many miles were on the odometer when it stopped working? I ask for two reasons. One is that if this car doesn’t have many miles on it, it might be worth the investment. The other reason is that without an odometer, you might be likely not to maintain the vehicle at the proper intervals. If this car has a lot of life left in it, this could shorten the vehicle’s life. How much longer do you intend to keep the car?

What about a used instrument cluster from a junkyard? Or, just spending the money on a new GPS unit to keep track of mileage? I think a lot of it depends on how many miles your car has, if an odometer is required to pass inspection or renewal and how much it will bug you to not have a working odometer.

I’m assuming your speedometer and the rest of the cluster still works, if not, then it should definitely be replaced.

I own a '92 Crown Vic and the odometer stopped working several years ago. Somehow, I have survived without it…The only downside might be, if your car is subject to any sort of state inspection, the constant odometer reading, year after year, will trigger a “Mileage tampering” flag on the inspection report. But on a low-value car, nobody cares…Few states will flunk you because of this.

If an odometer is deemed necessary by you then check eBay or Craigslist for a used one. You can often find them on there cheap because most used instrument clusters are not worth that much money anyway. Even a salvage yard should be no more than 40 or 50 bucks.