Speedometer Conversion 71


Why consider speedometer conversion?

Picture of the dials on an imported Japanese car, showing the need for speedometer conversion to mphYour imported Japanese car will have a speedometer reading in km/h only.  In general they do not have a smaller mph scale in the same way that UK cars often have a smaller km/h scale.

So if you’re buying a car direct from Japan you may want to consider speedometer conversion.  This may well already have been done for you if you’re buying an imported car already in the UK.

The conversion work can be done in Japan before the car is exported, or it can be done in the UK once the car has arrived.

Reasons to avoid speedometer conversion

There are a number of situations where you might want to avoid speedometer conversion:

  • You want to keep the car as close to original condition as possible.
  • You’re an experienced driver or have a particular head for figures and can do the conversion from kph to mph in your head whilst you’re driving.
  • You always drive with a satellite navigation system that displays the speed in mph.
  • You want to save money on the costs of speedometer conversion.

Do you have to convert the speedometer?

Having said all of the above, do you have a choice about speedometer conversion?  In some situations, yes you do!

If the car is over 10 years old when it has its first MOT in the UK, you do not have to convert the speedometer.

Many people will tell you it is a legal requirement for the MOT.  This is incorrect.  The car does have to have a speedometer, but the MOT regulations do not state that it has to read in miles per hour.

However, if the car is under 10 years old when it arrives in the UK, it will need to have an IVA test.  The speedometer will need to be in miles per hour for the car to pass this test.

Speedometer conversion methods

There are a few ways to convert the speedometer on an imported car.  Two of them are electronic and one is more of a physical adjustment to the car.  If you’re going for one of the electronic methods, make sure the person doing the work knows what they’re doing!  If these conversions aren’t done properly they can affect the gear change points of automatic gearboxes, having a substantial knock on effect on fuel consumption and driving enjoyment.

Speedometer conversion chip

These are wired in to the car’s electronics.  Speed is displayed in mph and distance is recorded in miles from the point of fitment onwards.  They do not convert already recorded distance on the odometer from kilometers to miles.  The speedometer dial face is amended to reflect the new units but is otherwise unchanged.  This is done by covering the kmh lettering with a mph sticker, or in a ‘budget’ conversion by blacking out the k of km/h to leave m/h.

ECU reprogramming

In some cars, speedometer conversion can be done by reprogramming the ECU.

Replacement dial face

The original speedometer dial face in km/h is replaced with a new face with mph and km/h scales.  Distance will continue to be recorded in kilometers and it is acceptable in the UK to have speed and distance in different units.

Speedometer conversion costs

This could be anything from £50 to several hundred pounds.  The cost depends several factors, with the key factors being:  the type of car involved (specifically the type of wiring/electronics or complexity of dashboard) and whether you’re doing the conversion yourself or having it done for you.

What about the odometer reading?

Speedometer conversion often goes hand in hand with converting the odometer reading from kilometers to miles.  From the point of conversion onwards, speed is displayed in mph and distance is recorded in miles.  This is not the case when using a replacement dial face because this doesn’t interfere with the signal from the speed sensor.

This changing of the odometer reading is one of the main reasons I like to avoid electronic speedometer conversion wherever possible.  I think it can present an opportunity for the dishonest to ‘remove’ a few thousand kilometers/miles from the car.  However, if the speedometer is converted using an electronic method, I agree that the odometer should be converted as well.  It can get confusing for the speed to be in miles per hour but for the distance to have been recorded partly in kilometers and partly in miles.

There are a number of ways you can check the odometer reading of your imported Japanese car.  These depend on how and where you buy the car.

Have your speed displayed in MPH without the conversion

There are a few more options that will let you see your speed in mph without the full conversion process.  They are less permanent and can be moved from car to car.

Mobile phone speed app

There are numerous mobile phone apps that can display speed in your chosen units.  I’ve had good results with DigiHUD and there are many others.

Satellite navigation

If you always travel with your sat nav on, you could just use the speed display on this.

