Home » Speedometers Are All Wrong And Stupid But I Can Fix Them

Speedometers Are All Wrong And Stupid But I Can Fix Them

Speedometer Ts2
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“Just take anything in this row” says the Enterprise car rental rep as she hands me the tablet to initial for things I never read and likely am getting ripped off for because it’s “Work” money and I don’t care.

I’ve been up since 4AM to catch the flight here and just want to get to my meetings hassle-free, so I just pick the biggest car in the line with a Toyota logo on it. Rolling over the tire spikes, I head onto the access roads of Charlotte International Airport and I immediately get hit by the digital SLOW DOWN speed sign off to the side. I don’t want to be late for a client due to getting busted, so I look down to see how far over the limit I’m going.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

There’s a digital readout dead center but I instinctively glance at the analog gauge, as many of you might do. Staring me in the face is this:

Camry Speed 2 5 24a

 

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I’d have to look it up, but considering the relative lack of oomf and noise the white Camry I’m in seems to have the “standard” motor under the hood. Almost certainly the 160 miles an hour maximum shown would only be accessible with JATO units strapped to the roof. Honestly, the entire last quarter of the gauge would be essentially useless even if I were on the salt flats, which I am decidedly not. I think I topped out at around 80 on Charlotte freeways with the fastest traffic.

I’m not picking on Toyota. Many, many manufacturers do this, and it’s especially frustrating on cars with graphic digital displays. My old station wagon did this, and getting into my new-to-me-but-quite-used current SUV wagon upon returning to the airport parking lot in Chicago I see another nearly useless speedometer readout:

Cayenne Speedo 2 24 B

 

This one is particularly inexcusable since it doesn’t even have a physical pointer. Hell, this is a graphic display that can show ANYTHING, as it does showing mileage when the car is first started. Like this:

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Cayenee 2 4 B

 

Again, like in the Toyota rental, in my car there’s a numeric digital display (and a heads up on the windshield thanks to the individual that ordered it new) so this gauge isn’t critical, but if it’s illegible why even have it? Besides, even if the top speed was that figure (it’s apparently over twenty MPH less than that) it’s a fucking grey hybrid family SUV and I’m usually driving on side roads where sixty is impossible to achieve and reckless driving if you could. What is the reason for this madness, and how can we fix it?

Why Would A Car Lie?

Perception is reality in many people’s minds. Car companies certainly have known that for years, and they continue to play it up.

Back in the era when Whitesnake was topping the charts, people squished into the back “seat” of our rusty 280Z 2+2 would look at the speedometer and be quite impressed at the 160MPH figure at the far end of the scale. “Damn, look at that”, some would say, “this thing’s FAST, son!” It almost didn’t matter when I told them that the top speed was really about forty miles an hour less than that (even back when the car didn’t have rust holes and 150,000 on the clock like ours did by then). They didn’t care. The speedometer on their newer 4Runner topped out at 110, so based on their reasoning this old Datsun Z car was a low- slung green sports machine so it HAD to be much faster than a pickup truck SUV, right?

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4run Z Speedo 2
Barn Finds, Motorcar Studio, ebay

This was obviously a mind trick. Speed maximums on speedometers have always seemed to be just wishful thinking marketing ploys by car manufacturers. It was an ever-escalation war, and we should just be happy they didn’t start sticking two or three hundred mile an hour gauges in our cars.

Of course, the automakers have so-called “reasoning” for this overabundance of numbers according at a CNN article from a little while back:

Toyota spokesman Paul Hogard said the automaker wants speedometers to be easy to read, so there’s value in placing the typical operating speed of American cars, 45 mph to 70 mph, he said, at the top of the speedometer, which is the easiest place on the speedometer for the driver to read. To do this – while maintaining a visually-appealing, symmetrical speedometer – requires a gauge that displays well past operating speeds, he said.

A person on my team with a masters degree in UI said that, in scientific terms, this excuse could be described as “pure, unadulterated bullshit.” She might be wrong, but I know for a fact that “visually appealing” and “symmetrical” gauges are less important to me than my ability to read the numbers easily. That Camry has 100MPH dead top center which is hardly a “typical operation speed” for a refrigerator-white urban-based rental car.

