The gauge is one of the most useful instruments that can help you maintain your car and prevent damages beforehand. It gives you a clear idea on what’s going on under your hood. Even though you might have a line showing the temperature on your stock gauge, you’re still not getting the needed valuable information. By adding a couple of aftermarket gauges to your vehicle, you can get an idea of what exactly is going on inside your engine. Plus, aftermarket gauges look pretty cool.
Even though vehicles didn’t have gauges until two decades ago, they still had dashboard lights for oil pressure, brakes, and heat. If one of those lights lit up, it usually meant that something was already wrong with your vehicle and that you were already in trouble. Nowadays, however, most cars come with an instrument cluster that displays a wide range of vehicle information. And while factory gauges provide a decent amount of information, they’re still considered as “dumb lights” due to the lack of useful information they provide. They’re useful in letting you know that everything is alright, but beyond that they’re useless. You don’t need to know when something is wrong, you need to know when something is about to go wrong. Big difference.
There are many types of gauges to choose from in auto electrical supplies stores, and there are even more options in each category. You can find a match for nearly any interior – brushed aluminum, antique brass, high-end piano black, carbon fibre, wood grain, etc. The lighting can be LED, incandescent, or even digital display. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices, just get what looks good to you.
However, there’s a decision you’ll have to make when in an auto electrical supplies store – mechanical or electrical gauge? Electrical gauges rely on a digital signal from a sensor located in the engine bay, while mechanical gauges require a direct connection for pneumatic readings. Take oil pressure gauges for instance – the electric oil pressure gauge will show the oil pressure signal from a sensor located in the oil systems and will run the signal wire to the gauge. A mechanical oil pressure gauge, on the other hand, runs a pressurised tube from the engine block back to the gauge, and the gauge will display its readings based on that pressure.
Both types of gauges have their advantages, but mechanical gauges are the more preferred choice due to their affordability, and the fact that they require less wiring. Electric gauges are lighter and smaller, and they don’t require a pressurised tube. Just like with styling, the electric versus mechanical gauge debate is also up to personal preference.