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Why rev counters? - THe Growler
Most vehicles seem to boast a tachometer (rev counter). Why? What for? I can perhaps understand in a sports car with a stickshift there might be a role for this thing, but we have 3 autos in our backyard, which, when venturing out of the drive, seldom get out of Drive as it were, except to go backwards.

Example: mine is a 4.6 liter V-8 Ford. It has tachometer reading up to 6000 (no red line). Normal engine speed is almost never more than 1,500-1,800 rpm. At 100 kph which is about as fast as it is possible to go in the Philippines due to traffic conditions and road surfaces, and even then only occasionally, the thing ambles along at around 1,550. It is very powerful and lays good rubber when floored but that's torque, not revolutions.

Apart from looking nice and balancing up the dash layout, along with confusing some others who shall be nameless ("Babes, which one of these two is it again that says how fast you're going?" --- yes, well, enough of that) what is the point of the thing?

It's like all the useless finnicky stuff on the stereo that you have near accidents trying to use and need 50% of the manual to explain (I kid you not, mine does).

I now pass this conundrum to those eager to explain it.............

Why rev counters? - Baskerville
They are useful on manual diesels because maximum torque is delivered in a fairly narrow range. The higher gears are usually quite tall, so the revs don't rise much with acceleration. With a petrol engine or "screamer" it measures decibels and fuel consumption. The red part is to represent ten pound notes being burned.

Why rev counters? - THe Growler
Yes, this I can appreciate, but none of these apply to my herd, so why did Ford put it there?

Actually the funniest thing was the one on the HD I just sold (HJ's point below). It had a rev counter whose needle barely ever got off the stop! The rice rocket afficionadoes down at our club used to think it was a hoot, I could have sold tickets, they all wanted to see this).
Why rev counters? - Miller
I think they are like a woman, not much use but you miss it if its not there! :-)
Why rev counters? - dimdip
Yeouch !
Why rev counters? - Union Jack
Growler - So that we know how many vicars/ministers/priests there are, of course ....

More seriously, a rev counter might have helped the man recently reported in the UK papers as having escaped a ban, but not a substantial fine, for driving at 107 mph on a motorway - because his defective speedo only showed 65 mph - lucky or what? - not to mention those of us without ready access to a V8 who quite like to check our speed relative to 1000 rpm - or similar little foibles!

Why rev counters? - svpworld
I think its a good thing to know what the engine is doing relative to the wheels on the car. For example a quick glance can tell you if the engine's stalled (or even running in an omega, its almost silent when stationary!), it helps when overtaking to keep the revs within a certain band for maximum acceleration, you can see if the car is idling correctly or if there's a problem, and it helps protect the engine by warning you if you are cooking things close to the edge.


SVPworld (incorporating PSRworld)
Why rev counters? - Ian Cook
I agree with the backroomer about diesels - especially if you have a turbo model towing your block of flats to its holiday destination.

However, I'm glad that my diesel van doesn't have one - I have enough trouble differentiating the speedo from the clock.

Ian Cook
Why rev counters? - dave18
Its good for overtaking - e.g. judging whether the gear you are about to select is going to cause the engine to red-line. Also for changing up just as the engine hits the redline as its difficult to tell the difference between 6000 and 6500. Other than this I guess its a novelty but I did use it at first on mine to figure out when the engine 'feels happy' - about 3000.
Why rev counters? - svpworld
Not sure though that its so useful in an automatic, other than to scare the pants off me when I hit the sports mode and kickdown!!


SVPworld (incorporating PSRworld)
Why rev counters? - Tomo
It's very useful in Toad in manual mode, to knock the stick forward as the revs rapidly approach the limiter.

Generally, I'm unhappy without one.

I was at Knockhill yesterday for the "E-type experience" and the blessed tacho was disconnected. Perhaps it was so that we punters would keep our eyes on the track, but I suspect it was so we would not know just how low the rev limiter was set!
Why rev counters? - Ian (Cape Town)
I was at Knockhill yesterday for the "E-type experience" ...

