A tachometer refers to an instrument used to measure engine revolutions per minute (RPM). The tachometer needle, which indicates or points to the current rate of RPM, can develop problems for numerous reasons.
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A tachometer needle that jumps or moves erratically regardless of the vehicle's current RPM, or moves in response to environmental disturbances such as road bumps or a door shutting, typically is not fastened securely. The operator can remove the gauge cover and tighten the needle to resolve the problem.
A tachometer needle may stick, or remain at one reading and not respond to changes in engine RPM. Gauge components are held together by glue, which can touch the needle and cause it to stick. Removing the gauge cover and cleaning the needle and any other elements containing excessive glue typically restores proper tachometer function.
A needle that bounces down, or indicates a descending rate of RPM even if the actual RPM rate is steady often indicates a signal problem due to a loose wire connection. Checking the signal wire located at the back of the gauge and tightening any loose connections usually corrects the problem.
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