You might remember a several year period in the early eighties where American cars were required to have speedometers that maxed out at 85 MPH (and have a highlighted “55”). This was supposedly a ploy by the Carter administration NHTSA to keep people driving slower; the government thought “why give them the incentive to go at higher speeds than the limit?”

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While these gauges looked ridiculous in Porsches and Ferraris of the era, super-regulated speedometers were really nice to have in most Malaise era cars. Seriously, why would I want a 120MPH speedometer when our smog-equipment-strangled 1980 Volvo 245DL or 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis wagon could barely exceed 85 anyway? Look at these units out of those cars. Even the rococo black-on-chrome grandfather clock shit on the Grand-Ma-Marquis was clear and easy to read, daytime or at night when the Mercury gauge was bathed in an odd algae-on-the-moon glow.

Malaise
ebay, ebay

 

Is there a compromise? One where you could, in fact, show the potential speed of a car within reason but still be more useable to drivers ninety nine percent of the time?

Solutions From The Dark Days

As I often point out, there are many solutions to automotive problems which were solved years ago; we’ve just forgotten about them.

For the mechanical, analog speedometer on that Camry, we can go back to the dark days of Malaise to find a fix in Ford’s attempted Euro-style sports coupe, the Fox Mustang SVO. Saddled with that 85 MPH limitation on the speedometer, Ford followed the rule of the day and indeed offered no digits beyond that speed. However, the rules apparently didn’t say that the speedometer had to STOP at 85, did it? Notice the dots below that continue on the arc of the speedometer past 85? Pretty sneaky, Ford.

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Svo
Ford, Classic Cars. com

That Camry (and similar cars) could do the same thing. Note that there’s plenty of room for extra markings under the gas gauge (sort of like the kilometers markings on American speedometers) for when the car would exceed the speed marked with large numbers. Here’s that original one from my rental again:

Camry Speed 2 5 24a

Now let’s make the modifications (crudely in Photoshop):

24a

The needle would likely have to wrap around a second time (sort of like standing on an analog scale after the holidays) to get to 160MPH, but guess what? THE CAR CAN’T GO THAT FAST ANYWAY.

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Camry New Speedometer 2 5

My Camry rental had a digital numeric display as well dead center in the instrument cluster, and that readout could continue even after the needle went above (or even stopped at) 85MPH; the early Corvette C4 did that rather successfully:

Corvette Speedo 2 24 4
ebay

 

Graphic LCD displays are, of course, much easier to provide different options. Let’s look at the graphic gauge example from my car again:

Cayenne Speedo 2 24 B

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Could there not be two scales, where one is used in the city and one on the highway? Cars like Citroens and Mercedes offered “dual tone” horns at one point where you had a super-loud honker for the wide-open spaces and a rather more civilized one for in town. Gauges can do that, too; this is not unlike old Datsun fuel gauges like the ones on the gadget-laden 280ZX with a second, finer gauge that kicks in at a quarter of a tank.

Fuel Gauge Nissan 2 3 24 4
ebay, Nissan via Jason Torchinsky

 

Here is the “city” speedometer format for my own car (I know, it’s pretty steep for “city” but just go with it since it’s better than 175 MPH):

Cayenne Speedo 2 24 G

 

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..and now here is the “autobahn” scale:

Cayenne Speedo 2 24 D

The switch between the two could be manual through a menu, physical button, or even automatic based upon the fact that the car knows via GPS if you’re, say, cruising down The Strip in Vegas or actually on Highway 15 running through on the way to Salt Lake City. Alternatively, the scale for the “city” version could just continue around the circle, turning off the odometer until you slow down below 85.

Also, remember that there’s a digital numeric readout anyway to keep going if you exceed the speed on the gauge. Makes sense, right?

Lose The Madness Or Lose The Gauge

Seriously, these things are getting silly.

