The driver receives little information about the engine’s operating parameters. In the dashboards of some models, space is reserved only for the tachometer. Deficiencies can be supplemented using accessory indicators.
Designers of modern cars apparently came to the conclusion that the driver should not be burdened with a large amount of information about the mechanical side of the vehicle. Is that right The lack of coolant temperature indicator is an example of unnecessary stinginess. Even the simplest engine should not be overloaded before reaching operating temperature. The pace of achieving it depends on many factors – from the ambient temperature, through the efficiency of the power unit, the conditions on the route and the degree of use of heating.
Usually, the coolant temperature needle stops halfway after driving a few kilometers. This does not mean, however, that the motor has been optimally warmed up. The oil temperature often does not exceed 50 degrees Celsius, which means that pressing the gas to the floor will not work out for good – both the bushes, camshafts and turbochargers will get bones. The lubricant reaches its operating temperature most often after 10-15 kilometers of travel. Long-term, heavy engine loading significantly affects the oil temperature. This in turn accelerates the rate of aging of the lubricant, and can also lead to the breaking of the oil film. When it starts to exceed 120 degrees Celsius, it is worth limiting the pressure on the accelerator pedal.
Unfortunately, oil temperature gauges are rare in modern cars. In addition to typical sports constructions, we will find them, among others in more powerful BMW or Peugeot 508 models. In Volkswagen cars, information can be called from the on-board computer menu.
The issue of the lack of oil or coolant temperature indicator can of course be solved. The offer of additional indicators is extremely rich. Several dozen zlotys are enough for the simplest “clock” and the sensor working with it. The products of the most reputable companies – e.g. Defi, valued for the precision of indications and aesthetics of workmanship, cost several hundred zlotys.
A rare oil pressure indicator in modern cars makes it easier to detect lubrication problems early on. The red icon on the dashboard is a last resort that will not signal a decrease in oil pressure. It will come on when the pressure drops to practically zero – if the driver does not turn off the engine within a few seconds, the power unit will be able to be completely renovated.
Information about oil pressure also allows you to estimate whether the engine is optimally warmed up. Before the oil reaches its operating temperature, its pressure is high. After overheating the drive unit, it drops to dangerously low levels.
The boost pressure indicator also makes it easier to check the condition of the power package. Too low as well as excessive values indicate a problem with the control system or the turbocharger. Warning signals should not be underestimated. Irregularities can not only disturb the composition of the mixture. Overloading overloads the crank-piston system.
Modern cars do not lack electricity receivers. Intensive use of them in conjunction with short-distance driving ends in permanent undercharging of the battery. Who wants to avoid problems with electricity, can equip the car with a voltmeter – after turning the key in the ignition it will become clear whether the voltage is correct. If it significantly deviates from 12.5 V, the battery must be recharged with a rectifier or a greater number of kilometers than before. The voltmeter readings at the same time answer the question whether the charging current is maintained at the correct level. To have full information on the condition of the alternator, you also need to invest in an ammeter.
Installation of additional indicators is not excessively complicated. Current for powering the indicator and its backlight can be taken from the audio system harness. We connect the mechanical boost pressure meter with a rubber hose to the intake manifold. The more advanced electronic counterpart uses signals from sensors. When installing a liquid or oil temperature indicator, screw the sensor into the cooling or oil main. A basic set of keys is enough to perform the operation – the sensor can usually be screwed into the factory holes, which remain blinded with screws.
In modern, sensor-packed cars, buying additional indicators is not always necessary. The engine controller has a complete set of information – from boost pressure, through battery clamp voltage, fuel supply in liters, to oil temperature.
Data access routes are different. For example, in newer Volkswagen cars, the oil temperature will be presented after selecting the appropriate field in the on-board computer menu. To enjoy the next information, you must decide to interfere with the electronics or bundle a module that will increase the range of available messages.
You might as well use the OBD scanner with the Bluetooth function and the smartphone with the application. The diagnostic module provides access to a lot of information. It is also the cheapest of the solutions, which does not involve any interference with the car’s design. Down sides? The location of the diagnostic socket in some cars – at the height of the driver’s left knee, behind the ashtray, etc. – rather excludes permanent driving with the scanner plugged in. There are also problems with the compatibility of selected applications and devices.