Well, c'mon Tomo, give us the WHOLE story! This sounds like fun!
Why rev counters? - crazed
i thought they were so that you could tell how fast you are doing (with a bit of maths)

so that you can drive around with the speedo disconnected, so that you can part ex your nice "low mileage" car in a few years despite having done glasgow london every day

saves all that hassle of winding back the mileage

you just reconnect the speedo

isnt this what rev counters are for ?
No rev counter - Knockhill - Tomo

Right. First, assuming one lives within convenient distance, one contacts Knockhill office ( will do). They send one a form to cough up £169, which one sends; they then send a receipt and an invitation to 'phone for a date. One then puts off for a month or two, now fearing that people may think one an old fool. Eventually they 'phone and one has to face up to it.

One then parades on the due date and appointed time (in Toad, giving some style to proceedings) to find some other hopefuls there.

The drill is that one gets an initial briefing, some of which one hears despite dubious hearing and a typical modern small child which somebody's better half has brought with her - dammit.

On the track, following arduous insertion of one's six feet (length, not number) through the roll cage one goes round first with the instructor driving, he making various profound observations which one does not hear, so one just looks at what he is doing as best as possible, being somewhat discouraged by no working instruments and the remembrance of some hot laps once, chauffeured by my nephew in a sprint Sunbeam on a track day, when turning in points and things seemed notably different and more in accord with one's own instincts. Then there are 5 laps with self driving, under the impression that one is picking up some of what is being said. Some trouble with the clutch, which is not well placed in an E at best so that one tries to displace a portion of the vehicles structure instead of the pedal, but things seem to fall into place. Despite what was said at briefing about us finding 5 laps quite enough, it was too short. One thinks eight would be better for geriatrics.

Then we get a rest, followed by another 5 laps.

Before this lot the instructor suggests a simple hand code, for when he wants brakes on and off - he seems to think throttle can be left to the fates - and turn in points. It really seemed to one to go quite well. Certainly it was enjoyed.

It must be related that one's brother, who was chatting with the chap who looks after the machinery, inquired about a misfire on the straight; after a look and listen next time round they concluded that one was coming out of the hairpin faster than others and was hitting the rev limiter - really requiring another change up, but at about 100 yards to the braking point hardly worth while.

To finish up there was a final lap driven by the instructor, presumably to get his revenge, but after one's nephew it was not that hair-raising!

One gets an assessment with various aspects of driving rated from A to E, and a score, and comments; someone got a little plaque for having 92; one only got 84, presumably because of the E for "Drive To Instruction".

Comments were:- "Amazing, never heard a word of instruction, just went faster and faster. Didn't bother with clutch on first run!! - that's too slow!"

But one has As for "Maintain Full Control" and "Consistency".

The cars were stripped 3.8 hardtops, big bore Webers, fitted with V-12 brakes, to last all day; and Getrag 5-speed boxes, because the Jag boxes were far to expensive to maintain.

One is contemplating another go before aging sets in too far.
Why rev counters? - jeds
Just had to nip out to the Passat to see if I have one. And yes I have! Never noticed it before.
Why rev counters? - Monaro
Out here they appear to be rev counter mad. A Saturday night in town (Christchurch) is like a scene from the Fast and the Furious. Modded Japanese cars everywhere with upto 3 rev counters. The standard one. The compulsory (it seems) huge aftermarket add-on right in the middle of the dash, and on the more extreme cars, one right in the middle of the bonnet (yes the bonnet) so that everyone around you can see how many revs you are doing. And these are some of the tame add-ons. Whale tails or trays on the boots of saloons (a la WRX) are 10 a penny and chromed alloys rule the roost. And I have never seen so many cars with furry seat covers and dice hanging from the mirror. Mind you the blue underlighting alot of the cars here have (like the Civics in the movie - the area under the car is lit up) does actually look quite good. The other mods don't.

Paul C

Value my car