Not that you were going to or anything, but if you pointed at my car’s dashboard and asked me “What’s the least-accurate display here?” I’d tell you, without hesitation, that it’s the gas gauge: the last time it bottomed out, the subsequent refill took just under 15 gallons — for a 70-liter (18.5-gallon) tank.
But people don’t post pictures of their gas gauges on Facebook, so this is the complaint:
When the mercury hits the levels we’ve seen in recent days it’s inevitable — someone will post a photo of their car thermometer on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. But how accurate are they?
“They’re parked on hot blacktop; there’s going to be residual heat from just the engine itself, the car may not be moving,” said Bill Linsenmayer with AAA Ohio.
He estimates they’re about 5-10 degrees off from the official temperature measured by the National Weather Service.
Which is specious, unless you happen to be driving past the official National Weather Service weather station. In Oklahoma City, you’re not; it’s tucked away into a corner of Will Rogers World Airport. Out where I live, just off the heat island that is Penn Square Mall, being five to ten degrees off is routine.
Besides, Nissan thought of these objections years ago, and set a delay circuit into the HVAC system I have. This time of year, it’s typically in the middle 80s in my garage at sunrise, and the car’s thermometer will so indicate; if it’s, say, 75 outside, the reading will slowly drop, a degree at a time, until it’s reached 75, somewhere near the mall. (At which time, it’s probably 70 at the airport.) In general, the little display is more accurate than the few remaining time/temperature signs around town: it was 96 degrees yesterday when I passed by a local church that claimed it was 105. (Hellfire and damnation, indeed.) And the only time I’ve ever seen it have problems was when the temperature was about -5, and it kept bouncing between -3 and -4.
Now how Nissan can get climate-control gizmos to do this and yet can’t build an accurate gas gauge to save its Qashqai is beyond me.