More than a week ago, my car developed an engine problem just as I was about to drive down to Kuala Lumpur. Every time I shifted into gear, the whole car would begin shaking like a vibrator. As a result, I lost a few precious hours at a car mechanic's workshop in Bukit Jambul on the island.
The mechanic was surprised to see that the spark plugs in the car had turned deep red. Spark plugs are never meant to suffer this discolouration, I was told. So obviously, there must be something wrong with the ignition for the plugs to be like this. Eventually, after a lot of (I suspect) trial and error trouble-shooting, the problem was traced down to a faulty plug coil.
There are four in the engine: one sitting on top of each plug and this one was suspected of causing all the problems. At first, I thought with the problem identified, it would be a quick matter for the workshop to order the spare part but no...it actually took more than three hours for the runner to deliver the part from the city. Talk about gross inefficiency! Three hours to have the spare delivered compared with 15 minutes for the mechanic to replace it in the engine!
But at least the problem was resolved. However, throughout the journey to KL and back, I wasn't feeling totally comfortable with the repair job.
So yesterday, I took the car to the authorised Toyota workshop in Bukit Mertajam for a lookover. Besides, the car was due for its regular service too. I showed the team leader the old plugs and the spoilt coil, and requested that he do a complete check on the ignition system. Two hours later, I drove away from the service centre feeling satisfied. I'm still guarded. I hope the problem is resolved once and for all because my wife and I will be driving to KL again in about two weeks' time.