Standalone speedometer

You can buy a removable speedometer that reads in MPH.

Summary

There are lots of options for seeing your speed in mph in Japanese import cars, each with advantages and disadvantages.

I prefer to leave the car as it was made and use the mobile phone/sat nav options.  I realise I’m probably in the minority with this.  The replacement dial face method is my other preferred option because it doesn’t involve interfering with the car’s electronics.

If you’re buying a car that has been converted, make sure it has been done properly and satisfy yourself that the car hasn’t ‘lost’ some distance from the odometer in the process.  Feel free to send me a message or post a comment below if you’d like to know more about this.

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71 thoughts on “Speedometer Conversion

  • Gary

    Hi, I have a 2005 Honda Stepwagon 24Z (new shape with tiptronic gears). I would like to get the electronic speedo changed from km to mph. Is there anyone you know of in the Midlands who can help with this? (I’m in Coventry). Appreciate your help. Many thanks.

  • andrew

    Hi. We have just imported a manual Kia K2500 truck into the UK. I am interested in fitting a device to convert the electronics. Have you any experience or products to help? Thanks, Andy.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Andy

      Thanks for your enquiry, I’ve sent you an email about your Kia truck.

      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Paul

    Hi. We have a Nissan Figaro and have seen some with the original dial but converted electronically to read mph ie 80kmh shown is 80mph. We have also seen the stick on mph dial. We are interested in doing the electronic version. Any ideas?

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Paul

      I recommend using a replacement speedometer dial face. It is possible to get good quality replacement faces rather than the stick on type. I know you say you want to do the electronic conversion – I try to avoid these where possible as they can sometimes affect the gear shift points of automatic transmissions.

      I’ve sent you an email with details of suppliers of both options.

      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Dr Yunus Sheikh

    Hi,
    I need to convert kms to miles for Nissan Micra, could u provide me address where it can be done in SW18 London.Thanks

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi

      Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately I haven’t worked with a suitable company in your area before so don’t have anyone to recommend.

      You don’t mention the model year of your Micra, but for most Micras you have the option of a replacement speedometer face or an electronic converter. Both are fairly straightforward and should be well within the capabilities of a competent and careful auto electrician.

      Thanks
      Andrew

  • Qureshi

    Hi i have import a Toyota estima hybrid 2007 need convert km to ml. And fog light can you do and how much cost

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi

      Unfortunately I don’t offer a conversion service at the moment. I do get asked about this frequently, so might look into setting one up in the future.

      I would use a replacement dial face for your speedometer conversion. The fog light is a fairly straightforward job for a competent auto electrician. Make sure they use an IVA compliant switching circuit.

      Thanks
      Andrew

  • KATHY MCENEANY

    Hi, Do you have a speedo conversion kit for a Mitsubishi Lancer estate 2003, from kmp tp mph, please Thanks Kathy

  • Aaron

    The cheapest, easiest and quickest ‘conversion’ is to add extra markers using PVC tape. You need to sit in the drivers seat in your normal position. Using a whiteboard marker place dots on the clear plastic over the instruments corresponding to the speeds 30 mph, 40 etc. (it’s easy to find out how many kmh=mph – for example 30mph is 48 kph).

    Now get a role of suitable coloured PVC electrical tape (I use yellow) and cut across the end of the tap seven times to make seven slivers of tape. Now stick these over each of the whiteboard marker dots. This won’t be as accurate as a proper conversion but is a lot better than guessing your speed.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Aaron

      Thank you very much for your contribution: a simple, effective and very low cost solution. As you say there may be some parallax error, depending on how far in front of the dial the clear plastic cover is mounted, but if the marks are placed from the driver’s normal seating position this will be minimised.

      Cheers
      Andrew

      PS I don’t think this would wash for an IVA test!