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Nobody is impressed with the maximum speed shown on a gauge. Nobody wants to use a magnifying glass to see if they’re speeding in a school zone. Most cars have digital speed readouts anyways, so if the analog (or analog-looking) speedometer is borderline illegible I’d rather car manufacturers just ditch the whole gauge and give us something more useful in the space instead like a giant clock, a countdown timer to Valentine’s Day (ouch!) or even a depreciation gauge. It’s about time.

images by the Bishop unless noted

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V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago

I like the cars that let you switch the speedometer needle units to km/h on the same gauge. Brings those higher numbers into play.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
2 months ago

Long ago some track day participants were talking at Road America and one of them asked me what speed I was seeing in my 1980 Firebird in the Carousel. I replied, “85mph.” After a second or two everyone laughed.

I have a ’06 Jaguar XJ8 and 90mph is straight up, which is really convenient in Chicagoland, being the Actual Speed Limit around here.

ILikeBigBolts
ILikeBigBolts
2 months ago

Made me go look at the gauge cluster on my motorcycle. Top speed of the bike: ~155 per some magazines (I never personally got there). The gauge goes up to 190.

The US-highway-legal portion of the gauge goes from 6 o’clock (0mph) to about 9:30 (85mph). 190 is waaaay over at 2:30. That’s a pretty narrow helpful band to try to keep an eye on while you’re trying not to get clipped by a bunch of texting morons, so I really don’t even try unless my gut says “speed trap ahead – check yourself!”.

Later models got a digital speedo, but I’ve always felt that those require more thinking about than a needle. The question I’m trying to answer in a split second is “am I reasonably close to the speed limit”, not “am I doing 71 or 73”. Same reason I like analog watches over digital – I can judge visual distance a lot faster than I can do mental math.

Jay Abbott
Jay Abbott
2 months ago

I like how my CT6 does 10 mph increments on major tick marks up to 80, then jumps by 20 mph after that. Easy visibility for reasonable speeds without looking like a malaise era speedometer

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Carter era 85 mph gauges would be advocated for on the Autopian. SMDH.
120 mph speedometers make sense to me. 60 mph would be ’12 o’clock normal’ and other higher ‘normal’ highway speeds (75 is very common where I live in Texas, and there’s even an 85 mph speed limit road up near Austin!) wouldn’t put you way over on the ‘scary’ side of the gauge.
Most cars these days are capable of quite high top speeds; 200 hp is considered kind of wimpy these days, when that used to be a really hot car not that long ago. 300 hp is downright common, and 400 hp isn’t hard to get your hands on. Most cars are electronically limited now, as opposed to being power limited – My Magnum RT is limited at 135 mph – it has more than enough oomph to go faster than that, power wise. My V6 Mustang is limited to 115 mph because of stupid driveshaft design, despite having >300 hp in a pretty slippery coupe body. We had a ’99 Silverado at one time (standard cab, short bed, 2wd) with the 190 hp 4.3 V6 that had a limiter at 98 mph for some reason – and it would slam into it like hitting a brick wall, even with the ‘wimpy’ V6. Compare that to the ’94 Z28 which made waves in the automotive enthusiast world for boasting a 168 mph top speed with it’s ‘fire breathing’ (for the time) 275 hp LT1 V8.
So yes, I don’t think speedometers in cars should go to such extreme speeds that it sacrifices readability, but at the same time plenty of people drive faster than 80 (or 85, thank you very much Mr. Carter) – some places even legally – and making a gauge that will indicate those speeds but still leave plenty of space for good gauge resolution isn’t a hard tradeoff to find.

The Bishop
The Bishop
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Definitely not advocating the Carter era gauges, but rationalization and finding a trade off, as you mention.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Understood, my good sir. I was ‘SMDH’-ing with tongue firmly in cheek. 😉 175 mph speedo in a Prius? No. 85 mph speedo on my old Honda CBX which it would peg half way through 2nd gear? Also no.

