Dust in sealed gauges?

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I recently purchased a 2001 Honda Prelude (used, obviously). I did a CarFax on it before I bought it and everything checked out OK. Today I noticed that the Speedometer and other gauges that are sealed inside of the dash, have some white looking dust that has settled on them and the clear plexiglass like cover that seals them in... I didn't notice this when I bought it so I'm not sure if this all the sudden showed up, or maybe I just noticed it today when the sun hit it a specific way which led me to look more into it. Is this something I should be worried about? I figured that dust can't get into that casing if it's sealed off so I was concerned with 2 things here. 1) Someone cracked open the casing and fooled around with the speedometer and maybe the milage setting, 2) This dust has settled in after giving it a good test drive to see how it handled (i.e. something blew and made dust settle in the gauges).

Since carfax said the milage was most likely accurate, I'm not sure what to think. I know CarFax isn't always 100% accurate, so I would like to hear what more educated car people can tell me.

What do you think?

posted by  intargc

What I think is I'm not entirely sure what the question is, so I'll just give some opinions on the situation. Yes it is entirely possible someone has opened up the instrument cluster, but usually if they're smart (dishonest) enough to do that to clock the odometer, they're smart enough to clean up. It's also possible it's been opened up previously for repairs of some sort.

While the cluster is enclosed and has seals, don't for a second think it's a sealed enclosure. The car could have been in a dusty environment prior to your purchase. At any rate it's my educated guess the dust was there when you bought the car and you just didn't notice it. You'd be surprised to hear the things people find after owning a car for a few days.

posted by  vwhobo

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