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A 'Tiptronic-Style' Gear Indicator

It's easy to build and indicates the selected gear in both manual and automatic cars on a digital readout.

By John Clarke

If you're driving in traffic, it is quite easy to be in the wrong gear, especially as the noise of the traffic can drown out the engine. And if you have your stereo system blaring as well, then what chance have you got? Yes, you can deliberately look at the gearstick but you're not likely to do that unless you suspect you might be in the wrong gear.

Why would you be in the "wrong gear" in the first place? If your car is stuck in heavy traffic you might easily continue on for some time in 2nd or 3rd after the traffic clears, particularly if your engine is not noisy.

Much the same can happen with an automatic, if you are in the habit of "flicking" back to 3rd or 2nd (eg, when going up a hill or for engine braking downhill). It's all too easy to forget to flick it back into Drive later on. As a result, you could finish up driving quite some distance in a low gear and that's not good for fuel consumption.

The same problem can happen if you ride a motorbike. Wouldn't it be nice to have a digital display to show the gear you're in? In fact, when driving an automatic it can still be useful to know which gear you are in, even if Drive is correctly selected. Modern automatics are so smooth that it can be difficult to "pick" the changes. Now you can "see" what the transmission is doing.

This idea is not new, of course. All cars with Tiptronic transmissions and the latest Honda Jazz with its 7-speed gearbox have a digital gear indicator on the dashboard.

  • Indicates up to 9 gears
  • Neutral indication
  • Reverse indication
  • Easy gear calibration
  • Adjustable parameters
  • Adjustable reverse gear switch level
  • Display dimming

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