What Is the Function of an Instrument Cluster in a Car?

by Lina Schofield
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Car dashboard image by Andrejs Pidjass from Fotolia.com

The instrument cluster contains the various gauges and indicators that drivers depend on to learn important information on the current status of the automobile. If this information wasn't accessible to drivers, potentially hazardous problems could occur and you'd never know.


The function of the instrument cluster is to keep the driver informed with the most current information as they drive. Gauges provide the information for speed, distance, heat and fuel. Indicator lights provide warnings and updates like the check engine light and the low fuel light. Different vehicles have different warnings available.


The instruments in the instrument cluster are gauges that are circular, and in most cases back lit. The instrument cluster includes the speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer and odometer; it is located on the driver's side on the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel.


The speedometer tells you how fast the vehicle is moving. The fuel gauge tells you how much fuel is currently in your gas tank. The tachometer provides the driver with the rotation rate of the crankshaft in the engine. The odometer tells you how many miles the vehicle has traveled.

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