How to Install an Analog Car Compass

Written by bryan hansel
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Install an Analog Car Compass
A analogue compass indicates direction even if the car is turned off. (Bronze compass image by sunshower from

An analogue car compass helps you navigate while driving by indicating the direction of your car's travel. The compass ball floats within a fluid-filled container, which allows it to spin as the car spins. Because the compass ball rotates towards the strongest magnetised area, usually the magnetic north pole, any localised magnetic sources, such as metal and wiring, might cause incorrect compass readings. When installing a car compass correct for localised magnetic fields, called deviation, by adjusting the compensator screw or moving the compass.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Compass kit
  • Non-magnetic screwdriver

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Align your car with the earth's north/south axis with the front of the car pointed north to check for compass deviation. Place the compass where you want to mount it. If it indicates anything but north, you have a deviation problem. Try moving the compass to other locations until it aligns north. If it doesn't, then fix the deviation using the compensator screws after attachment.

  2. 2

    Attach the compass to your car using the kit's system. The three most common attachment systems are screws, double-side adhesive pads and suction cups. Attach as directed.

  3. 3

    Point the car north, and turn the north/south compensator screw until the compass reads north.

  4. 4

    Point the car east, and turn the east/west compensator screw until the compass reads east.

  5. 5

    Point the car south, and if the compass doesn't read south, turn the north/south compensator screw to correct for half the error. For example, if the reading is off by four degrees, correct for two degrees. Repeat for west.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.