When to Change Spark Plugs on your ex-Jap

If you walk around Kaguvi in Harare while looking to have your ex-jap serviced, the guys that infest the place like flies around a week old carcass will tell you that you need to change the oil, oil filter, air filter and spark plugs as part of the service. Most people follow this advice. After all, those dirty looking guys appear very knowledgeable. They perform services on cars on a daily basis right? Well, truth of the matter is that those guys mostly do not know what they are talking about. Never mind knowing what they are doing… Leaving your car in their hands is a complete act of faith. Yet so many people do it. So, how often should you change the spark plugs on a Toyota or on any other vehicle?

You don’t need to change the spark plugs at every service

Most people make the mistake of having the spark plugs on their cars changed at every service. That is the wrong approach. In actual fact, if you do this, you are probably harming your vehicle. What you need to do, whether your car is a Toyota Corolla like mine, a Honda Fit or any other type of vehicle, is to first carry out research before going to have your car serviced. If you do this, you will discover that some spark plugs do not actually need to be changed till the car has over 150 thousand kilometers on the odometer! Check out the guideline below from Toyota to find out what I am talking about here.

Toyota spark plug chart

The Toyota Spark Plug Chart

If you drive a Toyota, the above spark plug chart will be of help to you. You will see there that Toyota uses 3 types of spark plugs;

  • Non-platinum
  • Plutinum
  • Iridium

Different models use different types of spark plug. You will want to stick to one that’s recommended for your vehicle.

Oil change duration for a Toyota Corolla

As mentioned before, I drive a Toyota Corolla that I bought off BeForward several years ago. The car was manufactured in the year 2000. The above charge shows that it has iridium spark plugs. What this means is that they don’t need to be changed till the car has been driven for at least 120 thousand miles. Now, I mean miles not kilometers. I kilometers, that would be 193121.28km. That’s nearly 200 thousand kilometers.

Now, my car’s mileage is only slightly above 50 000 km. I know, that’s little considering it’s age. I live very near my workplace so I seldom drive long distance. At this rate, I wont actually need to change the spark plugs on the car for another 10 or so years. And the way the vehicle drives testifies to the fact that all is still well mechanically.

What happens if you do not use original spark plugs

Some of the cars that belch fumes on our roads do so because their owners were talked into removing original spark plugs and replacing them with cheap Chinese knock-offs. Of course, this situation is extreme but you will probably notice a decrease in performance should you use non standard spark plugs.

Don’t be talked into changing your spark plugs

Now, if your car’s spark plugs have already been changed, with the original ones being thrown into the bin, then tough luck. You should have carried out more research before handing over servicing of your car to people who act as they have never heard about Google. Otherwise, make sure that your spark plugs are not changed when your car is being serviced. Only have them changed at the prescribed intervals.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have anything to contribute. Otherwise, good day!

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