Page updated on 04-20-2018

1997 Jetta speedometer problem

visor mirror
09-26-2005, 01:55 PM
I have been having a periodic problem with the Speedo, it stops working then starts working. I have replaced the speed sensor, but did not stop the problem. Any help with this would be appreciated.

09-27-2005, 08:42 AM
Instrument clusters are very common to fail.

09-29-2005, 05:27 AM
My speedometer is failing in my 96 jetta also i noticed it drops when i hit a bump and comes back on also it will just shut off and when it shuts off my fuel guage starts bobbing...

So im guessing thats a known problem with them...

06-26-2008, 06:54 PM
I hope this helps someone, because when I was looking for the answer no one posted their fix! All it takes is a few minutes to create a post and cut/paste it to several forums. Let others know what worked for you! Please post solutions too, not just questions!

I purchased a 1999 VW Jetta. Speedometer & Tachometer didn't work. Tach sat at zero... speedo "bounced" on zero. Odometer, cruise control, and all other gauges worked fine.

I removed the instrument cluster. It's really simple, a couple of plastic covers, the light switch, and four screws. It was MUCH easier than removing the gauges from my F150!

I opened the speedometer and found no servicable parts. Some posts will tell you there is a gear inside that is stripped. That may be the case, but I didn't want to risk breaking anything else!

I found DNA Speedometers by searching the internet. They're in Tamp, FL. I packaged the gauges and shipped it allong with a check for $129. Turn around time was GREAT! The received it, fixed it, shipped it back. That's it. I didn't have to call or send nasty emails... nothing. They litterally turned it around in one day! Round trip took a whole week... that's UPS ground!

When it arrived I installed it and took it for a test drive. It worked like a champ. They even replaced the blown bulb in it. DNA Speedometers even garauntees their work for six months!

There are other places on the internet that repair speedos... I went with this one and had a GREAT experience.

(Posted 6/26/2008)

08-17-2008, 10:31 AM
Are there any VW guru's of there that can tell me if the cruise control is controlled by the instrument cluster?
The temp gauge works in reverse. The gas gauge works erratically.
I can't find anything really wrong woth the cruise control except that a previous owner bypassed the switch at the firewall, for some unknown reason.
Thanks in advance, Gary

02-18-2009, 08:46 PM
hello i have the same problem.... i have a 1997 jetta GL 5-speed and i have a code "p0501" wich reads "vehicle speed sensor Range/Performance" on the manual. now i purchased a brandnew OEM VSS. after thati erased the code and and when i started the car the speedo needle twitched and went back to zero(before it did not move at all when i start the car) so i assumed it work. so i test drove it but the speedometer didnt work. i checked obdII again and it read p0501 pending, 4 inc, 4 ready. anyone can help me out? i am totally lost now.. im thinking of replacing my cluster. but im not sure anymore if this will just be another waste of time.

i was also thinking if the VSS for manual transmission and automatic transmission are different. i did not specify it from the dealer and they didnt ask me either.

02-18-2009, 08:50 PM
:headshakeoh, before i replaced the VSS the symptoms i was getting besides the code and the check engine light was that the speedometer would work half the time and stop when i hit a bump or brake a bit harder... im not sure of this observation but thats what i think.. the cruise control doesnt work.. i havent check now if it works after i replaced the vss.. ill see once i get to the freeway.

help please

02-19-2009, 12:38 AM
ok. just got back from driving my jetta approx 20miles. so check engine light is up again and it gave the same code P0501 and cruise control doesnt work speedo stops and starts....
now if it was just the gauge cluster, why wouldnt it give a different code?

10-23-2009, 04:45 PM
So I have a 96 jetta and I have had the same problem with the speedo. I have attributed it to being in the cluster itself since the speedometer is not cable driven like most cars. If anyone does come up with a simple and inexpensive fix for the problem I would love to hear about it:banghead:

05-16-2011, 06:01 PM
These cars are known to have their cluster gauges go out some time around 100,000 miles which to me seems ridiculous that the company didn't recall them since they had a 10 year warranty on these vehicles. Well at least mine did (1997 Volkswagen Jetta) The number one thing I can tell you...

Before you go and waste $70 on a new speed sensor, replace the gauge cluster. I only say this because 9 out of 10 times, it's the cluster. You can also find companies that specialize in fixing your gauge cluster. I only recommend this because of the miles tracked. When you replace it for another used gauge cluster, you will quickly realize that the miles are of the car that it was taken from, not your cars miles.

Add your comment to this topic!