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Changing a Vehicle Speed Sensor on a 98 Honda Accord

January 18th, 2008 · 28 Comments

One day the speedometer and odometer on our 98 Honda Accord stopped working.  At times the idle would become rough and the engine would nearly stall.  It’s always frustrating to have car problems.  You ask yourself: should I just take it to an auto repair shop?  It’s much easier that way, but it is more expensive.  I ended up fixing this this Vehicle Speed Sensor problem myself, here is how I did it.

I had suspected it was a problem with the speedometer cable since I had a non-working speedometer and many years before.  In that particular case the speedometer cable became disconnected from the transmission.

Being unable to find a speedometer cable on my Honda Accord, I got on the Internet and started doing some research.  The Internet led me to believe it could be a vehicle speed sensor (VSS) issue.  I realized through my searching why I couldn’t locate the speedometer cable on my Honda – it doesn’t have one.  The system is all electronic.

The pictures of Speed Sensors on the Internet did not look like anything on my Honda, I later discovered that most of the pictures on the Internet are for Speed Sensors from 89-94 models.  So I headed down to the nearest auto parts store to confirm my suspicion and yes, the OBDC II codes showed that it was a failed Vehicle Speed Sensor.

Most Auto Parts stores didn’t have Speed Sensors in stock or employees who were familiar with them so it was hard to get a good idea of what it looked like, but one store was able to pull up a picture and I eventually found a good picture on the Internet.

1998 Honda Accord Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)

1998 Honda Accord Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)

Speed Sensor Location

The Vehicle Speed Sensor is located in the back passenger side of the engine compartment. It is down on top of the back of the transmission.  The sensor is pretty far down and you will need a pretty long extension with your socket set to get access to it.  I had connected both a 10 inch and a 6 inch extension to my ratchet; this allowed me to get to it pretty easily.  A light source will come in handy.

1998 Honda Accord Vehicle Speed Sensor Location

1998 Honda Accord Vehicle Speed Sensor Location

Speed Sensor in location with connector and bolt removed 

Speed Sensor Replacement

The 98 Honda Accord VSS is easier to get to if you take off the air intake hose and filter. One screw holds the sensor in place and it has an electrical connector on the top.  After removing the electrical connector, remove the screw.  Once the Screw is out you can remove the Speed Sensor.  Mine was stuck in there pretty good, but it came free with a little wiggling and pulling.  The new one went in pretty easily, there was a slight snap when it goes all the way in and makes a good seal.  replace the screw and the connector, then replace the air intake hose and filter if you removed them.

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Tags: 98 Honda Accord · Auto Maintenance

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28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 SuperDave // Jul 9, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Good Day,

    Your web page on replacing the VSS on a Honda really helped me in a desperate moment. After Autozone did a code scan on my GF’s car (on July 4th) they determined that this part needed to be replaced. They also told me it was UNDER the car on the transmission. I spent nearly two hours under the car, under the hood, and online looking for help. I found your page as I was about to ready to quit. After I saw your pictures, I had the part replaced in 15 minutes ! Unreal ! Thanks for the helpful information.

    Best Regards, SuperDave In Georgia

  • 2 Administrator // Jul 10, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the comment, I spent quite a lot of time myself trying to find the VSS when I had the same problem. I’m glad my efforts helped you out as well – it makes a guy feel good to get a comment like that.

  • 3 Angelo // Jul 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for the primer. Is a 1997 honsa Accord V6 The same, or is 1998 the year that the accord was changed?
    I appreciate your help!


    Administrator Response

    1994-1997 was the fifth generation of the Accord, 1998 marked the beginning of the sixth generation which lasted until 2002. You will have to look to see if there is a difference


  • 4 slyd3r // Aug 4, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    thanks a whole lot. i spent an hour looking for it under the car, under the intake manifold. the photos helped out a lot.

