Car Service

Car Parts Explained: Understanding a Tachometer

Ford Tachometer

Cars come with a range of gauges and devices that help you better understand your vehicle. This includes features like the tachometer, a gauge that comes on many models, especially if they have a manual transmission. Despite the fact many people have seen a tachometer, not everyone understands what exactly they tell the driver. That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide on understanding a tachometer.

The tachometer is also called a “revolution/rev counter,” “tach,” and “RPM Gauge,” according to Wikipedia. These instruments measure the revolutions per minute (RPM) of your engine, telling you just how hard it is working. Tachometers have essentially existed, however crudely, since the inception of internal combustion engines.

Why does it matter? A tachometer lets you see how hard your engine is working, and it can also let you know when to shift. Many cars with automatic transmissions have phased out tachometers; however, if they are still useful on automatic models to let drivers know when there is a potential problem with the transmission. On manual models, tachometers are absolutely necessary, letting you know precisely when to shift.

The phrase “red lining” is associated with the tachometer, as occurs when you fail to shift to a higher gear and the needle reaches the car’s “red line.” This line appears on the tachometer to tell you the engine has reached its maximum RPMs.

To find out more about the rest of the instruments on your dashboard, contact us at Sun State Ford.

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