Do you ever feel like you are not firing on all cylinders? Well, between me and you, I have to admit that I occasionally have that problem. It’s embarrassing because “I’m a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics. I Am A Very Famous Race Car.”
When that feeling comes over me, I turn to my new friends from Radiator Springs to help me get passed the low power blues and back in the race of my life.
My best buddy, Mater, is always there to lend a helping hand, but when I need maximum power, I have him go fetch Dr. Hudson, Doctor of internal combustion, who just happens to be a wizard at tweaking engines to produce the best fuel mileage and lots of horse power.
You don’t become a three time winner of the prestigious Piston Cup without having a couple of tricks up your fender. I am going to have Doc fill us in.
“I hate to admit it, but these new fangled vehicles are superior to us older (more mature) models. They can go 4 times longer between tune-ups and use fewer parts, thanks to the use of on-board computers that precisely control the electronic fuel injection system.
In my day you were lucky to get 15,000 miles on a set of plugs. Today’s vehicles use precious metal in their spark plugs, either iridium or platinum, and they can last up to 120,000 miles before they need to be replaced. These motors usually have individual ignition coils which produce very high electrical voltage, but they make it harder for the technicians to gain access to the spark plugs.
A lot of clean air is needed inside the engine to mix with the gasoline. This air /fuel mixture is then ignited by an electrical spark from the spark plug. It is the job of the air filter to remove any dirt or contaminants from the air. The air filter should be replaced every 30,000 miles, or sooner, if the vehicle is driven in a dusty environment, like Radiator Springs.
The fuel injectors are made to such tight tolerances that even a little speck of dirt could wreak havoc on an injector. That’s why it’s so important to replace the fuel filter between 90,000 and 100,000 miles.
The last part of the tune-up is to connect a diagnostic computer to the vehicle’s computer and run a series of tests to check that the sensors on the motor are within factory specifications, and reset the maintenance light. That’s the business end of a tune-up, but what does that mean to you drivers? How about restoring the chirp in your tires and lowering tail pipe emissions which will help you get through that dreaded smog test. Ya’ll will be floating like a Cadillac, stinging like a Beemer. Aw, Shucks, I almost forgot, it will give you improved gas mileage, which now a days is huge, considering when I was a young hot-rod, premium was 20 cents a gallon!
There you have it. Whether you’re the rookie of the year, Lightning McQueen, who’s trying to win the Piston Cup or you’re just racing to get to work on time, you need your vehicle to run like a highly tuned racing machine.
“Remember it’s not just a race, it’s the Piston Cup.”
Stay TUNED until next week when romance is in the air.
I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine, the owner of Ken’s Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks, where we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.kensqualityauto.com or call 805-494-4344