Grease Your Speedometer Cable
Rob Pinkston
If you hear a squeeking or "chirping" noise from your dash while your car is in motion and your speedometer needle bounces instead of sweeping smoothly and holding a steady reading, chances are, your speedometer cable needs lubrication. I have done my best to describe the procedure here. Please be aware, it is possible this procedure will NOT cure your speedo problems since the bearings in the speedo head itself *can* wear out - in this case, greasing the speedo cable will not solve the problem, you will need to have the speedo head rebuilt or replaced. In *most* cases, a noisy or jumpy speedometer is cured by greasing the cable.


To eliminate a noisy and bouncing speedometer by lubricating the speedometer drive cable.

You Will Need:
  1. 1/4 inch drive nut driver or ratchet with extension
  2. 1/4 inch drive socket set
  3. Flat-head screwdriver and phillips-head screwdriver
  4. Needle-nose pliers
  5. Standard pliers.
  6. GM spdeedometer cable grease, P/N ??????? This is a light-weight, clear grease available at GM parts counters.
  7. 2 or 3 high quality, lint-free, 100% cotten rags.
  8. Patience.

REMOVE YOUR INSTRUMENT CLUSTER (I know this is oversimplified - there's several screws and possibly a couple of wire connections to remove)

**Remember where everything went! and don't lose those screws!

DISCONNECT THE SPEEDO CABLE FROM THE BACK OF THE SPEEDO There's a metal clip on the back of the speedo head, you should be able to press one end of this clip backward into the back of the speedo and the speedo head should disconnect from the cable. you may have to pull a little while pressing on
the clip since some cables fit more tightly than others.
REMOVE THE SPEEDO CABLE FROM THE CABLE JACKET With the speedo removed, you should see the end of the speedo drive cable sticking up in the middle of the cable jacket. if the cable is original, the end will be molded plastic, usually red. It will have four sides and kind of a rounded tip. Grab the
end of the speedo cable with your fingers (you may need to use needle nose pliers - if you use them, be careful not to damage the plastic end of the cable, or the cable itself) and pull the cable all the way out of the jacket.

**The cable should have some of the original grease still on it so be careful what you let the cable touch - speedo cable grease does not come off of interiors very easily!

CLEAN THE CABLE Coat the cable with some of the new grease all the way from one end to the other, thoroughly rub the grease onto the cable with your fingers back and forth for several seconds - this should loosen most of the old, dry grease and dirt. Now wipe the cable from end to end with a clean, dry lint-free rag. A high quality 100% cotten rag (like an old t-shirt) works best, you don't want to leave any lint particles on the cable.
GREASE THE CABLE Coat the cable with fresh grease again like in step 4. You want a complete coating of grease but it doesn't need to be too thick.
INSERT THE CABLE BACK INTO THE JACKET Slide the cable back into the jacket. If it binds up going in you probably need more grease on it. Once the cable is all the way back in you may need to twist it a little to get it to seat properly.

It's a good idea to put a small dab of speedo cable grease on the very tip of the cable - this will make it easier to reconnect the speedo to the cable. Wipe any large globs of grease off the end of the cable and jacket as this will just end up dripping down inside your instrument cluster.

REINSTALL YOUR SPEEDO Reconnect your speedometer to the cable, you shouldn't need to press on the clip to reinstall it, just push the speedo back onto the cable until you hear the clip snap back into place. Give the speedo head a little pull to make sure it's connected properly - it should not come back off if it is connected properly.
REINSTALL YOUR INSTRUMENT CLUSTER Put the rest of your instrument cluster back together making sure to reconnect everything you disconnected in step 1. don't overtighten any screws.

*** NOTE: On most of the turbo Buicks, the speedometer drive cable is in two sections. BOTH SECTIONS MUST BE GREASED! If you have an older car (pre-86 maybe??) with cruise control, one section of the cable will run from the transmission up to the cruse control module under the hood. The other section goes from the cruise control module, through the firewall to the speedo. The later cruise control modules work off of a signal from the ECM so the speedo cable does not connect to them. The cable is still in two sections. The sections are connected together directly in front of the windsheild wiper motor under the hood. Once you have located this connection, continue to step #9.

DISCONNECT UPPER SPEEDO CABLE SECTION FROM LOWER SPEEDO CABLE SECTION The two cable sections are connected with a screw type connector similar to a garden hose. You should be able to unscrew the connection with your fingers. If you have to use pliers, be careful not to damage the connectors, cable jacket and cable.
GREASE THE LOWER CABLE SECTION Once you have the two sections disconnected, repeat steps 3 through 6 for the lower section. Reconnect the two sections of the speedo cable.

That's it! Time for a test drive!

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