The vacuum gauge is one of the most useful and versatile engine testing tools you could possibly own, but for some reason, very few hobbyist mechanics own one. Imagine the diagnostic power of a timing light, stethoscope, voltmeter and compression tester, all wrapped in to one tool. That is the power of the vacuum gauge.
When you know how to use a vacuum gauge, you can quickly diagnose both internal and external engine problems. Ignition timing, valve timing, low compression, valve leakage, piston ring leakage, exhaust backpressure, cylinder head leakage, and fueling issues can all be found with the proper use of the vacuum gauge.
Once the gauge is hooked up to a good vacuum (at idle) source, by running a series of tests while looking at the vacuum gauge, you’ll be able to figure out exactly what is causing your problem, and what you’ll need to do to correct it.
We all know that an engine is basically an air pump. It pulls air in on the intake stroke, squeezes that air on the compression stroke, ignites the air (and fuel) on the combustion stroke, and pushes air out on the exhaust stroke. Because it is an air pump, and engine is easily diagnosed by measuring the vacuum at the manifold with a vacuum pressure gauge.
Worried that such an amazing tool like this is going to cost more than your car did? Don’t be! You don’t need to spend a fortune to get your hands on a high quality vacuum tester. In fact, you might be shocked at how little these extremely useful tools cost.
The Best Vacuum-Pressure Gauge
Despite their amazing diagnostic power, a vacuum-pressure gauge is a very simple device. There are no computer chips, batteries or electrical connections to worry about. There are no complex moving parts outside of the dial face itself. However, just because it is not a mechanically complex device, does not mean you want to go out and buy an uncalibrated piece of junk that could potentially give you false readings and bad diagnostics. As with any tool, spending money in the right places is the key.
Because of its precise calibration and easy to read dial face, we have confidently named the OTC 5613 Vacuum/Pressure Gauge as our Best Vacuum-Pressure Gauge.
OTC is no newcomer in the world of high quality tools. Professional mechanics around the globe rely on OTC tools every day. Our tool box has more than a few tools with the OTC name on them, and we are sure to have more in the future.
The OTC 5613 vacuum gauge features a large 3.5” gauge face that makes taking readings easy from any position. The gauge itself is wrapped in a thick rubber boot to protect it from hard surfaces if it is accidentally dropped. The dual purpose gauge can read both vacuum and pressure.
The OTC 5613 can also be used to diagnose low pressure fuel systems, but should never be used on high pressure fuel systems or direct injection fuel systems.
One thing we loved when using the OTC unit is the hook that is built in to the back of the gauge. The hook can be used to hang the gauge face from the underside of the hood, keeping it visible but out of harm’s way when working solo.
The OTC 5613 Vacuum-Pressure Gauge comes in a blow molded case to keep it safe when not in use. Also included in the case are adapters for use in most applications. OTC went above and beyond with their detailed instructions and chart. If you’ve never used a vacuum gauge before, you’ll be up and running in no time after reading the supplied info.
We can’t say enough about the OTC 5613 Vacuum/Pressure Gauge. Not only is it highly recommended, it is in our tool box. Typically, Amazon will be the best place to go for the OTC vacuum gauge thanks to the free shipping deal they usually have going. It’s usually tough to find a better deal. Overall, we think you’ll be highly satisfied as the OTC unit is one of the best vacuum-pressure gauges on the market. Happy wrenching!