Crunchbird…the wife’s ride (da Altima) popped an engine light a while back and was running a bit rough.

My local auto guys had it for an oil change and they wanted to charge me $69 to hook it up to the computer and tell me what it was about…and also wanted to change the spark plug wires. They even had a quote on the parts and labor ready for me.

Trouble is…this car has no spark plug wires. As in, none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The coils, 4 of ’em…one for each…sit directly on top of the plugs.

I politely declined…and by politely I may mean I “went off” on them about their attempted blatant fraud or sheer incompetence and carefully explained that they wouldn’t be laying another hand on any of my vehicles for any reason.

Anyway…there’s a turn-key-step-on-gas-pedal sequence that will make the car flash the code via the check engine light and then you can look up the code and tell what it’s complaining about (bless the internet!).

“Misfire # 3 cylinder”. Delightfully specific! Gotta love modern ignition systems!

I figure with 140,000 miles that new spark plugs are probably in order…I kid you not when I say the service manual says they are lifetime parts and to replace them only when the car says it’s necessary.

NGK platinum are the OEM equipment and since 140,000 miles is pretty good service life…I figured to go back with those. $10 a pop though (ugh).

But yeah, it was time:

A little bit of blow-by

A little bit of blow-by

And a LOT of ground electrode erosion.

And a LOT of ground electrode erosion.

Yep, it was time. I remember having to replace plugs and points at 10,000 mile intervals on some of my old machines…I do believe this is better!

Run ’em hard! Fix ’em when they break!

Daniel Meyer

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