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What is The Function of Gauges in Automobile?

What is the function of gauges in automobile? Interestingly, you can find multiple gauges. They are all necessary because they serve different purposes. 

Basically, these instruments measure parameters such as speed, fuel level, and oil pressure. Drivers can easily keep track of their car’s condition by checking these gauges. 

This article will explore seven different types of gauges found in automobiles and their functions. Let’s learn how important they are for your safe and efficient driving. 

What is the function of gauges in automobile

What Is The Function Of Gauges In Automobile?

There are various types of gauges in cars, each having specific functions. We will discuss the seven most common types in this section. 

Type Of Gauge  Function  Measurement Unit 
Speedometer Measuring the speed of your car  Miles per hour or kilometers per hour
Tachometer Measuring the speed of the engine RPM (revolutions per minute)
Fuel Gauge Measuring the amount of fuel in the tank  Gallons or liters
Temperature Gauge Measuring the temperature of the engine’s coolant  °F or °C 
Oil Pressure Gauge Measuring the pressure of the engine oil  PSI (pounds per square inch)
Voltmeter Measuring the voltage of the electrical system Volt 
Odometer Measuring the distance that your car has traveled Miles or kilometers 


You can see how fast you are driving using the speedometer. It often sits right in the middle of the dashboard, which you can glance at any time. 

As the automobile moves faster, the speedometer’s needle will rise. And when it slows down, the needle will drop. This gauge, therefore, can display your speed in every second of your driving. 

The speedometer is one of the most common and vital automobile gauges because it assists with your safety and ensures that you obey the traffic rules. 

Most speedometers have factory presets that trigger an alert when your car exceeds a certain speed. In other words, it serves as a speed limit warning and prevents drivers from exceeding the limit.

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The tachometer seen on the left side of the dashboard in the automobile measures the RPM to determine how fast the engine rotates. 

The tachometer is a gauge you should pay close attention to since it may prevent engine damage. More specifically, your engine may be over-revving if the needle goes too high. If not adjusted, it will lead to damage. 

This gauge plays an important role in cars with a manual or standard transmission. On the other hand, it’s not as helpful for automatic transmission. 

Fuel Gauge

The fuel gauge is also one of the car dashboard gauges, letting you know how much fuel is still in the tank. You can find it on the right side of your dashboard. 

A needle on the gauge points at “E” when your tank runs out of fuel and “F” when it’s full. There are also markers for each quarter tank of fuel between the two letters.

Do not ignore the fuel gauge as it helps prevent your engine from dying from a lack of fuel. So when the needle gets close to the letter E, you must refuel your car. 

The fuel in your car should always be at least 1/4 of the tank. Anything lower than this will damage your engine and result in overheating. 

Temperature Gauge

What is the temperature gauge in a car? This gauge rests on the right side of the dashboard and is in charge of measuring the coolant temperature within the engine. 

It’s essential to keep an eye on this measurement since any unusual fluctuation in temperature can quickly lead to major engine failure.

The coolant system in your vehicle can function in every situation. Yet, occasionally it cannot keep up with older automobiles or extremely hot conditions. As a result, the coolant may blow out of the reservoir (23)

If the temperature gauge moves into the dangerous section, you must stop so the engine can cool down before continuing your trip. 

Your engine may overheat for multiple reasons, such as a faulty radiator (5) or coolant leak. Hence, it would be best to have extra coolant in your car to deal with the leaking issue. 

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Oil Pressure Gauge

This gauge tells you the oil pressure of the engine, and it’s on the left side of the dashboard. Once its needle rises, you know that the oil pressure is increasing. 

The engine may stop if the needle gets too near the zero mark. There may be significant damage to your engine as a result, so it’s vital to keep checking this gauge.  

Please remember that once the oil pressure leads to engine damage, you must fix it to avoid driving risks. Unfortunately, warranties don’t often cover this type of damage. 

Another thing to remember is that some cars don’t have the oil pressure gauge. Instead, they feature an indicator that will light if your engine runs low on oil.  


The voltmeter on the dashboard’s left side measures the battery voltage. Its needle will rise if the voltage increases. In most cases, it should be about 12V. 

The battery is essential in automobiles, hence the important role of the voltmeter. You need to recharge the battery whenever the needle is close to the zero mark because running with a low battery will damage it and reduce its longevity. 

So what is the acceptable range for your battery? The answer depends on which type of battery you use. Thus, check its specifications, and consult an expert if your voltmeter reads outside the recommended range. 


The odometer tells you how long you have traveled with your car. It sits right on the dashboard and has readings in kilometers or miles. 

There are two types of odometers: electronic and mechanical. While the electronic instruments calculate the speed of the four wheels using sensors, the mechanical uses springs and gears to estimate the distance. 

The reading of the odometer can affect the value of your car. As a result, some people illegally change the odometer’s reading to a lower one. They try to prove that their vehicles haven’t worked too much and their value will be higher. 

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In the United States, changing the odometer reading that way is a kind of federal crime. If you commit it, you may receive a five-year prison sentence. 

Which Is The Most Important Gauge

Which Is The Most Important Gauge?

All the gauges are vital to ensure safe and efficient driving. Yet, the most critical gauges must be:

  • Fuel gauge
  • Temperature gauge
  • Oil pressure gauge

These instruments can prevent engine damage. So always check them and keep all of them within the safety range. For example, your car’s coolant temperature and oil pressure should be 195°F and 30 PSI, respectively.

The voltmeter can also help avoid battery damage, especially when you have problems with the alternator (20). Meanwhile, the odometer appears to be less important than other tools, but it comes in handy when estimating a vehicle’s value. 

How To Keep The Gauges In Your Automobile Clean

How To Keep The Gauges In Your Automobile Clean?

You need to keep those gauges clean to maintain their longevity and accuracy. Here are some tips for this task:

  • Use a microfiber towel to clean the gauges because it is soft and won’t scratch their surface.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaners that contain ammonia or bleach.
  • Use a detergent made specifically for cleaning vehicle gauges. 
  • Be gentle when brushing the surface. 
  • Don’t let moisture build up on the gauges since it can ruin the internal components. Instead, wipe away any water as quickly as possible with a dry towel.


Understanding “What is the function of gauges in automobile?” is essential for your trip. They will give you critical parameters, such as speed, fuel level, and oil pressure, to inform you about your car’s condition. 

Every parameter has its own safety range. As a result, even while you are busy looking out for the street, keep checking the gauges’ readings constantly. 

Hopefully, you will find this guide helpful. So, next time you get behind the wheel, you will know how to work with the gauges. 

Thank you for reading! 

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