  • Mark barnes

    I recently bought a Toyota alphard that had the speedo chip fitted, I had problems with gear changes taking longer than normal,
    Turns out the chip had not been wired to ecu , that was sorted out for me.
    I’ve now noticed that the trip meter a and odometer are reading in both miles and km
    Been told off someone in Facebook group it’s possible the chip as been wired in to the speedo head and should be wired to a permanent 12 volt to avoid this happening
    Is this true and will doing this sort my problem out
    Or would I be better disabling chip altogether
    Regards
    Mark

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Mark

      Thanks for getting in touch, sorry to hear you’re having some bother with your Alphard.

      It is very difficult to say for certain whether doing what you suggest will sort your problem. This is because I don’t know the details of how the original conversion work was done.

      If this was my car I’d be removing the chip altogether and checking that everything goes back to reading in km. Assuming it did, I would fit a replacement mph speedometer dial face. Hopefully doing this would put an end to the problems you’re experiencing, but it is very difficult to know for certain without trying it.

      I would be interested to hear how you get on and hope you get this sorted soon.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

        • Andrew Post author

          Well the first point to make is that you don’t have to convert the speedometer on this car, because it is over 10 years old. A simple solution to seeing the speed in mph is to use an aftermarket GPS speedometer or your mobile phone or satnav.

          If you want to convert, a CAN bus electronic converter is the best option, e.g. from Cartek or CanM8.

  • Gary Ransome

    Hello sir.
    I am just about to buy a 1994 E124 Mercedes in stunning condition how can I check it has not been clocked? Also I don’t want to change the speedo or the miles reader is that OK with DVLA? It’s a right hand drive from a highly respected company and has only done 25k will it affect my insurance?
    Sorry for the list of questions

    Regards,

    Gary.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Gary

      I take it this is a car you’re importing from Japan?

      Have a read of this post on steps you can take to help identify whether a car has been clocked.

      It won’t be a problem for the DVLA/DVSA that the speedometer and odometer are in kilometers. The MOT test requires cars to have a working speedometer but it doesn’t have to be in mph.

      Your insurance company will definitely need to know that the car is an import. They will probably charge you slightly more than for a UK spec W124.

      Thanks
      Andrew

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Ali

      As far as I know the IVA test doesn’t test the sat nav. The only thing to be aware of is that the sat nav screen shouldn’t be able to show a DVD/TV picture when the vehicle is moving.

      Thanks
      Andrew

  • Andrew Williams

    Hi, I’d like to convert an evo 9 gta to mph, can you point me in the right direction of what to buy etc?

    Cheers

    Andy

  • Hazel

    Hi Andrew,
    I intend to buy a Mitsubishi Colt that needs speedometer conversion from kmph to mph. Is there any place that you can recommend in Birmingham or the surrounding areas?

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Hazel

      Unfortunately I don’t have anyone I can recommend around Birmingham. A competent and careful auto electrician or car entertainment installer should be able to help.

      Thanks
      Andrew

  • Marie

    I I have a 2007 1.4 focus and need to change the clock to miles as is currently just kilometres. I thought I could just put a dual face dial on but am being told to replace the entire cluster and this could be 100s of pounds plus electronic conversion. Does this sound right?

  • Andrew Collins

    Did anyone manage to get a speedo changed around the Midlands? So far I’ve found one place who want £250 and I have 2 to do, it’s a 2003 auto lancer and a 1998 caldina both fresh imports.

    Thanks in advance

    Andrew

  • jan

    I import car from Japan toyota prius 2010 from Southampton Port I want iva and mot how much you charge for all work

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Jan

      Thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately I don’t offer IVA conversion and testing services.

      Cheers
      Andrew

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Myo

      Unfortunately I won’t be able to come to London to do that for you.

      It doesn’t need doing for the MOT by the way.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

  • Jim Mitchell

    Hi,

    I’m bringing back to the UK our 2005/2006 Nissan Pathfinder R51 from Australia. There’s a plate on the car that states it was manufactured in Japan in 2005 and the Aus registration docs say it was first registered in 2006. So it’s over 10 years old. I spoke to one of these companies who help you import you car to the UK – NOVA, inspections, MOT, registration with the DVLA etc and they said that even though the car Is over ten years old I will still need to get the speedometer facial changed from one just showing Kms/hr to one showing miles per hour and kms per hour to be legal on the road.

