Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - June 2016

 

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Well we’ve certainly had a great summer so far. I hate to say it, but it’s almost been too nice! My gardens are suffering. So I thought I would share a story with you. You may wonder why, but you will understand in the end. I live in the country and I’m on a well. In two weeks time I’m having a garden tour at my home so I’ve been watering my gardens like mad and in fact forgot to shut off the sprinkler one night and ran the well dry. As a result my pump decided it didn’t want to work anymore. $500.00 later I now have water again. As my boyfriend was changing the pump he said to me “ you remember how you always tell the women to not let their gas tanks go too low because of the excess heat created in the pump could burn out the pump….well the same thing happens with the pump in your well.” Now that made total sense to me! LOL Why does he need to remember these sort of things!

I was recently at an Automotive Women’s conference up in Blue Mountain and one of the speakers was talking about spark plugs and that they needed to be changed more frequently in a turbo charged engine. So I started wondering why and decided that this month’s topic would be about the small but mighty spark plug and why they need to be changed.

Have a happy and safe long weekend!

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New vehicles of today have 50+ computers have over 100 million lines of code.  Facebook has 61 million, an f35 fighter jet has 24 million and the space shuttle only had 2 million lines of code. Pretty crazy how complex the vehicles of today have become.

This month's topic: Spark Plugs

The spark plug was first invented in 1839 by Edmond Berger, but he never patented it. So the credit goes to Oliver Lodge and it was first called the “lodge igniter”. Most engines have the same number of spark plugs as they do cylinders. So if you have a 4 cylinder engine you have four spark plugs. The exception to this would be those with a HEMI engine and they have 2 spark plugs per cylinder.

Most of us kind of ignore our spark plugs because they last for so long especially if you have the long life spark plugs. However, they play a crucial role in our engines performance. The role of the spark plug is to create a spark to ignite the fuel and gas mixture that is in the cylinder (combustion chamber). The second job of the spark plug is to transfer heat away from the combustion chamber. When a spark plug is wearing out you may experience misfiring or you may see a decline in fuel economy. The reason why fuel economy may decline is that the plug can get dirty over time from the gasoline. Misfiring can occur when too much gas is entering the exhaust system. This in turn can also create higher heat levels and could lead to the meltdown of catalytic converter parts.

If you have a car with a turbocharged engine you will have to change your spark plugs quite a bit sooner than a person with a naturally aspirated engine. A couple of examples I found were the Dodge Dart 1.4 L turbocharged engine requires the plugs be changed at 50,000km vs 170,000km in the 2.0L and the 2.4L engine. In the Hyundai Sonata the 2.0L turbo engine requires spark plugs be changed at 75,000km vs 170,000 in the 2.5L engine. The reason for having to change the spark plugs sooner in a turbo charged engine is likely due to how much more heat they have to endure so they ultimately wear out sooner. Manufacturers are leaning towards turbo charged engines because they can get more power out of a smaller engine and also get better fuel efficiency which is on every automakers radar. So as an automotive consumer that we all are, it’s good to know that if we buy a vehicle with a turbo we need to do a bit more preventive maintenance to keep our vehicle in tip top shape. Oil also needs to be changed more frequently, but that’s a story for another day!

This month's photo: Spark Plug

spark plug

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