As with the Garage5 shift knob I blogged about, I’ve gotta put a disclaimer. These little caps are something I sell. George of Garage5 and I have teamed up to bring his parts to the US. revlimiter.net is now the official Garage5 US distributor.
As a rule, I don’t review my own parts. I’d rather let others do that. It seems dishonest to try to review my own stuff. But this shift knob is not my own part. It was designed and produced by Garage5. So… I’m reviewing it. And I’ve always wanted to try out some needle caps.
Please don’t shoot me. Onto the review.
Garage5 Needle Caps
Needle caps! There are roughly 87,002,898 different versions of them for the MX-5/Miata/Roadster. They vary from huge to slim, from machined to polished. They are all somewhat similar in that they have to fit over the gauge needle centers. The ones shown here are made by George of Garage5. As mentioned above, I sell them in my store.
Somehow, in 16 years of Miata life, I’ve never had a set of needle caps on Sharka.
George’s needle caps are a pressure fit. And let me tell you, they’re a VERY tight fit. I test fitted one of these caps onto a spare gauge needle a couple weeks ago. It basically fused itself to the cap. It took quite a bit of work to separate that needle and the G5 cap attached to it (I wanted to just pop these over Sharka’s existing needles instead of recalibrating any).
The G5 needle caps are also quite slim. They don’t add much girth at all to the needle center. Because of this, the needle length / needle cap diameter relationship is pretty similar to stock. That’s a good thing. I’ve seen some needle caps that add a TON of visual weight to the needle center making the actual pointer become stubby looking.
Yes, that’s really all there is to it.
I removed the gauge hood cover (2 screws) and popped off the top steering column cover to allow it room to come off. Once the gauge cluster was uncovered, I just popped off my KG Works panel. No other parts stood between me and the gauge needles.
As for the needle caps themselves, I wanted to see if it was possible to just pop them on without calibrating the needles or destroying anything in the process. With one hand, I held the white needle pointer steady to keep it from moving around while trying to get the cap in place. With the other hand, I installed the cap.
The first gauge was a bit tricky. The next four went very easily. The whole install took a grand total of 10 minutes even with photo time. Writing this blog post has already taken more time than the actual install.
I should mention that I hit my needle caps with some Mother’s aluminum polish. I didn’t want them too shiny, but I wanted to have the cap finish match the KG Works trim rings around the 5 gauges.
And, as you can see, the needle proportions are retained with these. None of the needles look stubby with the Garage5 caps installed. That, to me, was always my beef with needle caps and why I never installed a set in 16 years. Having a set that looks this nice and “OEM+” makes me very happy.
So… what do I think? I’ve only driven behind the needle caps for roughly 50 miles at this point, but I really like them. These caps add a bit of shine to the cluster that wasn’t there before and give the gauges a bit more depth. But, at the same time, 16 years is a long time. I am very used to seeing a black needle center in a Miata gauge cluster. It’s a fairly large change for me.
Build Quality: Very good. Excellent machining. The needle caps fit the needle centers PERFECTLY. They could not be loser or tighter and still work. I’d give it an A.
Installation: 10 minutes start to finish. That’s pretty simple. A
Style: This is totally up to each Miata owner’s opinion. Some will like these caps. Others will like the (insert brand here) caps in their own clusters. And others will prefer the stock black needle centers. It’s too early for me to proclaim one way or another, but I like them enough to blog about them! I’d give the needle caps a B+ at this point.
Overall: Excellent machine work and design. A to A-.
You can order the Garage5 needle caps here! Now to go take 700 gauge pix and instagram them all.