  • 5 Kevin // Aug 10, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Hi there i recently was doing an aftermarket clutch replacment and when we were dropping the tranny, we forgot to disconnect the vss wires from the transmission. We got the tranny off and the vss wire harness broke off. when we soddered back the wires and pluged it in the speedometer failed to work. we tried all possible ways for the connection of the three wires but no success. Do you happen to know the three wires position in the harness abd if i have to change my vss? thanks

    Administrator Response

    Sorry, I don’t know the wire positions. If rewiring and reseating it do not work, it may have been damaged.


  • 6 gary ketchie // Sep 10, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Hello, Thanks for the great information. My speed odometer quit this morning and after finding your page I changed my speed sensor in less than 2 hours including going to town to get it!! Thanks again, Gary

  • 7 Roger // Oct 4, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    My speed odometer quit on me last night and then the engine light came on. Autozone scanned my car and determined the VSS needed to be replaced. Thanks for the great information. Without your help I would not be able to repair the part myself.
    -thanks again from Virginia Beach

  • 8 Roger // Oct 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Did you replace the o-ring also when you replaced the VSS part? Did you use the same o-ring from the defected part?

    Administrator Response

    I assume you are referring to the rubber ring which seals the VSS to the body of the transmission housing. The new part came completly assembled with all required pieces, I did not have to disassemble the old part or use its o-ring.


  • 9 Jason // Nov 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Helped a lot… Got it out in about 15 minutes… now I have to order one and wait for it… oh well. Saved hundreds!

  • 10 Brian // Nov 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Had the same issue with the engine light co?ming on and the speedometer quit. I changed the speedometer sensor and it is still the there something i’m missing

  • 11 Kean // Feb 27, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Oh, thanks so much for this post! I am having the same problem 2 days ago. Like what you’ve said, the car would shake roughly and get closed to stalling every time it comes to a stop. Now I will need to buy the socket/extension/tool plus the VSS this weekend. Hope I can get this done by the weekend. Thanks so much again, I’ll post an update with how that goes.

  • 12 Kean // Mar 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hi, just want to update that I installed it successfully. I’ll just add that you can get the VSS online at Autozone if you cannot find it in the store. I’ve searched many places and found Autozone website has the best price. Spent some time to locate the VSS, once it’s located, the biggest challenge is to reach it and remove the screw. Drove it afterwards and it worked, I am so excited it is fixed now. Thanks so much for this post, truly appreciate it.

  • 13 Sherman Heller // Jul 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I have a ’98 Civic (manual tranny) and my check engine light is on. When scanned, I get a 1336 code and a message indicating “engine speed fluctuation sensor” Is this the same VSS talked about above. There doesn’t appear to be any symptom other than the check engine light-perhaps some loss of fuel economy.
    I’ve easily located where it is on the transmission and it is very easy to get to. I hesitate to purchase a new sensor($100) without some certainty that it is the problem. What’s your take on it?

    I believe your code is pointing to something different – the Crank Shaft Fluctuation Sensor (CKF or CSF). This measures variations in the speed of your crankshaft (engine speed) whereas the VSS measures vehicle speed from the transmission.

  • 14 Aidan // Jul 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Just had the same problem occur after the clutch was replaced and found the dodgey Aussie mechanics had actually damaged the VSS, in the process. I appreciate this help SO much, as I’m tired of having things paid for to only have to finish the job myself. This is a welcome sight. Cheers

  • 15 Derek // Jul 31, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    If you don’t mind me asking, how much was the part when you bought it at the store?

    I got the speed sensor for just under $90.

  • 16 jb // Aug 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the information. Best I have seen on replacing the speed sensor

  • 17 stewie // Aug 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    thanks dude :) because of you i fixed my problem. I would of never have been able to fix the problem, if it wasn’t for your help.

  • 18 Rich // Aug 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Count me as another grateful reader. I tentatively diagnosed the problem myself, but your post helped me confirm it, and most of all helped me find the part and understand how to remove and replace it. Save me tons of time.

    I, too, found the part at AutoZone and paid around $72 for it.

    The check engine light is still on. Not sure if I need to reset it, or if there’s an additional problem, but my speedo works and engine idle problem is fixed.

