Getting The Most From Your Car
Hi! I’m Sparky.  I Make Your Car Go!

This month BizNet is going to take a look at your car’s ignition system, and some of those products that claim to give you super gas mileage and super performance.

The Ignition System on your car has only one job to do.  That is to ignite the fuel in the engine cylinder the exact split second that the car needs it to ignite.  In short, the ignition is what makes the fuel in your car go BOOM.

No ignition…. No go…..

The ignition system is composed of some very basic parts.  The ignition coil (the part that makes the electric current needed for the spark) the ignition wires (they carry that current) the spark plugs (they make the spark) and the distributor (which makes the right spark plug spark at the right time).  In addition to this, most cars have all kinds of sensors and a computer brain to control the whole thing.

Now the parts of this system that most consumers are commonly told can be replaced with “better” parts are the:

In looking to get better performance from your car, most of the above after market parts that you look at will state that they will make the “spark” “hotter” or “last longer” or “more intense”.  And so on. These products also state they can give your car more power and better performance. If you are looking at advertising that states such, chances are it is all advertising b.s.

Remember the job of the ignition system is to simply make that spark.  Once it sparks the job is done.  In short you either have spark or you don’t.  If you have spark, making it “hotter, brighter, or longer” is not going to affect anything.

Last month we talked about how the FCC from time to time goes after such companies for making said claims.

So, are any of these products worthwhile?  Yes.  But I would start with the old saying. if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Even though all spark plugs pretty much look the same.  They are not.  Without getting into all that techno stuff. Let’s just say, that using the right spark plug for your car is EXTREMELY important.  So, when it comes to what spark plug to use, stick with the ones your car manufacturer recommends.  If you feel you need a change (and it is possible due to heavy towing or other factors) talk to your mechanic.  If you don’t have a mechanic you trust, talk with the service manager at the dealership.

Again don’t forget to check your owner’s manual (see related story).

Next lets look at your ignition coil.  There is no shortage of aftermarket replacement units.  But keep in mind the “factory” one was designed for your car.  The truth is, in most cases you are best just keeping with a factory coil.  Over the last month we tried some aftermarket coils on a test car.  We found that the factory coil gave the car the best performance.

Now lets look at the Ignition wires.

Boy, just like spark plugs, you hear all kind of claims.  With prices ranging from $10.00 to $200.00.  Again we are going to tell you to talk to your mechanic.  However we did find one brand of ignition wires that impressed us.  We found a company called Magnecor.

Now all this company makes is ignition wires.  So, they don’t try to sell you a full line of stuff.  Just ignition wires.  On our test car, an 84 Saab Turbo, the factory ignition wires have a great reputation and usually last for 100,000 miles or more.  The factory “ Bougicord” on our test car would be hard to better.  But we were impressed by Magnecor, so we give them a shot.

Now Magnecor did not promise the world.  Just better EMI (that static sound that some cars make on the car radio), and better delivery of the coils power to the plugs.

On replacing the factory wires with Magnecor, promise one was kept.  I have an after market stereo on my car and always had a nasty “engine hum” on the AM band.  On starting the car with the Magnecor wires on it, there was an extreme improvement.

The next was in the driving.  As the car is a turbo, and has a turbo gauge on it, I was looking to see if the car would be able to get better or longer turbo boost (under boost it is harder for the car to make spark.  The more boost, the harder it is to spark).  So how did these wires affect things?

There was a very slight but noticeable change for the better.  The boost gauge showed just a bit more boost, and the car held boost for a slightly longer time.  The wires gave what they promised.  This was a worthwhile change.

Check out this company’s web site for more information.  Not only on their wires, but on information on ignition stuff in general.

BizNet OnLine Magazine gives Magnecor the A-O.K. Award for delivering everything they promised.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002