The wonderful government of British Columbia decided back in 1992 that it would require mandatory emmisions testing of all vehicles before allowing them to be insured. Since my insurance was up on Saturday, it was time for me to take the oh-so-enjoyable AirCare test again. (To be honest – there are more beater cars elsewhere in the province that make up for all the “emissions savings” that AirCare has helped with)
Sadly – my car didn’t pass the test. It actually did quite poorly. I looked around on the net for possible reasons of high emissions. My car doesn’t burn oil, she runs fairly smoothly, and has been maintained relatively well. The two main causes that seemed to be culprits here were old spark plugs and a dying catalytic converter. Since cats are supposed to last for quite a long while, I figured I’d change the spark plugs anyways, since I had no idea when it had last been done. Also, the mechanic who checked over the car last summer before I bought it said that it could probably do with a tune-up (which often includes replacing the sparks).
I grabbed a set of Bosch Platinum+4 spark plugs, since they were only slightly more expensive than the recommended NGK’s, and I had heard good things about them. After pulling out the old sparks, I was in for a bit of a surprise… lookie here.
Now… for all of you who don’t know – that’s a very dead spark plug. If you ever get adventurous enough to pull your plugs from your engine (and it’s really not that hard to do), make sure that they don’t look like that. If they do – go down to your local auto parts store and buy new ones.
At the end of the day, my car feels a bit snappier. I don’t know if it’s just my mind playing tricks, but she’s got that little bit more kick than she did a few days back. We’ll see what happens to my fuel consumption as well. If that goes back down (which I expect it will), then I’ll take her back for another test. Hopefully that’ll be all I need in order to get another full year’s insurance…