When building a sprint car, your primary focus may be engine power and all the bells and whistles that improve your performance. However, you can’t overlook safety features like gauges. Though gauges are one of the last things most people think about when building a sprint car, they play a vital role in keeping your car running smoothly and safely.

When it comes to sprint car racing, which gauges are essential? At a minimum, your car should have the following:

1 Oil Pressure

The oil pressure gauge is one of the most vital instruments in any car. It tells you more than just the level of oil in your engine; it serves as an indicator of a wide range of related problems—but only if you know how to read it right.

Just like how people suffer from high and low blood pressure, your sprint car’s engine will also undergo severe damage if the oil pressure is too high or too low, making it crucial to monitor the oil pressure gauge regularly. The easiest way to monitor the oil pressure is by finding out the baseline “normal” reading right after you’ve had a tune-up and an oil change and comparing that to your current reading.

Monitor the gauge during turns or when going up or down a steep hill. If the pressure drops significantly, it indicates that you might need to add oil. If the problem persists even after adding oil, it could be an oil leak.

Also, check for higher readings when the engine is warm. Though oil pressure tends to be higher after running for a while, a significant spike may indicate problems related to the oil pressure relief valve.

When installing an oil pressure gauge on a sprint car intended for intense racing, you’ll want to opt for a mechanical gauge with an overall range fit for your vehicle’s PSI range.

2. Fuel Pressure

A fuel pressure gauge gives you the ability to monitor your lift pump and the fuel flow through the filter. If the pressure goes down, it generally means that the pump has worn out, or the filter has clogged. By monitoring the pressure while driving, you will be able to detect underperforming fuel pressure and prevent further injury or damage to the injection pipe.

However, installing a fuel pressure gauge requires some forethought, especially with regards to mounting. Because raw gasoline is present in the line running between the gauge and the source, make sure that you don’t mount the fuel pressure gauge inside the vehicle. There are two exceptions to this rule: a mechanical gauge that comprises an isolator and an electric gauge.

3. Water Temperature

Water temperature gauges help you monitor your sprint car’s engine coolant temperature. Watch the needle, and if you find it creeping higher, it is an early warning that something is wrong with your vehicle’s engine.

Though mechanical water temperature gauges are common, their capillary tubes are fragile and require regular removal and replacement. The capillary tube can also get kinked during installation.

Instead, opt for a motor-based electrical temperature gauge. The electrical version includes a stepper motor configuration that allows for a full gauge sweep. When dealing with a water temperature gauge of any kind, ensure that the basic temperature probe is located within the water jacket.

Gauging Your Sprint Car’s Needs 

With the right gauges installed, you can better monitor your car’s needs and performance. Keeping your eyes on your gauge needles will let you know what tweaks you have to make to improve your speed and keep you safe while you race.