Fawgcutter
Fawgcutter
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Had a Mk1. Westmoreland Rabbit that had a Claybrook speedometer (named after the person in charge of the NHTSA during the Carter administration). Pinned it on the high side while going from Red Ridge to Schmidt’s Corners (Rabbits were capable of doing at least 95 mph wíth 1 occupant then). Found out that the limitation is in the tires later. With modern ECUs the manufacturer would dial in the tires speed limits into it so the driver would not exceed the capability of the tires.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Well no, driving faster than 85mph on a public road is not legal anywhere in the US.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago

I know what you mean. The speedometer in my KV Mini 1 goes all the way to 70 km/h but anything over 55 km/h is at best aspirational and at worst terrifying to contemplate:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53513931290_a209c4357a_o.jpg

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
2 months ago

This reminds me of my dad’s ‘00 Silverado I got to drive on occasion in high school.The gauge topped out at 100, so of course I had to test it! When those trucks hit 100, there is an abrupt speed limiter. It’s like getting your hand slapped. I now have a ‘94 F150 with the 85 mph Speedo that I have pegged on many an occasion. It was a little weird at first, but I got used to it and wouldn’t want to go any faster on that thing anyway! Overall, I think 100 mph indicated top speed would be a good compromise. It’s a good round number no one should be exceeding on public roads and leaves room for space between graduations.

RC
RC
2 months ago

 or actually on Highway 15 running through on the way to Salt Lake City.

Gonna be pedantic here for a second, but out West, the prefix thingamajig actually matters. It’s Interstate 15, or I-15. Not “The 15” (looking at you, Californians) and definitely not “Highway 15.”

There is a reason for the pedantry, though – in Utah (or Nevada or Arizona, for that matter), there are Interstates (I-15), US Highways (like US6, the quite lonely highway that traverses Nevada south of I-80), State Highways (like SR9, a road with a particularly cool tunnel in Zion National Park), BLM Roads, County Roads, USFS Roads, and they all use numbers, and sometimes the numbers are the same for completely different road systems.

So if you’re staring at google maps and you tell me you “Took the 15 to the 6 to the 24,” then you could be describing a location somewhere in the bowels of Central Utah… or the Nevada desert.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
2 months ago
Reply to  RC

US 50 through Nevada is like a Taylor Swift concert in comparison to US 6. But if you really want a lonely road, take Nevada State Route 8A, which crosses the northern part of the state. You could take a nap on that road and not get run over by anything but cattle, or maybe pronghorn antelope.

Last edited 2 months ago by OverlandingSprinter
Loudog
Loudog
2 months ago

US 6, however, is a damn tasty road and worth the drive.

Matt Dieter
Matt Dieter
2 months ago
Reply to  RC

It’s not just out west.
The whole US has that. I live a mile south of I-64, a few miles south of State Hwy 64, 20 miles west of I-69, and state Hwy 69 is just to my east.

Again, just like “Don’t like the weather in *state*? Wait 5 minutes!” Or “There’s two seasons in *state*: winter and road construction!” and similar poor attempts at humor, you’ll see that everything everyone thinks is unique about their state is not.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago
Reply to  RC

“It’s Interstate 15, or I-15. Not “The 15” (looking at you, Californians)”

There’s a reason for the way we Californians refer to our roads.

Southern Californians refer to all Interstates and major US Highways as “The Ten”, “The Five”, “The One Oh One” and “The Four Oh Five”
Why is this?
Because those roads pre-existed the US Interstate system – and were named for their destinations. They were “The Ventura Highway” , “The Hollywood Freeway”, “The Harbor Freeway”, “The San Diego Freeway”, etc. So while we use the new numbers – these roads are till preceded by “The”

Northern Californians do generally stick to the “Eye Eighty” or “Interstate Eighty” paradigm for that road which begins in San Francisco – as that’s a “new” freeway.
However for US Highways and older roads which had names – “The One Oh One” was “The Bayshore”, “The James Lick”, or “The Golden Gate Bridge”. Otherwise – there is generally no “Eye” or “The” preceding other roads – as Northern Californians have no time for excess syllables. Therefore “The Nimitz”, is now “Eight Eighty”, “The Junipero Serra” is now “Two Eighty”, etc.

