By March 3, 2009 Read More →

Speedometer Stopped Working On My 1999 Nissan Sentra

Reader Question

I have a 1999 Nissan Sentra GXE with 109,000 miles on it. It has a dial odometer and tripometer. Yesterday, they both froze. Most people would think this is a blessing (stop mileage counting) (LOL), but I would like to fix it.

I guess what my question to you is what are the possible problems?
The user manual doesn’t say much. I don’t have a Chiltons of Haynes book. I checked to see if it was a fuse (in the fuse box, there is one marked “meter”.

I changed this, with no avail. btw-the manual gives no help here).
Due to tampering, I’m sure it’s complicated, I just want to fix it. I can’t tell how many miles I’m going, and I use the vehicle for business purposes.

Thanks for any help.


Hello David,

I am not real sure if this vehicle is using a VSS, Vehicle Speed Sensor to get the data for the speedometer, or if it has an old fashioned speedo cable……I would call the Nissan dealership PARTS department and ask them. I would suspect either a bad VSS, or broken speedo cable.

There could be something wrong inside the speedometer “head” the part you look at in the dash, and if so you might be better off price wise to call a junk yard in your area and buy a used speedo head that is close to your current mileage and pay your local mechanic to install it for you.

Most major cities will have a speedometer shop that specializes in stuff like this, so you might want to check your phone book or look online in your area. The VSS is not too difficult to install (for your mechanic) if you want to take a guess at it before you buy a used speedometer head.

Austin Davis


Follow up

I forgot to mention that the Speedometer (and everything else on the dash) is still working correctly. I don’t know if that changes your opinion.
Thanks! David

Hey David

Tthat does not change things…..actually reinforces my guesses.

keep me posted as to what you find out will ya?

Austin Davis


Follow up

I also notices a “ticking” noise from behind the dashboard this morning. Can that narrow it down to the “head”?
Thanks. David



Yes, that would make me very suspect of an internal problem with the speedometer head. If you buy a used one, you want to buy the whole “instrument panel cluster” that is everything in the dash….gauges, speedo, etc. etc.

It just snaps into place, and you can snap in the new “used one”, just make darn sure you compare them carefully and they match 100%. I would guess a used one to be about $100 or so and maybe $75-100 to install it?

If you call around to a speedometer shop, you need the speedometer head repaired. Its probably cheaper to buy a used cluster from a junk yard….just my guess.


Austin Davis


Reader Follow Up

Hey Austin, I wanted to give you an update. I decided to buy a new speedo head from Nissan, instead of trying to get one from a junkyard. It was about $130. Not too bad.

We replaced it, very easy. My best friend (and cousin) is a mechanic (specializes in Mini and BMW) did it at his shop. He just charged me lunch (and some beer from my brewery).
Thanks for all your advice.

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