A car’s dashboard is a functional and familiar place for a driver. It provides information about speed, RPMs, battery power, warning lights, and much more. However, it may sometimes fail to show crucial information, such as mileage — so, why would mileage not show on the dashboard?
Common causes of mileage not showing on the dashboard include a damaged computer system, a defective sensor, faulty wiring, and broken gears. Easy fixes include repairing the computer, replacing bad sensors and wires, and replacing broken gears.
This article will explain why you may be having a problem with your car’s odometer not showing the mileage on the dashboard. Read on for more details on this and how to fix each problem.
What Causes a Car Odometer to Stop Working?
Here are reasons why a car’s odometer may stop working:
- The computer has malfunctioned.
- The LCD display is broken.
- The speed sensor is faulty.
- The wiring is damaged.
- The gears that turn the odometer are broken.
- The circuit board is broken.
- You have activated cruise control.
Here’s a rundown of the mentioned problems:
The Computer Has Malfunctioned
The car’s odometer uses the car’s computer to determine how far the car has gone. If there’s an issue with the computer, it can display wrong information or even stop working completely, which may cause you not to see your mileage on the dashboard.
There are many reasons why this could occur, including damage to the computer, a software malfunction, or the presence of high levels of voltage.
The LCD Display Is Broken
The LCD display is the screen that features your speed and mileage. If this display is malfunctioning, it may not show you your car’s mileage on the dashboard.
Like the computer itself, there are many reasons why this could occur, including:
- Damage caused by excessive electric charges
- Incorrect installation
- Software errors
- Broken wiring
The Speed Sensor Is Faulty
A car’s sensor tells it how far it has gone, which is why the odometer displays your mileage on the dashboard. If this sensor becomes damaged or faulty, you may not be able to see your mileage on the dashboard.
So, what causes a sensor to stop working?
One possible cause of this problem is damage to the sensor, which can affect both its performance and durability. This damage may be caused by debris or sudden jolts. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the sensor to get your dash mileage back.
The Wiring Is Damaged
The wiring is responsible for transferring information from one car component to another. If this wiring becomes damaged or broken, your odometer may not work correctly.
Also, like the computer and sensor, there are many reasons why you might experience problems with your vehicle’s wire system:
- Damage caused by water or flooding
- Wrong installation
- Using the wrong type of wires
- Excessive voltage levels
Read: Car Diagnosis Cost
The Gears That Turn the Odometer Are Broken
Your odometer typicallaly features plastic gears that turn to show you your mileage. If these gears break, your car’s odometer may not function properly.
One possible cause of this problem is excessive shaking or vibration, which can result in damage to your car’s parts. If this happens, you may need to replace your mileage gears to get rid of the problem.
The Circuit Board Is Broken
Like most computer components, a circuit board is made up of delicate wiring that transfers information from one part of the car to another. If the board becomes damaged, you won’t be able to see your car’s mileage on the dashboard.
Also, like many other parts that make up a vehicle’s computer system, a circuit board can become damaged due to:
- Excessive heat
- Water or flooding
- Wrong installation of components
- Excessive voltage
You Have Activated Cruise Control
As this discussion thread on Quora highlights, some cars feature cruise control, which drivers engage when they want to go the same speed as traffic or maintain a steady speed. When you employ this feature, the odometer reading disappears and is replaced by the target speed.
Because of that, your mileage won’t appear on the odometer. Therefore, it’s best not to panic when this happens.
7 Easy Fixes to Mileage Not Showing on Dashboard
Now that you know why your vehicle’s mileage isn’t showing on the dashboard, let’s focus on the most critical task at hand; solving the problem.
Here are a few practical ways to get your car’s mileage to show on the dashboard again:
1. Inspect the Computer and Look for Damage and Malfunctions
The first thing you should do to find out why your car’s mileage isn’t showing on the dashboard is to inspect the computer. To do that, you’ll need to check the computer’s wiring. Look for any damage or malfunctions on the computer and replace anything that seems damaged.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, there may be a software issue preventing your car from showing its mileage on the dashboard. To be sure, call a professional to inspect the computer and figure out what’s keeping it from working properly.
2. Check for Damage in Your Car’s Power System
Your power system is made up of all of the wires, fuses, and electrical components that connect everything in your vehicle together. Thus, if there are any problems with this system, you may experience issues with your odometer reading, including your mileage not showing on the dashboard.
So, to get your mileage back on the dashboard, you’ll need to check for damage in your vehicle’s power system and repair anything that needs fixing.
3. Inspect and Replace Loose Wires
As broken wire is one of the most common issues that cause mileage not showing on dashboard problems. Because of this, I recommend getting out your toolkit, removing the dash panel, and inspecting your wiring.
If you find any loose or disconnected wires, reconnect them and secure them in place with electrical tape or wire fasteners before replacing the dash panel.
4. Replace the Faulty Speed Sensor
As I mentioned earlier, a faulty sensor could cause your car’s mileage not to show. To resolve this issue, replace the faulty sensor with a new one from an automotive specialist. Have a professional mechanic remove and replace it for you if need be.
Here’s a YouTube tutorial that may come in handy should you decide to replace the faulty sensor on your own:
5. Replace Broken LCD Screens
If your LCD screen is broken, then you must replace it with a new one. To do that, follow these steps:
- Take off the dashboard panel and disconnect the old LCD screen from the rest of your vehicle’s computer system.
- Remove dust or dirt particles from the dashboard panel using a damp cloth.
- Plug the new LCD into your vehicle’s computer system and secure it in place using the screws that held the old one in place.
- Put the dashboard panel back on and connect everything.
6. Deactivate Cruise Control
If your car’s mileage isn’t showing on the dashboard due to engaging cruise control, then you’ll need to deactivate it before your odometer starts working again. Generally, the steps to follow will vary with the model and make of your car.
Therefore, I recommend looking through the owner’s manual for your vehicle to find out how to deactivate the cruise control. Then, follow those steps, and you should be good to go.
7. Replace the Faulty Circuit Board
Lastly, if your circuit board is broken, it’ll need to be replaced. To fix this problem, I suggest going through your owner’s manual and going to a professional mechanic for further guidance on how to replace it. They may diagnose the issue and replace the faulty circuit board for you.
Pro Tip: For a quick diagnosis of electrical or other car problems, I recommend buying the AUTOPHIX Bluetooth Scanner (available on Amazon.com). It’s extremely easy to use, designed for universal applications, and provides crucial information about your car’s condition, including the battery’s health.
In a nutshell, a car’s odometer automatically stops working when a malfunction prevents it from registering mileage. To solve this problem, you’ll need to take care of any damage in your power system and replace the faulty sensor, broken LCD screen, or circuit board. Once you do these things, your odometer should start working again.
If none of these steps solve the problem, call a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix your computer system.