Last edited 2 months ago by Urban Runabout
Angry Bob
Angry Bob
2 months ago

I took my C4 Corvette up to 102 mph once just to see if that third digit is actually hooked up to something. And it is!

My ’05 Honda Odyssey speedometer goes up to 160. Lol.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
2 months ago

This post made me go check two of my cars to investigate.

The MR2 Spyder goes to 150mph. Unnecessarily high, but it is a car you might conceivably run on the track, and with modifications might find the scaling useful.

The Kia Niro EV is especially odd. It has a large digital display, surrounded by a virtual gauge which only has 0mph marked on the far left and 130mph on the far right. It has 8 divisions, most are white; 2 and 3 are blue and the 8th is red. The space between the divisions becomes populated by 4 little squares as you speed up. So each major division is 16.25 mph, and each blip is 4mph but I had to calculate those, as trying to figure it out while driving was too hard. According to the internet, top speed is 104mph. So you’ve got your blue zone from 16-50mph and the red from 114mph. If they had just put 120mph as the top number it would and 3 blips between major markings I think it would have made a lot more sense.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago

Well, my convertible is limited to 155mph, so the dial goes to 160. A moot point, really, as anything over 80 is Verboten here in Virginia. This kind of works for me as I know I can’t legally point the needle quite straight up—and I’ve had more of those conversations with officers than I care to already 😉

Last edited 2 months ago by TOSSABL
Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

“…anything over 80 is Verboten here in Virginia.”

That means nothing to the NASCAR wannabes who come screaming up to my back bumper when I’m doing 80.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

When in traffic….
But in those cases I absolutely don’t care what my speed is: I only look at what’s in front of & behind me —and occasionally glance at the oil temp gauge in the console. It was built with the Autobahn in mind—I81 isn’t going to bother it much.

If it’s just a couple idiots, I cut right & let ‘em go on: triple digits in traffic isn’t really my idea of fun generally.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

“If it’s just a couple idiots, I cut right & let ‘em go on”

Assuming you can.
I’ve been in situations with heavy traffic – a lineup of cars ahead – impossible to go right – and some Meth-freak driving a pos beater w/ half my horsepower on my back bumper.
I’ve even had them roar up on me, swerving in and out of traffic, when I’m in the right lane preparing to exit.
There are a lot of genuinely stupid people in Virginia.
*banjos playing in the distance*

Last edited 2 months ago by Urban Runabout
OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
2 months ago

If we want to talk about useless speedometer features, why do so many brands put more than one minor tick between the major increments of 10mph? I either need to know if I’m going 30, 35 or 40; I never need to see that I’m going 37 or 32mph.

Even more annoyingly was the speedometer on the 3rd Gen Honda Fit (which went up to 140mph, lol) and showed major ticks every 20mph and minor ones every 10 and only about 1/2 an inch between them, so you had no way to be accurate in any area with a speed limit ending in 5 (35, 45, 75, etc).

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago

When I was a teenager, one of my friends lived in a neighborhood with a 17mph speed limit. Outside those unusual circumstances, I can’t think of why there’s so many ticks on some speedometers.

Beached Wail
Beached Wail
2 months ago

I have 2009 and 2015 Fits and haven’t had a problem dealing with speeds ending in “5.” When you’re driving a Fit, the speed never changes rapidly so you have plenty of time to read the speedometer.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
2 months ago

My 4-cylinder e36 has a 155mph speedometer. Talk about optimistic.

And then I have a w123 with an 85mph speedometer. You wanna go 37mph? Easy peasy.

Next Friday
Next Friday
2 months ago

I agree.

Maymar
Maymar
2 months ago

For Toyota’s reasoning, I wonder if a piece of it is a slightly conservative mindset to the effect of “I don’t want to push the car to hard, don’t want to rev over 3000rpm, don’t want to abuse it, it’ll brake down!” amongst some of the owners. A bunch of extra unused gauge assures them they’re being gentle.

