Speedometer Working Intermittently

I have a 1999 Subaru Legacy sedan (2.2 liter) with about 178K miles on it. Recently the speedometer has stopped working intermittently. I can’t find a pattern to it, though it does sometimes seem to start or stop working after braking. And the odometer doesn’t work when the speedometer isn’t working, which is a problem for keeping to a maintenance schedule.

The problem seems to have begun after having my brakes done and tires rotated-- is that even possible?

What could be the problem and how expensive is a repair? Thanks everyone

The next time the speedometer/odometer stop working, give the top of the dash a good slap.

If they start working again, it could be because there’s a poor connection to the speedometer head, or the speedometer head is worn out.


Ok, will do. Thanks!

This would not be related to a tire rotate.
The cluster would be electronic and a 16 yr old vehicle will develop issues.
More than likely the vehicle needs a rebuild cluster installed.

I see. Any idea how much that would cost?

Unlikely to be related to the tire/brake job. The speedo sensor is usually in the transmission and there’s either a wire or a cable from there that goes to the dashboard where the speedometer is located. You might see if you can spot that, determine if there is anything amiss on either end. On newer cars this function may be done by the ecm (engine computer) directly, but on a 1999 I expect there’s some kind of wire or cable directly from the transmission to the speedometer area of the dashboard.

There’s a lot of rules and regulations about fixing speedometers. Because the odometer function is part of the ass’y, and the odometer reading is used to figure the price of a used car. Believe it or not, to increase the price they’d get for their used car, sellers will sometimes try to change what the odometer says. What a surprise! … lol … :wink:

What all that means is that getting work done on a speedometer tends to be more expensive than you’d think it would be.

You don’t install a refurbished/rebuilt instrument cluster in a 16 year old vehicle.

You go to an automotive recycler (junk yard) to get a replacement instrument cluster.

I go to a U-PULL-R-PARTS yard and can get the replacement instrument cluster for $22.00.


If you don’t pull the part yourself, expect to pay $80.00-$100.00.


Great-- thanks for the advice and info