How accurate are speedometers?
Dan Edmunds, an automotive engineer and the director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com, says that speedometers cannot have an error of more than 5 percent (typically expressed as plus/minus 2.5 percent relative to the actual speed) according to federal law.
"At 60 mph this means your speedometer should read no more than 1.5 mph higher or lower than your actual speed," Edmunds explains.
http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/05/ ... edometers/
In the U.S., manufacturers voluntarily follow the standard set by the Society of Automotive Engineers, J1226, which is pretty lax. To begin with, manufacturers are afforded the latitude to aim for within plus-or-minus two percent of absolute accuracy or to introduce bias to read high on a sliding scale of from minus-one to plus-three percent at low speeds to zero to plus-four percent above 55 mph. And those percentages are not of actual speed but rather a percentage of the total speed range indicated on the dial. So the four-percent allowable range on an 85-mph speedometer is 3.4 mph, and the acceptable range on a 150-mph speedometer is 6.0 mph.
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