But yeah, having 60-70mph up at the top kind of makes sense, but then means there’s little point in having a gauge over 120ish MPH.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
2 months ago

Conversely, the McLaren F1 speedometer (which only goes to 240 mph in some of them) has far too many numbers crammed onto it. The kph ones are basically unreadable.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

Agreed! That’s why I didn’t buy one.

Philip B
Philip B
2 months ago

Agreed, completely pointless. Just give me a digital speedo paired with an analogue tach

Drew
Drew
2 months ago

Give me speedometers where I can bury the needle! My Citation could exceed 85, and being able to bury the needle made it feel much faster than it actually was, at least to a dumbass youngster like myself. If the governor stops me from going over 100, a speedometer reading to 80 or 90 will make that feel faster than seeing a tantalizing 120 or 160 out of reach.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Drew

My ’78 Cougar has the hated 85 mph speedo – but even with the smogged-out 2 barrel 351 Windsor I could wrap the speedo around to the tripometer reset pin if I was feeling brave (stupid) enough to ignore how light the front end was becoming. That implies I was up past 110 mph – with the C4 automatic, 2.50 rear axle ratio and 225/75R15 tires the engine probably wasn’t running over 3500 RPM. https://forum.classiccougarcommunity.com/uploads/db3333/original/2X/3/3c7a641e84e4c0544458e1c2def4037276d77ed1.jpeg

Jason Snooks
Jason Snooks
2 months ago

I agree for boring commuter cars there’s no point in a gauge that reads past what the car is capable of. Nobody is modifying their Camry to remove the speed limiter, and those that are can just use the digital readout anyway.

That said, I think the real issue is that modern speedometers are getting smaller and smaller. The less space you have to pack in the numbers, the harder it is to make out where you are on the gauge. My car has a large speedo and tach, and even though the speedometer goes to 200 I’ve never had any issue identifying exactly how fast I’m going. Plus, 70 is straight up and down, which does indeed make it much easier to quickly reference whether you’re OK or not. A quick glance tells you if the needle is close to vertical or not, and you can adjust more precisely from there.

The Bishop
The Bishop
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason Snooks

For some reason, the concentric speedometer/tachometer in the first Preludes makes some sense, as does the Rolex watch face gauges in the early Lexus IS300 with minor gauges inside the larger one.

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago

My 1972 Super Beetle is just as guilty as a lot of newer cars. The speedometer goes all the way up to 100…at a time when VW didn’t build a single car capable of those speeds. Mine will cruise at 85 flat out but that’s all it’s got. I hit 90 once going downhill. But that particular setup allowed 55mph to be top center, which was probably nice when that was the speed limit on many highways (I believe 1972 was before the nationwide 55mph speed limit but I may be wrong).

I think the speedometer on my Sportwagen goes up to like 150 or so, although the part may have be shared with other VAG products that were capable of those speeds. It’ll do around 130 flat out, so I guess 20mph of optimism isn’t terrible.

Rmkilc
Rmkilc
2 months ago

My F-150 speedo goes to 120 which is perfect. With my tune and no speed limiter, it will easily go 120 but there is not much sense going any faster. My Explorer Sport speedo goes to 140 and it will do well over 120 in stock form without any speed limiter removal. So that one is also perfect. No outrageous speedometers here.

Tangent
Tangent
2 months ago

My 2020 BMW X3 actually has a really nice compromise. The speedometer is broken up into 7 equally spaced major segments that go 0, 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 120, and 160. That way you can easily tell the difference between small variations in speed at low speed at a glance while still covering the entire possible speed range on a single gauge.

https://i.imgur.com/849kptk.jpeg

Rmkilc
Rmkilc
2 months ago
Reply to  Tangent

I don’t know man, if only they kept the tick marks consistent. For example, a thick white tick mark every 10 mph, so get rid of the one at 5 and 15 MPH and add one at 90, 110, 130 and 150. Instead, it looks mislabeled instead of a scale that changes size throughout the range. Here is a mock-up I made:

https://i.imgur.com/yb9C46c.jpg

Last edited 2 months ago by Rmkilc
Brandt S
Brandt S
2 months ago
Reply to  Tangent

