The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 May 2008

A different tach

As I've mentioned before, I've owned six automobiles. Four of them were equipped with tachometers, and while there are those who will argue that it's pointless to have a tach with an automatic transmission, I consider it a useful guide to, among other things, what gear the slushbox is in and the state of the car's idle.

The gauge panels of all four of those cars had big double dials. The Toyota and the two Mazdas had the tach on the left, speedo on the right. The Infiniti reverses that pattern: speedo on the left, tach on the right. I really don't have any reason to prefer one variation over the other, but it's puzzled me for some time, especially since I've checked out the occasional G35 from the dealership and its tach is on the left.

When you get into industrial-strength sports cars, though, all bets are off: the Porsche 911, far back as I can remember, has had the tach in the center of the cluster.

Posted at 9:39 AM to Driver's Seat

I prefer a tach on my vehicles regardless of automatic or standard. It was the first indicator of a problem with my chevy that showed my transmission was behaving poorly and that it wasn't shifting showing I was running high rpm at highway speeds. On my motorcycle it is an indicator of my fuel consumption. I know the sweet spot on it that gives me the best mileage. If I'm running to high or low I can adjust my gear selection or throttle to compensate.

Posted by: Joe at 11:31 AM on 30 May 2008

The tach on the '98 Taurus we're driving to Tennessee for my wife's aunts, is on the right. We've used cruise control extensively through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, and the needle on the tach doesn't seem to vary its position at a given speed unless it downshifts to climb a hill. If it doesn't need to downshift, the RPMs are just as high as if we're going downhill or on level ground.

Which leads me to wonder if it's actually counting RPMs or just approximating.

BTW, the lowest gas prices we've found on this trip have been here in Wyoming -- especially at a truck stop owned by one of the Indian tribes.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:03 AM on 1 June 2008
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