How to Remove and Replace Speedometer Cable from Transmission

This is an ultimate and comprehensive guide on how to remove and replace the speedometer cable from the transmission as well as how to replace it.

The speedometer cable starts at the back of the gauge cluster, exists through the firewall, and then makes its way through the underside of the car and ends in the transmission. It translates drivetrain revolutions into a numerical and easy-to-read number that tells you how fast you’re going down the road.

Sometimes, the cable goes bad and you may need to know how to remove it from the transmission so as to replace it. Some of the symptoms of a bad speedometer cable include an unstable or jumpy speedometer needle or having no reading at all on your speedometer.

Part 1: How to remove speedometer cable from transmission

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Hydraulic car jack
  2. Jack stands
  3. Wheel chocks
  4. Drain pan
  5. Wrench
  6. Flathead screwdriver
  7. Vice grip/locking pliers
  8. Electric parts cleaner

Procedure:

Step 1: Disconnect the negative battery terminal

Start by disconnecting the negative battery terminal. Set the negative or ground cable aside and make sure it can’t move on its own back to its battery connection. Disconnecting the negative battery cable cuts power to the car’s electricals and keeps you safe from shock or injury as you work on your car.

Step 2: Raise your vehicle

How to remove speedometer cable from transmission

Start by chocking the front wheels using wheel chocks. If you do not have these, blocks of wood, large stones, or wheel wedges work fine. Use a hydraulic car jack to lift the vehicle. Place the jack on the side closest to where your speedometer cable connects to the transmission.

Make sure the jack rests on the car’s metal beam and that it’s not off balance. Support the vehicle using jack stands once it’s up. These are made to support the weight of the car for a long time. Never let the weight of the car rest on the jack.

Step 3: Release your speedometer cable

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

As mentioned earlier, the speedometer cable runs from the back of the gauge cluster to the transmission. Before disconnecting it from the transmission, start by removing the retaining clips that secure it to the vehicle’s frame. You can use a wrench for this or a flathead screwdriver to pry the cable out.

Let it hang loosely once you release it from the underbody. Place a drain pan underneath the transmission before disconnecting it from the transmission. There’s a high possibility that you’ll have lots of fluid coming out of the transmission when doing the next step.

Step 4: How to remove speedometer cable from transmission

Depending on the car you drive, the speedometer cable could be connected to the transmission using retaining bolts or retaining clips. Do not try to forcefully yank it or pull it out.

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

If it has a retaining clip with screws on it, use the appropriate wrench size to remove the screws and release the cable.

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

If the cable itself has a stripped bolt head at the end, you can use Vise grips to remove it.

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

You’ll have successfully removed the speedometer cable from the transmission. If the cable comes out with the speed sensor, pull up on the hairpin clip and remove the sensor. You can take this time to clean the sensor using a high-quality electric parts cleaner.

Part 2: How to remove speedometer cable from gauge cluster

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Philips screwdriver
  2. Pry tool
  3. Trim removal tool
  4. Flathead screwdriver
  5. Owner’s manual
  6. New speedometer cable grommet

Procedure:

Step 1: Remove trim pieces and instrument cluster

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

In some vehicles, the speedometer cable can be accessed from underneath the dash. All you need to do is remove one or two trim pieces.

For other vehicles, however, you’ll need to remove the upper and lower steering column trim pieces, the lower dash, any metal support plates, the headlight and emergency flasher switches, the gauge cluster as well as disconnect the electrical connections.

Step 2: How to remove speedometer cable from gauge cluster

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

Once you’ve removed the gauge cluster from the car, reach for the speedometer cable and squeeze the clip that secures it. This should help release the cable.

Step 3: Remove the speedometer cable from the car

How to Remove Speedometer Cable from Transmission

Pop the hood and locate the cable at the firewall. Pull it out of the grommet that holds it as it passes through the firewall and completely remove it from your car. You may need to replace the grommet if it’s rotted and dry. The position of the grommet varies from car to car. You can consult your user manual if you’re having trouble locating it.

Part 3: How to replace speedometer cable

Tools you’ll need:

  1. New speedometer cable
  2. Philips screwdriver
  3. Flathead screwdriver
  4. Wrench
  5. New Speedometer gear (optional)

Procedure:

Step 1: Compare your new speedometer cable to the old one

Put your speedometer cable beside the old one and compare. Confirm that the length is the same and that the connection points at the end are similar. Some units come with universal speedometer cable repair kit instructions inside the package. You can check them out for guidance.

Step 2: Connect the cable to the speedometer sensor

If your old cable came out with the sensor when removing it from the transmission, start by connecting the new cable to the sensor. Remember to secure it with the hairpin clip.

Step 3: Replace speedometer gear

You can take this opportunity to replace your speedometer gear if you have to. Speedometer gears that have a longer shaft are for automatic transmissions and those with a shorter shaft are for manual transmissions.

If you need to change your speedometer gear, simply pry out the retaining clip on the old one using a flathead screwdriver and replace it with the new one.

Step 4: Secure the speedometer cable to the car’s frame rail

From underneath the car, route the new cable where the old one passed through. Install the previously removed brackets and screw them to the car’s frame rail. Retighten all the bolts and make sure the cable is not kinked or bent.

Step 5: How to connect speedometer cable to the transmission

Connect the speedometer cable and speedometer sensor to the transmission. If it was secured using a retaining clip with screws on it, simply screw it into place. If it has a screw head, use your vise grips or a wrench to tighten it. You can then lower your car to work on the interior.

Step 6: Connect speedometer cable to gauge cluster

Pass the cable through the firewall and install a new grommet if you have to. You may have to cut the grommet and slide it over the cable. Get inside your car and finish passing the cable through the dash. Plug it into the speedometer.

Step 7: Reassemble all the hardware

To finish off, reassemble every piece of hardware that you had to remove to gain access to the speedometer cable from inside the car. This includes the dash trim pieces, the upper and lower steering column trim pieces, any metal support plates, the headlight and emergency flasher switches, and the gauge cluster. Remember to reconnect all the electrical connections.

Step 8: Go for a test drive

Once done, reconnect the negative battery terminal and go for a test drive. Confirm that your gauge cluster is working. The speedometer should work smoothly and provide the correct reading as you increase or decrease your speed.

Final Take

The speedometer cable can fail just like any other part of the car. As such, it pays to know how to remove speedometer cable from transmission and how to replace it. The last thing you want is to get a speeding ticket just because you’re unable to monitor your speed. I hope that this article was of benefit to you. Stay tuned for more car guides.

FAQ

Can transmission fluid leak from speedometer cable?

The speedometer cable comes with internal seals that prevent transmission fluid from leaking where it connects to the transmission. However, this seal can fail sometimes. This then leads to leaks that leave a puddle on your driveway every time you park your car.

Read more: How to Replace a Clutch Safety Switch

Where does the speedometer cable connect to the transmission?

The speedometer cable connects to the transmission where the gearbox is. The gearbox is found after the clutch and makes up the second stage in the transmission. From there, it finds its way to the engine compartment and to the back of the gauge cluster where it connects to the speedometer.

Are all speedometer cables the same?

Speedometer cables vary from car to car. They are not all the same. If you order a new one online, make sure it matches the model number of the old one and that it’s a perfect fit. You may get a complete unit or one that you need to assemble yourself.

How much does it cost to replace a speedometer cable?

Your speedometer cable replacement cost may fall between $60 and $300 depending on the type of car you drive and the hours required to replace it. Some cars have a speedometer housing that’s easily accessible while others require a bit more work to get to it.