    Can you confirm that an imported car over 10 years old does not need a speedometer in kms per hour and miles per hour to be legal in the Uk & EU? I’m not doubting you I could just do with some documentation (link) to a DVLA or government document that says so.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Jim

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Jim

      The speedometer doesn’t need to be converted to mph on a car over 10 years old. Every car I’ve imported has been put through an MOT with the speedometer and odometer in kilometres only. Every one has passed with no advisory about the speedometer. Have a look at the MOT testing manual – it only says the car has to have a speedometer but doesn’t specify the units.

      Your Pathfinder would need a rear fog light if it hasn’t already got one.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

  • Andrew White

    I have a Toyota Alphard 2004 model, which as a mobility chair located behind the front seat passengers side.

    The mobility chair works from switches located on the side of the chair or from a key fob. When the switch or key fob is pressed to bring the chair out the vehicle a number of sequences occur to make this happen. Unfortunately mine does all the sequences up to the point were it should turn the chair through 90 degrees to bring this out the vehicle & it is not doing this. Therefore can you recommend anyone that could look at & repair this for me, i will travel to get this sorted.

    I look forward to your response.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Andrew

      Apologies I don’t know of anyone who specialises in this type of issue on imported vehicles. How about looking up a local mobility vehicle conversion specialist? At least they should have the right skill set to appreciate the issue, investigate and find a solution.

      Andrew

  • Sarah carbery

    Hi
    I took my 2011 Nissan quashqai from Ireland and I’m looking to change the kilometres to miles please I live in Torquay can you recommend anyone close by please
    Sarah

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Sarah

      Thanks for your question, sorry I don’t know of anyone in your area. The cheapest and simplest way to do this would be with a replacement dial face. Fitting one of these should be well within the abilities of a competent and careful auto electrician or AV installer.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

  • ANTHONIA MUONEKE

    Hi, I have a Toyota Prius 2010 old shape I think its considered to be 2009 model here in the UK. I would like to get the electronic speedo changed from km to mph. Is there anyone you know of in Essex who can help with this? (I’m in Colchester). Appreciate your help. Many thanks.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Anthonia

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately I don’t know of anyone in Essex who could do this for you, although an experienced auto electrician should be able to sort it for you.

      I hope you manage to find someone suitable. If you do, it would be great if you could post their details here so others can benefit from your experience.

      Thank you
      Andrew

  • Danny

    I’ve recently bought an R33 Skyline GTST that was imported in August 2016. Before I bought it the dealer had the fascia changed to mph with the kmh in small below. When I drive the car for whatever reason it feels like the speedo reading is wrong. It displays 100 mph but it feels like 60. Do I need to buy the conversion chip to go with the amended fascia?

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Danny

      I’m not sure what has happened with your Skyline but usually the conversion chip isn’t required in addition to the fascia.

      Did you see the car before it was converted, or do you have the fascia that was removed when the conversion was done? Are the km/h scales the same? E.g have they fitted a speedometer face with a 300 km/h scale into a car that previously had a 180 km/h scale? This would cause the over reading you’re experiencing.

      Have you checked the actual speed using a GPS speedometer on your phone?

      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Arthur Cummins

    Hi, My son has imported from Japan an SJ5 model 2008 Subaru Forester 2000 XT Sti. Automatic Turbo.He has done the fog light and switch. The speedo needs converting and I see you prefer to change the dial, my son thinks the chip method will be easier for him…and cheaper ! He’s a competent electrician and car mechanic but what do you think a ball-park figure would be to go the speedo conversion route…He lives in Worthing and we would welcome any guidance and advice…Thanks.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Arthur

      Part of the reason I like to use the dial conversions is that they leave the odometer alone! This means it keeps recording in km and there is no confusion about an odometer with part of the reading in km and part of the reading in miles.

