When you have a modified vehicle it’s important to know exactly what’s going on with your engine and other components. Gauges make that possible. While some vehicles come with stock gauges, they are intended for unmodified engines. They may not be able to properly alert you of any issues coming your way. Aftermarket performance gauges are designed with modified vehicles in mind. There are several different types of gauges that allow you insight on different aspects of your vehicle. In this article we will cover the basics of several popular gauges.
Fuel Pressure Gauge
A fuel pressure gauge helps keep an eye on your fuel system, and to ensure your system is running at peak performance levels. Just as the name implies, it monitors the fuel pressure in your engine. This helps prevent damage to your fuel pump and injectors. Additionally, they are a great tool in diagnosing loss of horsepower.
AFR Wideband Gauge
A Wideband gauge will allow you to accurately monitor the Air/Fuel ratio of your engine. This data is extremely important when you have a tuned engine. Running rich, or lean can have negative effects on your vehicle. Running to rich is when your vehicle has very low air/fuel ratio and excessive fuel. This can result in a loss of power. Running lean is when your vehicle is has very high air/fuel ratio, and not enough fuel. This can result in serious engine damage. To prevent this type of damage from happening its important to have a Wideband (AFR) gauge, especially during the tuning process. This allows your tuner to properly adjust the parameters for maximum power and efficiency.
Oil Pressure Gauge
As the name implies, an oil pressure gauge monitors your vehicles oil pressure levels. They monitor the oil pressure in one of the main oilways near the fuel pump and filter. Maintaining oil pressure is important for your engine’s health. Levels too high, or too low can indicate there’s an issue in your system. The main advantage of installing an oil pressure gauge is the warning light. Many performance gauges feature a warning light which helps alert the driver when oil pressure is dropping too low.
Water / Trans / Oil Temperature Gauge
This gauge helps monitor temperatures in the vehicle help prevent overheating. When a vehicle overheats, major damage to the engine can occur. Performance vehicles tend to run much hotter than factory engines, therefor this is a great addition to any gauge cluster.
A volt gauge monitors your vehicle’s electrical system from 8 to 18 volts to ensure that all facets are operating efficiently.
Boost Pressure Gauge
A boost gauge is a pressure gauge that indicates manifold air pressure or turbocharger / supercharger boost pressure in an internal combustion engine. Their first job is to prevent too much boost from damaging your engine. Any excess pressure (boost) is sent to the wastegate where it is bled out of the system Boost gauges also allow you to adjust your boost levels to varying parameters to ensure optimal boost level. To learn more about a boost gauge we have an article covering it more in depth. Click here to read that article.
EGT stands for Exhaust gas temperature. This gauge is used to monitor the exhaust gas temperature of an internal combustion engine in conjunction with a thermocouple-type pyrometer. By monitoring EGT, the driver or pilot can get an idea of the vehicle’s air-fuel ratio. An EGT gauge works very similar to an AFR Gauge, however they grab their information differently. AFR gauges are more of a “big picture” of the cylinder bank while cylinder-mounted EGT gauges paint a more granular picture.
When you push your car hard on the street or the track, you need precise data so you can properly monitor its health. Depending on your modifications, the gauges ideal for you will vary. Luckily there are different types of clusters available, allowing you to install as many as your set up requires!