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Irwin Industrial Tools 4935354 PTS Drive Tools SAE and Metric Plug Taps and 1-Inch Hex Dies
Do Cars Need Tune-ups Anymore?
Have you looked inside your car's engine compartment lately? It looks sort of alien and unapproachable like a computer - not very mechanical. Recognize anything in there? Bet you can't find the mass airflow sensor or the throttle position sensor. Did you even know you had these? How about the spark plugs? They have got to be there, right?
Engines certainly have become more complex in the past 20 years with the whole show now run by a computer - the Powertrain Control Module or PCM. To diagnose a problem in your engine, all you need is a $20,000 device that plugs into your PCM and tells you what went wrong. Of course, once you find the offending part you must cobble up all your patience and a few expensive metric tools to go where no man or woman has gone before. Make a mistake and your $10,000 engine might be trashed. No wonder the Do-It-Yourself crowd is a dying breed. Meanwhile service centers continue to spring up in order to care for the Do-It-For-Me generation.
As much as the automakers would like you to think their cars are maintenance free, in fact, they are not. All cars still need tune-ups. But the type of tune-up is changing from the replacement of the worn condenser, points and plugs approach of the 1950s and 1960s to a preventative maintenance approach today. Often perfectly good parts are replaced in today's tune-up to prevent catastrophic failure later. The automakers know which parts these are and list them on your scheduled maintenance program.
The preventative tune-up has taken a more ecological twist in the last 5 years. Since we have now experienced $4 gasoline in the U.S., we know it is only a matter of time until high gas prices become a permanent reality. We may not know for sure that global warming is upon us, but we don't want to wake up hot someday. And we certainly know that without our thirst for oil, the Middle East would be a friendlier place. As a result, more and more motorists are investing in eco-friendly replacements for automaker-supplied parts in what can be called an Eco Tune-Up.
The Eco Tune-Up is a fuel-efficient makeover for your car with the intent of making it ecologically better than new. It includes high efficiency air filters, synthetic oils with oil additives, rotation and balancing of tires with installed pressure indicators. It can go so far as to re-program you car's computer with more fuel efficient shift points and air:fuel ratios. It could include a conversion package to allow your car to use E85 ethanol.
But perhaps the easiest, most cost-effective Eco Tune product is a pulse plug. Pulse plugs are the latest advancement in spark plugs, the last vestiges of the 1950s tune up: condenser, points and plugs. Spark plugs have hung around for 50 years with little or no improvement in spite of the electrical advances throughout the engine.
Pulse plugs, on the other hand, have taken advantage of the latest advances in Pulsed Power Technology, the science of efficiently compressing electrical power. Whereas all spark plugs have only 50 watts of peak power, pulse plugs have over 500 watts. And just like another automotive revolution, replacing automaker supplied audio components with high wattage aftermarket components, the more watts, the better the performance. Pulse plugs ignite fuel more efficiently, resulting in much improved fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Best of all, pulse plugs are a simple, drop-in replacement for spark plugs. Your engine's computer is pretty smart and will recognize and adjust to the newly introduced technology. You can expect improved acceleration with a more responsive throttle. When you're not stepping on it, you will be rewarded with an average of 6% improvement in fuel economy. Over the 50,000-mile life of pulse plugs, you could reduce greenhouse gases by as much as 1 to 2 tons.
Pulse plugs cost an average of $280 installed whereas spark plugs cost about $180. But new spark plugs will not improve the performance or fuel economy of your car. Pulse plugs are actually the most cost-effective product that you can install in your vehicle, providing an immediate return on your investment. So whether you are looking for additional mpg or a better running car, pulse plugs should be at the top of your list regardless of what type of tune up you get next.
About the Author
Enerpulse, Inc., a privately held company headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., was founded in 1996. The company develops environmentally friendly ignition products through the application of pulsed power technology. For more information, visit
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Frequently Asked Questions...
Antique spark plug identification, please!?
I have new in a box some No. 34 Defiance 14mm metric COLD spark plugs..does anyone know what they went to?
Also I have some Autolite resistor plugs, ARL-5 resistor 14 mm plugs..any ideas? thanx.
In the early days, the spark plug shells were purchased from The Serrick Manufacturing Company of Defiance Ohio, which at this time was a part of the Defiance Spark Plug Company.
Read section # 5 This should help a bit....