      In terms of costs, a replacement dial face, if available for his Forester, will cost about £50. I think (although please check this because I haven’t converted one myself) a 2008 Forester will have canbus electronics which means the conversion chip will cost £160 to £180. If it is not canbus the chip will be about £60. So the dial face wins on cost. As for which is easier, that depends on what he is more comfortable/familiar with. Either way, there will be some dashboard dismantling to do.

      These costs are parts costs alone, I’m assuming he is going to be doing the work himself so labour costs won’t apply.

      I’d love to hear how he gets on with the conversion.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

      • Arthur Cummins

        Hi Andrew,
        Just to update you on our Forester speedo…we tried both non canbus and canbus chips..neither worked and money was refunded. We have bought a UK instrument cluster but so far we haven’t had any luck with the local Subaru dealer to get it to work. We are now looking to do a dial conversion but haven’t found a ready-made match, so we may have to have a special one made – which will probably cost a lot more than £60.

  • Usman

    Hi

    I need to convert a Toyota Corrolla (axio) Japanese imported cars dials from kph to mph, Im based in manchester any recommendations and the cheapest and most suitable way to do it, so it passes the IVA.

    Cheers

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Usman

      Unfortunately I don’t know of anyone in Manchester who could convert your Toyota Corolla / Axio for you. You can probably gather from this post that I prefer the replacement dial face option, which is fine for the IVA if done properly. It all depends on whether a suitable dial is available for your vehicle (I’m pretty sure it will be, but difficult to say for certain without seeing it).

      Electronic conversion chips are also available. The dial face will probably work out cheaper: you don’t mention the age of the car but it may well have canbus electronics, in which case the conversion chip will be a lot more expensive than the dial face option.

      Andrew

  • Arthur Cummins

    Hi Andrew.
    Thanks for your reply and helpful information. We had some trouble making sure whether it was can-bus or not, it is.
    We have not settled on which way to go…disagreement in the camp !!
    I will keep you posted on the results, although not sure how long it all takes….
    But thanks again.
    Regards
    Arthur

  • Tony White

    Hi

    I have a mk4 imported supra the speedo is in kmh but has a piece of black tape over the k so it just reads m/h the odo though goes up in kilometres..?

    Can you tell me why this may be..?

    Thanks
    Tony..

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Tony

      Thanks for your question. Usually the tape would be put over the ‘k’ of ‘kmh’ when a speedometer converter has been fitted. Usually when they are fitted the speed reads in mph and the distance clocks up in miles.

      Hence what is happening with your Supra doesn’t really make sense. Apologies if this is an obvious question: have you checked the speed and distance with a GPS speedometer?

      I would try to find the converter chip, remove it and return the wiring to standard. Hopefully this would return the speedometer and odometer both to km as Toyota intended.

      In summary, it is difficult to say for certain why your speedometer is behaving as it is. I hope you get it sorted and would be interested to know how it goes.

      Cheers
      Andrew

    • Andrew Post author

      This post contains a number of options for converting from kph to mph. Remember that in many cases it doesn’t have to be done.

  • Dee

    Hi, we recently bought an imported toyota granvia ~1997 converted campervan. We have realised that though the trip odometer says km it is actually in miles and same for the odometer measuring now. It says it has done ~149,000km and was sold to us on the basis it had done 89,000 miles. It was imported about 8 years ago so presumably has done at least 30,000 miles since imported even as a camper. Any way of telling what the mileage actually is? Presumably some combination of miles and km? Cheers

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Dee

      There are loads of imported vehicles with odometers showing a mixture of km and miles. Working out the true number of miles very much depends on how much history you have with your Toyota Granvia. Sometimes the more assiduous importers will write down the odometer reading in km at the point at which they fitted the conversion chip. So if you have the first sales receipt when it was imported, or the first MOT when it was imported (check online using registration number if you don’t have the paper version), this will give you a better idea because the odometer will probably only just have been converted at this point, so the number showing will be mostly km from Japan. You may find service stickers from Japan around the van and if these are dated close to when it was imported, they might also give you a clue as to the km to miles change over point.

