Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - February 2014

 

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Believe it or not, winter is still going strong. Some of you may have also experienced more car woes because of this cold weather. If something is weak on your vehicle or stressed the cold weather will usually amplify the problem. I had my own vehicle issues not too long ago. After using CAA and taking four hours to get home, the eventual fix on my vehicle was to replace the spark plugs. Who thinks of changing these? Obviously not me and I work in the industry. If your vehicle has over 100,000 kms you might want to check your maintenance schedule to see when they require replacement, or you could always ask your service advisor at your local Active Green and Ross.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks, stay safe on the roads.

 

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Edmond Berger invented the first spark plug on February 2nd, 1839.

 

This month's topic: Spark plugs

Spark plugs are one of those items on a vehicle that people rarely give any thought to when it comes to maintenance. Without these guys we wouldn’t be able to drive our vehicle down the road since they are an important aspect of the internal combustion engine. (Just so you know if you have a four-cylinder engine you have 4 spark plugs and so on.) Most newer vehicles have long life spark plugs, which are sometimes referred to as Platinum plugs. These are typically good for 100,000km.

The job of the spark plug is to deliver electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber to ignite the compressed fuel/air mixture by an electric spark, which causes the pistons to move up and down. Thus, allowing your vehicle to move forward. If there is no spark, your car won’t be going anywhere. Spark plugs wear out over time because every time they fire, the spark removes some of the metal on the plug therefore increasing the voltage required to fire the next time. Essentially, it is making the plug work harder and harder. There are some signs to indicate when your plugs are starting to get worn out in addition to how many kilometers you have on your vehicle.

  • Trouble starting
  • Route at idle
  • Engine stalling
  • Drop in fuel economy

When your spark plugs are worn out you can see up to a 30% decrease in fuel economy. This is a reason why it is a good idea to pay attention to how many kilometers you get per 100kms in you onboard computer system.

If your spark plugs have been in your vehicle for a very long time, this can end up costing you more money when you do eventually get around to having them changed. This is because sometimes they are seized in the engine or sometimes they even break off in the engine block if they’ve been in there for a really really long time. Preventive maintenance is the key. Remember a well maintained vehicle costs less over the long haul.


This month’s photo: Worn spark plug on the left and a new spark plug on the right. Look at the material colour and the size of the gap.


 

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