It measures Revolution Per MInute (RPM). This is important in performance cars or hard working motors to keep them from overreving which can cause engine damage. On an everyday car they are used very little.
This entirely depends on the vehicle and the type of tach your referring to such as a add on tach or an OEM in dash tach. To explain how to install and OEM tach would take far to long. I would suggest a add on tach that mounts basically where ever you want to mount it. Most of these tachs explain the installation instructions. I personally recommend a tach by Autometer you can view their products on the web at the link below. , EzForJesus http://www.autometer.com/
At the dist there should be one to power the dist. & one for tach signal. Unplug one & see if car starts or if tach still works. Can't really remember for sure as its been a while lol. My 1972 tach wire is brown and it has a inline fuse from the factory. Your tach wire will be connected to the negative side of your terminal witch is labeled "tach".
there will be a spot on back of distributor cap it will say tach run wire from there to gauge. You probably need to run a switched 12v lead as well to illuminate the tach at night. The tach slot on the distributor will take care of 'timing' the pulse to the tach. Often times the tach will have a switch setting for 4-6-8 cylinder. Read the manufacturer instructions carefully.
you can install any kind of tach you want to in your car..if you do not have a stock tach then look in your manual for the rmp sensor wire..should be blue or green coming off the distributor...just splice into it...if you have a stock tach you can just splice into the stock tach wires by taking off the dash
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