  • 19 SteveH // Sep 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you SO much — this site was great! Exact problem and the exact solution to the speedometer / check engine light issue on my 1999 Honda Accord LX 5-spd manual. I bought the part at AutoZone for $71.99 and had it replaced in about 30 minutes — and mind you, although I’m handy, I’m no auto repair guy. Even with this site and the pictures, I was still too nervous to try it. Then I found yet another site with even better pictures — I went after it and it works like a charm. To fix the check engine light, you’ll need to get someone to sniff the code (AutoZone will read the code but they won’t delete the code for you — but you can ask for permission to delete it yourself). I was told that the light will fix itself after 1,000 miles or so?!? BTW, the other site with great description and pictures:

    Only problems I encountered: broken socket (cheap set) due to the fact that the one bolt was so tight. Second issue, I had trouble pulling it out with my hand once the bolt was removed, so I got under the car and tapped it with the end of my screwdriver with one hand while jostling the right front wheel back and forth — it has little gears on the VSS part so it made sense to me that it may be sticking a bit. I did the same thing to put the new part back down into the tranny. Don’t be afraid of this repair — if I can do it, really just about ANYBODY can.

  • 20 Bee // Oct 14, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Car: Honda Accord 98 manual transmission

    After years of desperation out of not being able to fix a car anymore — obviously due to car manufacturers’ constant effort to make cars impossible to repair by the owners — you made my day! I followed your instructions and the job was done in less than half an hour, 10 minutes of which was trying to get it out by wiggling. I ended up removing the air intake hose as you mentioned. Thank you for this great post.

  • 21 jay // Apr 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you very much and I was able to make my speedometer work. It was easy and fast if you have the right tools.
    The only thing is the check engine icon is still on. Would there be any problem aside from the vss?
    I appreciate the valuable information.

    Administrator – The check engine light will not auto-reset, there may or may not be additional issues. You will need to have it reset, or reset it yourself. Repair shops may charge you to reset it, auto parts stores may do it for free, you could do it yourself by disconnecting the battery. After it is reset, you will need to drive the vehicle for approximatly 50 miles to verify that the problem causing the light to come on is solved – this is the approximate amount of driving required for all of the vehicles diagnostic systems to asses the functioning of the vehicles components. Before disconnecting the battery, make sure you have your radio code if your stock radio has this security feature.

  • 22 jason // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Hey, wow, thanks for showing me this, my wife’s accord speedo/cruise just stopped working and there is a surging/hunting idle, I’m going to pick one of these up at AZ thanks to you. By the way could you tell me “why” this affects the idle? I just don’t understand that, thanks,


    Webmaster Response: The data from the VSS is sent back to the computer, which adjusts how the engine runs ased upon this information and a lot of other data from other sensors in the vehicle.

  • 23 John // Oct 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s the only one I find on the net that accurately showed the correct VSS and where it was located. Your comment to remove the air intake hose was very helpful. Because of your pictures I was able to tell Autozone they gave me the wrong part originally. (They searched Speed Sensor, not Vehicle Speed Sensor.)

  • 24 John // Jan 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I went to Advance Auto and they checked the code and said I needed a VSS. I bought it, changed it and still have the same issue. No speedo or odometer. Any ideas?

    Webmaster Response:
    You may want to look at a schematic and look at things that would affect both the speedometer and the odometer, I didn’t have to dig that far on mine – If you figure it out, please post your answer.

  • 25 Scott // Apr 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I changed my VSS with one from salvage. The CEL is on, speedometer & odometer still don’t work, and D4 flashes. What can be wrong?

  • 26 Scott // Apr 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I should have said for my 1994 Honda Accord EX

  • 27 Response // Apr 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    A Flashing D4 light would generally be coming from the transmission computer. Assuming there are not any mechanical issues, this would likely indicate a problem with some data going to the computer, or the computer itself. See this post for my similar story transmission-problems-with-my-93-honda-accord

  • 28 Champ // Sep 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for this. I just got a 99 accord and it had the same problem. I was able to find the VSS and I plan on doing it myself this weekend.

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