Gauges Tech Center

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AutoAnything’s Guide to Gauges

Nothing brings out custom interior style like a set of racing gauges mounted to your vehicle’s dash, console or A-pillar. From muscle cars and big trucks to sport compacts and street rods, a set of performance gauges not only keeps engine vitals within eyeshot, they add a dose of racecar style like no other accessory.

Whether you plan to add gauges and custom gauge faces for performance, security or style, here’s a quick overview of what you need to know when gauging your gauge needs:

  • Automotive Gauges
  • Gauge Mounts
  • Shift Lights & Warning Lights
  • Gauge Faces
Automotive Gauges

Cluster FunWhen you spend your hard-earned dollars on auto performance, it’s important to keep tabs on all the vital readings to prevent meltdown, detonation and catastrophic failure.

Whether you’re towing with the big dogs, pulling Gs at the track or dropping the hammer on your morning commute, quality gauges are a must. But, which gauges are best for your needs? Check out the AutoAnything Guide to Gauges and find out.

Fuel Gauges

Fuel pressure, fuel level or combustion—if it has to do with monitoring the go-juice, you’ll find it here.

Filler' Up

Air/Fuel Ratio Gauges: By measuring and displaying the air to fuel mixture, an Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge is helpful when accurate readings are required to maximize power, reliability and mileage on highly-modified vehicles. Narrow Band sensors only indicate whether or not your vehicle is running at the ideal ratio of 14.7:1. Wide Band sensors display the entire ratio range, which is important for high-performance vehicle tuners.

Fuel Level Gauges: One of the easiest gauges to take for granted—until it fails and you run out of fuel. Aftermarket Fuel Level Gauges usually require special, vehicle-specific senders and don’t always work with factory gear. Make sure you get everything you need when ordering.

Fuel Pressure Gauges: Sitting between your fuel filter and your carburetor or fuel injection, the Fuel Pressure Gauge basically measures how much fuel is being delivered. Since they work off of actual fuel pressure, never mount one of these gauges in your cockpit unless you use an inline fuel isolator.

Knock Gauges: Knock Gauges measure knock or detonation—the engine-killing result of too much boost, over fueling, mistuning and inadequate cooling.

Tachs and Speedos:

Red Line Revvin'

Every car has a speedometer, and even your grandma’s ’07 Malibu has a tach—but when you’re serious about seeking speed and reading revs, quality Tachs & Speedos are a must.

RPM Gauges: Also known as Tachometers or rev-counters, RPM Gauges measure your engine’s revolutions per minute.

Speedometers: The most common of all gauges, a Speedometer simply lets you know how fast—or slow—you’re going. Aftermarket speedos often require special senders and may not work with your factory gear, so make sure you have everything you need.

Tachometers: Also known as a tach, an RPM Gauge or rev-counter, a Tachometer measures your engine’s revolutions per minute. Performance drivers use tachs to time shifts, to know when the engine is in its power band, and to keep from over-revving and destroying the motor.

Temperature Gauges:

It's gettin' hot in here! class

From amplifiers to transmissions, vital components in your vehicle simply get hot when you’re running hard. Make sure you keep tabs on the temps with gauges that can handle the heat.

Amplifier Temperature Gauges: When you’ve got a bumpin’ system, make sure you’re not over-driving your amplifier. An Amplifier Temperature Gauge monitors the amp’s temperatures so you know when to drop the decibels.

Cylinder Head Temp Gauges: Excessive cylinder head temps can spell disaster in the form of blown head gaskets or worse—a good Cylinder Head Temp Gauge lets you shut ‘er down before detonation.

Differential Temperature Gauges: When involved in racing and extended performance runs, you can actually weld the gears in your differential together—not good. A Differential Temperature Gauge warns you well before meltdown.

EGT/Pyrometer Gauges: Wired straight to your ride’s exhaust via a type-K thermocouple, an EGT/Pyrometer Gauge measures exhaust gas temperatures. To prevent engine failure, EGTs are one of the most important readings to monitor on diesel power plants.

IAT Gauges: The temperature of the air going in is as important as the temperature of the air going out. The IAT Gauge sensor mounts into your intake manifold to deliver the air intake temperature reading, that way you know if high under-hood temps are affecting performance.

Oil Temperature Gauge: Perfect for keeping your engine’s lifeblood—oil—within the proper operating temperatures. An Oil Temperature Gauge is a great way to monitor overall engine temps, too.