I was going to say the same thing about my 2018 A4. The scale is evenly incremented up to 80ish (needle straight up – in about 90 degrees of a circle) and then tops out at 160 (but that’s only 65 degrees of a circle). Thing is, my car is designed to hit up to 155 on the autobahn under certain conditions so I get why the scale goes there.

https://images.app.goo.gl/QnJPnAsdYcSSAtnG7

Last edited 2 months ago by Brandt S
Rmkilc
Rmkilc
2 months ago
Reply to  Brandt S

That is much better. Every 10 mph increment has a thick white tick mark.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Tangent

What in the absolute fuck is that

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago

Oh man the flashbacks from that ’83 Merc speedo – spent many hours looking at that exact gage.

The Bishop
The Bishop
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Me too when I looked it up. Remembering trying to maintain 55 in the mountains was impossible. Cruise wouldn’t work or would keep kicking down to second and the motor screaming.

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Dad’s had a vacuum issue and would blast the heat on full at WOT. I do remember the cruise control surging a lot on those 80’s cars.

The Bishop
The Bishop
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Worst part was the salt flats overdrive. At 35-45 it would just hunt between gears.

Not The Ford 289
Not The Ford 289
2 months ago

One word: DeLorean

Edit: I’m an idiot, it only goes up to 85. I was thinking of the 88 MPH from the movies.

Last edited 2 months ago by Not The Ford 289
Dogapult
Dogapult
2 months ago

I won’t make full claim to this, but I remember reading that in Back to the Future, they used a Canadian-market car, because though the speedo read in both KM and Miles, the Canadian-market cars read to 150kmh, or ~95mph, so they’d show an 88mph speed.
(A quick look at the film, and the car DOES have a 95mph speedometer, but with 55mph highlighted in red, I don’t know if that was just a bit modified for production purposes)

Not The Ford 289
Not The Ford 289
2 months ago
Reply to  Dogapult

Hmm… That would be a really cool random fact for when I’m at work. I’ll have to look in to that.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
2 months ago

I cannot agree more. It drives me bonkers when I get into something like a silverado or Rav4 and the 60mph mark is 1/3rd of the way up the guage, all the way to 140mph.

And perhaps less silly but still annoying to me: Crazy high rpm gauges on vehicles with quite low redlines. Totota, there is no reason for a Tacoma to have an 8,000 rpm tach when the engine is out of breath at 5,000.

I like the setup in a Wrangler JK. Max speed on the speedo? 100mph. Max speed in reality? 99mph.

Max rpm on the tach? 7,000rpm. Actual engine redline? 6600. Makes good sense.

Last edited 2 months ago by H4llelujah
Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

I appreciate that VW put a different tachometer in their diesels (at least, the MKVI ones), that only goes up to 6000rpm. Which is perfect, since redline is right around there or a little before. The ones in their gas cars go up to 7k which also makes sense, as that’s right where redline is. It’s hilarious getting into a plain Toyota (or other regular car) and seeing a tach with an 8k redline.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
2 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Yup. GMT900 and K2XX chevys have 100mph speedos and 6000 rpm tachs as well, and the engines will happily spin all the way to the end of the tach. It’s wierdly satisfying to see.

But Everytime I see a pickup with a stock TBI 350 (redline is somewhere around 4700rpm) and a 10,000 rpm sunpro tach on the dash, it makes a vein pop out in my forehead.

Last edited 2 months ago by H4llelujah
Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
2 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Redline on 2zz equipped Celica GTS and Matrix XRS was truly 7800 or 8200 rpm. Given that Toyota is known for using the same parts on many vehicles it makes sense that most of the others also have tachs that go that high.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
2 months ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

The Tacoma has an 8k rpm tachometer because the most likely used the same tach on nearly every Toyota of the same vintage. Depending on the year, redline of some of the sporty options would have been around 7k rpm, with 2zz engines from the early aughts getting an 8.2k redline.

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