The Seasoned Wrench


Harley Davidson Speedometer Not Working? Read This, Trust Me

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Hitting the open road on a Harley Davidson is an unmatched experience; the freedom, the power, and the sense of adventure. But imagine this: you’re riding high, soaking in the bliss of the journey, when suddenly you realize you’re flying blind—your speedometer has decided to take an unscheduled break. Yes, we’re talking about the all-too-common ‘Harley Davidson Speedometer Not Working’ dilemma that can throw a wrench into your perfect ride. Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it.

But before you let this hiccup dampen your spirits, gear up for some good news. You’ve got a road-side buddy in us, armed with years of mechanical wisdom and a genuine love for the biker brotherhood. Consider this article your trusty guide to navigating through the foggy issue of a malfunctioning speedometer, blending practical DIY fixes with a side of camaraderie only fellow riders can offer.

We’re diving headfirst into the heart of the problem, equipped with straightforward advice, tried-and-tested solutions, and maybe a few tales from the road to keep things interesting. Whether it’s a rogue needle or digits that seem to play hide and seek, we’re here to help you decode the mystery, fix the glitch, and get you back to ruling the road in no time.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and tackle this speed bump together. With a bit of guidance and some elbow grease, we’ll have your Harley’s speedometer up and running, ensuring your adventures remain as exhilarating and safe as ever. Ready to conquer this challenge and cruise back into the fast lane? Let’s hit the road!

So, What Are The Different Reasons Why A Harley’s Speedometer Will Stop Working?

There are several reasons why your Harley’s speedometer might stop working. Here are some of the most common culprits:

A Bad Speed Sensor (Most Likely)

A common cause of a faulty speedometer is a bad speed sensor. The speed sensor works off a magnetic pulse, collecting metal shavings from the transmission. If these metal particles accumulate, the sensor may fail to register the speed. In many cases, cleaning the sensor or replacing it altogether can solve the problem.

Here's the example of the speedometer cable that is used in models without a speedometer sensor.
Some models don’t use a speed sensor, however. Instead, they use a speedometer cable. (Pictured)

Weak Charging System (Stator or Voltage Regulator)

A weak charging system can also lead to speedometer issues. If the stator or voltage regulator is not functioning correctly, the speedometer may not receive the power it needs to operate.

Related: What Is A Rectifier On A Motorcycle? Well, Come Find Out!

Weak or Old Battery

An old or weak battery might also be the reason why your speedometer isn’t working. A weak battery may not supply enough power to run the speedometer, especially if other components of your Harley are also drawing power from it.

Loose Connection

A loose connection can also cause your speedometer to stop working. This could be a loose wire in the speedometer itself, or a loose connection between the speedometer and the battery or charging system.

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse in the speedometer circuit can cause the speedometer to stop working. The fuse might have blown due to a short circuit, or because of an overload in the electrical system.

Faulty Internal Connection (Inside The Speedometer)

Sometimes, the problem might be internal to the speedometer. A faulty internal connection or component within the speedometer might cause it to stop working.

Stator Is Overcharging

If the stator is overcharging, it can cause electrical components, including the speedometer, to fail. If this is the case, the stator will need to be replaced.

Related: Harley Davidson Stator Replacement Cost Overview (+DIYable?)

Why Does This Happen, and When?

These problems can occur at any time, but they are most common in older bikes or bikes with high mileage. Over time, components wear out, connections become loose, and the battery and charging system may become less effective.

What Can You Do When Your Speedometer Is Not Working?

This is an image of where a Harley's speedometer can be reset. On the back of the speedometer housing.
Before jumping into the diagnostics, it’s worth a check to see if your bike has a reset button like the one pictured.

When your speedometer stops working, the first thing you should do is troubleshoot to identify the cause of the problem. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check the speed sensor: Remove the speed sensor and check if it’s clogged with metal particles. Clean it and see if that fixes the problem. If not, you may need to replace the sensor.
  2. Check the battery and charging system: Use a multimeter to check the voltage of the battery and the output of the charging system. If the voltage is low, you may need to charge the battery or replace it. If the charging system is not producing enough power, you may need to repair or replace the stator or voltage regulator.
  3. Check the connections: Check all the connections in the speedometer circuit. Look for loose or corroded connectors and wires. Tighten any loose connections and clean any corroded ones.
  4. Check the fuse: If the fuse in the speedometer circuit has blown, replace it. If the new fuse blows immediately, you may have a short circuit in the speedometer circuit.
  5. Check the speedometer: If all else fails, the problem might be within the speedometer itself. In this case, you may need to have the speedometer repaired or replaced.

Related: How To Test A Stator On A Motorcycle (Like A Pro) 101

How To Test A Charging System With A Multimeter

Here’s a video guide on how to troubleshoot a Harley’s electronic speedometer. For the written steps, keep reading.

To test your Harley’s charging system with a multimeter, follow these steps:

  1. Set the multimeter to the 20V DC setting.
  2. Connect the red lead to the positive terminal of the battery, and the black lead to the negative terminal.
  3. Start the bike and rev the engine.
  4. Check the reading on the multimeter. It should be between 13.8V and 14.4V. If it’s lower, your charging system may not be working properly.

Related: Best Battery For Harley Davidson Motorcycles: Mechanic Tells

Questions To Ask Yourself

If you’re troubleshooting a speedometer problem, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Is The Problem Persistent, Or Intermittent?

If the problem is intermittent, it might be due to a loose connection or a faulty sensor. If it’s persistent, the problem might be more serious, like a faulty speedometer or a problem with the charging system.

When Did The Problem Start?

If the problem started after a certain event, like a battery replacement or a ride in rough conditions, that might give you a clue as to the cause of the problem.

Are There Other Odd Issues Happening Simultaneously?

If there are other electrical issues happening at the same time, like problems with the lights or the ignition, that could indicate a problem with the battery or the charging system.

What To Do If You Can’t Find The Issue

If you’ve checked everything and you still can’t find the problem, it might be time to take your Harley to a professional. A skilled mechanic will have the tools and experience to diagnose and fix the problem.

Remember, safety comes first. Don’t ride your Harley if the speedometer is not working correctly. It’s not just a matter of legality – knowing your speed is crucial for safe riding.

Other tech problems:
> Harley EITMS Problems: Signs, Fixes and More
> Frustrating Harley RDRS Problems You Should Be Aware Of

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common reasons for a Harley Davidson speedometer Not working?

Common reasons can include a failed speed sensor, a malfunctioning speedometer gauge, a blown fuse, wiring issues, or problems with the motorcycle’s ECU (Electronic Control Unit).

How can I troubleshoot a non-functioning speedometer on my Harley Davidson?

Begin by checking the fuse box for any blown fuses. Next, inspect the speed sensor located on the transmission for any signs of damage or dirt. Also, check the wiring and connections leading to the speedometer for any obvious issues.

Is there a way to reset the speedometer on a Harley Davidson?

In some cases, disconnecting the battery for a few minutes can reset the motorcycle’s electrical system and potentially resolve electronic glitches. However, this may not fix mechanical issues with the speedometer itself.

Could a dead battery cause my Harley’s speedometer to malfunction?

A dead or weak battery might not cause the speedometer to fail directly, but it can affect the overall electrical system, which can lead to the speedometer not working properly.

How do I know if the speed sensor is the problem with my speedometer?

If the speed sensor is faulty, you may also notice other symptoms such as the motorcycle stalling when coming to a stop, poor shifting behavior, or the check engine light might come on.