Transmission Temperature Gauges: Excessive automatic transmission temperatures can signal some expensive repairs are coming your way. A Transmission Temperature Gauge keeps tabs on the temps, especially when you’re towing or racing, and lets you know to let off well before meltdown.

Water Temperature Gauges: If you’ve ever been that guy on the side of the road, hood open with steam spewing out like an old locomotive, you’ve experienced overheating. Since hot coolant is the first indication that something’s wrong, a Water Temperature Gauge is your first line of defense against an overheating engine.

Pressure Gauges:

Supercharged!

When the pressure’s on to take the win or score the best parking spot, always monitor your pressure, boost and vacuum with gauges designed to stand up under pressure.

Air Pressure Gauges: When you have an on-board air system to adjust air suspension or to inflate tires and toys, a quality air pressure gauge lets you keep tabs on psi from the comfort of your cab.

Blower Pressure Gauges: By installing a Blower Pressure Gauge, it’s easy to keep tabs on the pressure your supercharger generates from idle to wide open throttle. Some models even have a memory function to monitor pressure consistency.

Boost Gauges: A Boost Gauge measures your vehicle’s turbocharger or supercharger boost pressure. This way you know when you’re approaching the engine’s optimal power band during spirited driving. The boost gauge also warns when excessive turbo pressure is being generated. Can also be used with a vacuum gauge.

Brake Pressure Gauges: Next to actually feeling your vehicle slow down when you hit the brakes, Brake Pressure Gauges are the best way to make sure you have proper brake pressure.

Nitrous Pressure Gauges: Make sure you keep spraying the juice at the optimal rate of 900 – 950 psi with a Nitrous Pressure Gauge checking the vitals. A must-have gauge for high-performance tuning.

Spray Some Juice

Oil Pressure Gauges: From a single-slapper lawnmower engine to a purpose-built race motor, oil is the lifeblood that keeps it moving. Make sure that blood’s flowing to all the right places with an Oil Pressure Gauge.

Vacuum Gauges: Like a boost gauge, a Vacuum Gauge is used on turbo and supercharged engines. The information retrieved from the vacuum gauge gives you a good idea of throttle position—high vacuum means low throttle, low or zero vacuum indicates wide open throttle.

Water Pressure Gauge: A loss of pressure from your water pump means there’s probably a leak in your cooling system—which spells disaster for your engine. A Water Pressure Gauge delivers an early indication that pressures are fluctuating.

Pressure Gauges: Though the above pressure gauges are component-specific, generic Pressure Gauges keep tabs on any number of readings like suspension-reservoir oil and clutch fluid, to name a few.

Electrical Gauges:

Shocking!

Nothing knocks your ride out of contention faster than electrical problems. Wire up your dashboard with accurate electrical gauges designed to keep the spaghetti juiced.

Ammeters: Under normal conditions, an Ammeter measures current flow from the alternator to the battery. In the case of an alternator system failure, it measures discharge from the battery. Though ammeters are fairly accurate, performance tuners recommend using a voltmeter instead.

Amp Current Gauges: Mostly used by audiophiles to keep tabs on stereo power draws, an Amp Current Gauge can be used to measure any type of electrical current you need to monitor.

Voltmeters: Meet the ammeter’s much more accurate big brother. The Voltmeter works like a fuel pressure gauge, only it measures electrical system pressure in voltage. A voltmeter is almost always preferred over an ammeter.

Timers:

Keepin' Time

Keep tabs on the time with clocks and timers designed just for your dashboard.

Clocks: Nothing relives the days of chrome and tailfins like an old-fashioned 3-hand Clock sweeping time on your dashboard.

Hour Meter Gauges: Kind of like an odometer for your motor, an Hour Meter Gauge accurately reads and records the amount of time that your engine runs.

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Mike Cote
My 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab 4x4 offers bed space to camp in, haul my dirt bike around, and it's been done up to take on the trails. Favorite mods include my Icon coilovers to soak up the bumps. My Walker Evans 501 Legend wheels wrapped in Toyo RT tires give me the clearance from my upper control arms to fit (and they look darn good) and the over-sized tires take on rocks with plenty of traction. My Rigid Industries fog lights have kept me out of a ditch or two when night wheeling. Growing up going to car shows and helping my dad work on the family vehicles ignited my passion. My best memory was the first time I flushed the coolant. My dad forgot to tell me to keep my face out from under the drain plug. Never made that mistake again!

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