Knowing your car's gauges - Tips For A Happy Car

By mixedbin on Oct 16, 2012 and it has 0 comments and 226906 views

Owning a car is a tremendous freedom, however it also comes with great responsibility. If you are handy enough to perform general maintenance on your vehicle on your own then that can save you a lot of money, but first you need to know when your vehicle needs maintenance. Just as the human body gives warning signs of trouble when you’re getting sick, your vehicle also signals when disaster could be lurking. Unless you are RoboCop, vehicles are one step ahead of humans and have clear indicators of present conditions called gauges. As long as you understand how to read these gauges, then you should be able to treat your vehicle like the mechanical contraption it has always dreamed of, not to mention feel safer on the road.


Tachometers

This gauge measures your Revolutions per Minute, also known as RPM’s. This essentially shows how hard your engine is working to perform. The harder it’s working means the more gas it is guzzling. If you have a manual vehicle, the tachometer is extremely helpful.  If you aren’t shifting properly the RPM’s may read very high or very low, and that will indicate you are not in the right gear, indicating you need to shift. In automatic vehicles, RPM’s are not something you have to worry about as much, since it is, well, automatic, but it is important to check to ensure your vehicle is running properly. You should also note that this gauge reads in single digits, and would need to be multiplied by 1,000 for the exact reading. For example, if it reads 2 RPM’s, your engine is operating at 2,000 Revolutions per Minute.

Temperature Gauge

Regulating the temperature in the engine is much more intricate than putting a warm sweater around it when it complains of being cold. Coolant helps regulate the temperature of various parts of the engine so this gauge is extremely important to the health of your vehicle. This gauge will help indicate whether your engine is close to freezing or overheating. Neither are favorable outcomes. Keep in mind that some temperature gauges will show in degrees, but most will read cold, hot or normal. Normal is obviously what you want to see, or at least somewhere in the middle of the gauge.  If your gauge moves all the way to the hot side, the engine is likely overheating, so make sure you pull to the side of the road immediately to avoid permanent damage to your engine.

Voltmeter
The voltmeter measures your car’s charging system which provides the electric current for your vehicle. An irregular reading may mean that something has failed in your car’s electrical system, so it is important to take note. Most modern vehicles have a voltmeter because it’s the best way to measure your vehicle’s electrical health, however you may also see a gauge called an ammeter which measures amperage going out of, or coming into the battery.

Oil Pressure

In order to properly lubricate your engine you need oil, and more importantly, the right pressure of oil. This will help your engine last long as well as keep it happy. To continue with the human-car analogy, this would be the equivalent of blood pressure in a person. The wrong amount of pressure can cause damage to your engine, so if you notice this gauge shows an extremely low pressure, you will want to pull over before permanent damage can occur. You’d then want to first check the oil levels and add more if needed.

Speedometer

This one is a little easier to figure out. Your speedometer measures your vehicle’s speed. You must ensure that this gauge is working properly otherwise you’ll have no way of knowing if you are traveling at speeds safe for the particular road you’re on.  It also is tough to explain to a police officer you weren’t speeding when your speedometer is broken; just saying.

Fuel Gauge

The fuel gauge indicates how much gas you have left in the tank. When this is low, it’s time to start looking for a gas station to fill up. If you are the type who likes to live their life in the fast lane, literally, then you may find yourself letting the reading dip below the “E” or empty indicator on the gauge, however that is not considered a best practice technique. You can shorten the life of your car’s fuel pump as well as find yourself stranded on the side of the road when you let it go too far.
Once you know the functions of each one of your car’s gauges, you’ll have a better understanding of how your car works as a whole and how it’s functioning at that moment. Don’t be one of those drivers who ignore the gauges, but instead listen to your vehicle and then address what might be malfunctioning. It will make for a much happier car in the long run and avoid unnecessary trouble.



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