      I hope you manage to work it out, or at least get a closer estimate.

      Andrew

      • Arthur Cummins

        Hi Andrew,
        To update you on our 08 Forester…we tried a non can-bus and can-bus chip, neither worked and so we then bought a UK Forester instrument cluster. But so far the Subaru garage can’t – won’t get it to work with car electronics. We are now looking into a replacement dial, unfortunately it will have to be a one-off special which looks to cost at least £250. We will let you know how we get on.
        Regards
        Arthur

        • Arthur Cummins

          Hi Andrew,
          To update my update, the Subaru dealer, Monza Sport managed to do the necessary work so that the new cluster was linked to the car electronics and it’s working fine…at last. Now we have the IVA test to take…

          • Andrew Post author

            Hi Arthur

            Thank you for the updates. I’m sorry to hear this has been more complicated than anticipated, but glad Monza Sport have managed to get the new cluster working for you.

            Best of luck for the IVA test!
            Andrew

  • Margaret Turner

    I have bought a Mazda Bongo Van and I am told the the odometer reading was in kilometers (when it arrived but then converted to miles. So that my reading is now made up of both kilometres and miles added together.
    I was told the following:
    “As I explained, because the vehicle is an import from Japan, when it arrives in to this country it is inspected by the authorities and has its first UK MOT at this point.
    Up until this point the mileage on the vehicle has been recorded in Kilometres (as Japan use kilometres).
    From the MOT records we can see that the recorded mileage shown on this first UK MOT was 85732 kms (this is equivalent to approximately 53271 miles).
    We understand that from this point on the instrument is calibrated to record in miles which is why subsequent MOT certificates show the recordings in miles.”

    How can I be sure that the mileage it now shows of 95,000 is not all miles and that part of it is, as I am told, in kilometres? It seems very untidy to me for them not to have adjusted the odometer so that it read entirely in miles.
    Please help,
    thanks,
    Margaret

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Margaret

      What has been described to you is a very common occurrence in speedometer / odometer conversion for cars imported from Japan. It will be difficult to get any certainty on this, but it is often the case that the odometer has a mixture of km and miles (km before conversion, miles after) when electronic speed signal converters are used.

      Do you have any documentation with the Bongo? By that I mean auction sheet or deregistration certificate? If you do, these should have an odometer reading at the point of sale / export, and this reading will be in km. This would help you work out whether the km reading on the first MOT was about right or not. I take it you aren’t the first UK owner? You could try to contact the first UK owner or the company that imported it (if you can find their details) and find out what they did with the speedometer / odometer. I’ve written a post about checking odometer readings here.

      Andrew

  • Alan abery

    I am bought a Nissan L ground 04 plate needs to be done much are done do you know anyone around Reading Newbury area Berkshire who could do it for me and stereo

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Alan

      Sorry I don’t know of anyone in Berkshire who could do the conversion for you. I hope you manage to find someone.

      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Gail

    Hello Andrew. I’m trying to register my Toyota Landcruiser in UK. I bought it new in Portugal (who brought it from Spain) in Nov 2008. My problem is the speedometer which doesn’t show mph. My Toyota dealership is struggling to find a replacement so I can comply for UK. Any thoughts? I’m up against the clock! Kind regards Gail

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Gail

      I’d get an auto electrician to fit an electronic kmh to mph speedometer converter, which will be suitable for the IVA test. No need to go to a Toyota dealership for this!

      Cheers
      Andrew

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Abdul

      Not sure whether you’re asking for advice on how to do this yourself, or for a recommendation of who could do it for you?

      Roughly where are you based?

      Thanks
      Andrew

  • thas

    hi
    i would like to know whether do you change speedo metre from the kilometre to mileage? I have a toyota estima.
    thank you

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi Thas

      Thanks for the enquiry, unfortunately I don’t offer a speedometer conversion service at the moment.

      Thanks
      Andrew