Asks: Do You Want Idiot Lights or Gauges

I hate idiot lights. I want to know what my vehicle is doing by monitoring gauges. This is not for everybody, but I have found that most people do appreciate gauges over the simple on and off warning light.

I have also found that the idiot warning light may not be as sensitive in some cases, as it should be. This is where gauges come in handy. If you see your temperature starting to creep up past halfway you know something is wrong. Dash lights may only notify you in an emergency.

When the red light comes on it’s time to turn off the engine immediately. Monitoring the gauges while driving will give you a heads up which can be very valuable. When you notice that your temperature is starting to creep up past halfway, you can make plans to stop in a convenient area before any engine damage occurs.

Unfortunately, many cars only come with the on or off idiot light set up. It used to be that adding gauges was near impossible or unattractive. I’m going to share a little bit of new technology with you. This scan gauge is a complete package that plugs into your car’s diagnostic connector.

When you plug this thing in it taps into the information that your computer is monitoring. Even though your car just has idiot lights your computer is monitoring RPMs, engine temperature, vehicle speed, air fuel mixture and a variety of other important data.

Now you can have a heads up and advanced warning on any problems with your vehicle. I have installed one of these on my wife’s Toyota Corolla. Her baseline corolla came with idiot lights only. I connected the scan gauge to the diagnostic connector and used the Velcro fasteners to attach it to the dash so I can easily see it. My wife’s car now has full gauges.

Below is a description of the product from Amazon’s website. This is not a new product and has many independent reviews. My experience with this device leads me to recommend it. Not only do I have a full gauge set on the Corolla, but this device also calculates the fuel economy and provides check engine light diagnosis, along with the other standard features. Simple no-tools-needed to install it.

Works on 1996 and newer cars and light trucks with OBD 2. It has 4 independent trip computers. Displays information from 4 different gauges simultaneously. And it can read trouble codes and turn off or reset the check engine light. The Scan-Gauge is a compact vehicle computer that connects to the diagnostic connector and gives you an extensive trip computer, real time gauges and a trouble code reader.

It can read fuel economy as you drive, tell you how fast a friend drove the car last night, tell you when you are going to run out of fuel and dozens more. Installation takes only seconds and requires no tools. Can be moved from car to car. Works on gas, diesel, propane and hybrid vehicles. Works on all OBDII protocols including the new CAN protocol.

Customer Review of the Scan Gauge

It’s a simple installation. Just plug it into your vehicle’s OBDII port and choose a suitable mounting location that doesn’t interfere with your other gauges or present a safety hazard. Velcro strips are included for a no fuss installation, but you could devise a more permanent mount if you want

4 sets of trip data are stored. In addition, fuel economy, fuel used, maximum coolant temperature, distance, maximum rpm, drive time, maximum speed, average speed, distance to empty, time to empty, and amount of fuel to empty.

The digital gauges are for fuel economy, fuel rate, digital speedometer, tachometer, manifold pressure, battery voltage, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, engine load, ignition timing, and throttle position. You can display any choice of 4 of these digital gauges on the gauge screen at one time and it’s easy to cycle through them. Not all vehicles will report every one of the above parameters through the OBDII interface.

If the data is not available for the chosen gauge, then there will be no display. The final thing that this gauge is useful for is to read and reset trouble codes and your “check engine” or “service engine soon” lamp.

It captures the conditions present and stores them in flash memory if a trouble code is thrown so that you can review what state the various gauges were in when the trouble code was triggered. If you just want to read and diagnose codes including ABS ones then the actron 9580 may be a better choice.

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This next link takes you back to one of the most popular auto repair information pages about auto scan tools.