Jeep Cherokee: Why is My Odometer Blinking? (And How to Fix It)

The Jeep Cherokee is an iconic vehicle that has been around for years. Despite its dependability, it can still experience issues, one of the most common being a blinking odometer. So, why is your odometer blinking? How can you fix it?

Your odometer could be blinking due to misaligned wires. This is common for those who’ve replaced factory parts, like the radio, as the wires can be easily disturbed. Removing the battery for a while is often enough to fix this. An expert from the dealership can also perform a proxy alignment.

The blinking odometer on your Jeep Cherokee can be a confusing and concerning problem. Fortunately, it is usually fairly simple to fix. With the help of a few tools and a basic understanding of vehicle mechanics, you can quickly diagnose and resolve the issue in no time. Let’s jump right into the troubleshooting details.

How Does an Odometer Work? 

Clsoe up of Jeep steering wheel with a flashing light from the dashboard

An odometer is a device that measures the distance a vehicle has traveled and is usually located on the vehicle’s dashboard. An odometer can either be mechanical or digital. 

Mechanical odometers use cogs that are turned by a drive mechanism and cable in response to the wheels’ rotation, and the vehicle’s current mileage is displayed in a windowed casing. 

Digital odometers, on the other hand, use a computer chip to keep tabs on mileage and store the data in the Engine Control Module (ECM). They then display the current mileage digitally.

A vehicle may also be equipped with a trip meter or trip odometer, which is different from the regular odometer. You can reset the trip odometer whenever you want, and some vehicles may have several. Trip meters can be very helpful for tracking the distance traveled over a certain period, allowing you to easily calculate how many miles per gallon your vehicle gets for each fuel tank.

What Causes an Odometer to Blink?

One of the most common causes of a blinking odometer is misaligned wires under the dashboard. To put it simply, there might be a problem with the Controller Area Network (CAN).

The CAN controls the indicators on your dashboard, as it allows for communication between the vehicles’ different systems. It enables the various microcontrollers in your car’s dashboard to interact with each other by employing multiplex wiring. These wires are connected in such a way that they can effectively transmit signals to one another. 

Therefore, if your odometer is blinking, it could be due to an issue with the CAN, such as misaligned wires. It’s quite a common issue for not just Jeep Cherokee owners but also Fiat and Dodge owners who’ve changed a stock part on their dashboard, like the radio. They may have mistakenly misaligned the wires while doing so.

However, this isn’t such a big deal that it calls for immediate attention. Most people have learned to live with it and even ignore it completely. While it can be puzzling, a blinking odometer shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless there are other issues that are more obvious than just the blinking odometer.

How to Troubleshoot a Blinking Odometer

As we’ve already established, a blinking odometer isn’t too serious to warrant immediate attention. But if you want to fix it because it’s annoying or you’re afraid it could lead to more sinister problems, there’s a quick fix you could try on your own without the help of a professional.

You’ll need to remove the battery for some time, say an hour or so. By doing so, the different electronic components in the device cluster will “reset.” Return the battery and turn the car on to see if that resolves the issue.

Alternatively, you could take your car to the dealership and have an expert perform a proxy alignment. This is the best and foolproof way to eliminate the drawback. You’ll have to part with a few bucks, though.

How Do You Reset the Mileage on a Jeep Cherokee? 

Jeep interior cabin

When the “Perform Service” light turns on, it means that your Jeep Grand Cherokee has attained the scheduled mileage for regular maintenance. 

Before resetting the mileage, it’s important to ensure that you’ve carried out the necessary maintenance. Otherwise, you may end up with a damaged engine or, worse, find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Also, keep in mind that the procedure for resetting the mileage may differ depending on the Jeep Grand Cherokee model.

You can reset the mileage on a Jeep Cherokee with one of two methods:

Button Method

  1. Turn your ignition to the “On” position without starting your car.
  2. Find the button labeled “Step” and press it until a menu indicating the number of miles left until service is displayed on the screen.
  3. Press and hold the “Reset” button.
  4. The “Perform Service” indicator should now be reset.

Brake Method

  1. Turn your ignition to the “On” position without starting your car.
  2. Press the gas pedal gently three times in 10 seconds.
  3. Turn off the ignition.
  4. Wait for around 10 seconds and start the engine.
  5. The “Perform Service” indicator should now be reset.

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