Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?

April 27th, 2017

In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.

But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?

Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Reasons Why Tire Inflation Is So Important

April 13th, 2017

Even just a pound or two of underinflation in your tires can be a problem. Why, though? There are several reasons. 

Tire Inflation

Fuel economy: If you ever rode a bicycle with a low tire, you know that it feels like you’re riding through wet cement due to the added rolling resistance. The same thing is happening with your car, and compromising your fuel economy. Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, that can add up to 150 gallons of gas or $500 out of your pocket!

Handling: Low tire pressure means poorer control and longer stopping distances. At high speeds, in particular, this can be downright hazardous.

Premature tire wear: Underinflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially their steel ...[more]

  Tags: tires, tire pressure
  Posted in: Tires 101

Why Are My Tires Loud?

April 6th, 2017

The never-ending drone of tires on pavement is more than just irritating. It can actually be dangerously hypnotic, lulling a driver into drowsiness. But why are some tires so noisy to start with?Noisy Tires in Boulder, CO

There are a few factors at play here.

Tire designers go to great lengths to suppress road noise, and it’s difficult to do. There’s a lot of friction between the rubber surface and the road, with several hundred pounds of vehicle sitting on those tires. In addition, the air chamber in a tire tends to resonate like a drum and actually amplifies road noise. Tire engineers use computer models to help “tune” tires to keep these noises down. It’s kind of a dirty little secret that the cheaper the tire, the noisier it’s likely to be. Inferior materials an ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101