Thursday, August 6, 2009

Toyota Trouble

Well, trouble of a minor sort. A couple of weeks ago my check engine light started flashing for a few seconds. It went away for about a week so I though it nothing but a fluke. But then it returned and turned into a steady check engine light, no longer flashing but just staring at me irritatingly from the dash. People make jokes about those damn lights, and they should, as they're most often related to emissions requirements and the emission control system. Since I'm opposed to emission controls my car is registered in my home state where I don't have to smog it, not that it wouldn't pass the smog test, as it always has with flying colors, but I'm a rebel at heart and to me it's the principle of the thing.

Anyway, the car finally started hesitating when I accelerated from a stop, and it just didn't feel right. I decided to take it to a family run repair shop I know, and they put it on the computer to check what was wrong.

Cylinder 1 misfire is what the readout reported. I was asked by the mechanic if I'd changed the spark plugs recently. I replied that I had a couple of months ago and that I had also replaced the wires. He lifted the hood and pulled the plug from cylinder 1.

"There's your trouble," he said matter-of-factly. "These cars don't seem to like Bosch plugs very much, though they work fine in German cars. Get some NGK spark plugs and that should solve it."

Well, I'm happy to report that I went to the auto parts store and purchased a set of NGK plugs. After I pulled the Bosch plugs and replaced them with the new made in Japan ones, the little car was back to its old self and ran smooth as usual. Just passing this along if you ever experience the same problem.


  1. Do you know Japanese, by any chance. It always helps if you can talk to the car in its own language - I always feel!

  2. I've used NGK plugs for a long time and found they provide very good performance in Toyotas and in Japanese motorcycles.

  3. I prefer the Homer Simpson approach. When my "maintenance" light is on (which is always), I reach for the next piece of paper tape to cover it up.


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