Coil change on new Toyotas

Recently I went to get a safety inspection on my 2010 Camry. I used to use this shop regularly when it was owned by an independent mechanic. Now it is run by a chain. I inquired about the cost of oil changes (synthetic oil) because I change the oil every 5,000 miles vs the 10,000 recommended by Toyota which was about the same as the Toyota dealer. The guy running the shop told me that I should not only change the oil every 5,000 miles but should have the plugs changed at 50,000 miles vs the full tune up 100,000 miles. The logic behind their recommendation for plug change at 50,000 miles is due to “their experience that the coils get over worked providing spark to worn plugs and will fail before 100,000 miles.” I trusted the shop when it was independently owned but I am skeptical of the chain. I change the oil every 5,000 miles vs 10,000 because the original recommendation because I only drive the car about 12,000 miles a year and the original recommendation of 10,000 seamed a little long between changes. Is this shop fishing for business or is there any truth to their claims? If their claims are real, what other maintenance is needed before the recommended time by Toyota?

@WWDog there is some truth to the shop’s recommendation concerning spark plug replacement. I personally have seen coils fail before 100K due to worn plugs.

Would you recommend a tune up at 50,000?

I would, if by that term you mean changing the plugs. I usually do all the fluids every 30K. Changing plugs every 3 or 4 years costs almost nothing and minimizes the chances of something becoming too attached and impossible to remove.

I support changing the spark plugs every 50,000 miles rather than going the distance recommended in the manual (which I believe is 100,000 miles). Even though the irridium electrodes on your plugs don’t erode nearly as fast as the old platinum tips (they’re 8 times harder), spark plugs that remain in the holes too long can be difficult to remove.

I also support 50,000 mile spark plug changes because one of the variables that makes a difference in how clean (and thus how well) your engine runs is the condition of the spark plugs. Plugs with worn down tips don’t create a good a spark, and that can cause problems.

Your coils’ cores that “feed” the spark plugs will create the voltage spike based upon the voltage induced into them by the primary coils. If there’s too large a gap through the spark plug gap for the current to jump, there wll be no current flow through the coil secondary. The magnetic field will simply dissipate when the primary current is stopped rather than inducing a voltage spike in the core. There’ll be no damage. In short, the coils do not “push harder” if there’s a larger gap.

But I don’t like chains. If it were me, I’d go looking for a new shop.

I changed my 100K plugs at 60K. I figured why not just get it done since I probably would only do it once anyway.

I have replaced several sets of Iridium plugs at 100,000 miles, as rated, and found that they all came out easily (despite the doomsayers on this board) and they all looked good and did not show signs of serious gap erosion. At $12 to $20 per plug I am more than happy to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and it has worked out fine. There is nothing to stop people from replacing plugs sooner and there is a natural tendency for people to resist the extension of maintenance intervals. When platinum plugs were introduced many people stayed with their replacement regimens for copper plugs, even though it was not necessary. Many people still insist on 3,000 mile oil changes when oil and engine technology allow for 5,000 or even 7,500 mile changes. My philosophy is that when we are seduced by dealerships or garages that push us to over-service our vehicles the only thing gained is more profits for the dealer or garage. That’s not to say that I agree with EVERY interval pushed by manufacturers (see “lifetime fluids”) but I think we all are influenced by our past habits and beliefs and garages, especially dealers, take advantage of our propensity to be overprotective of our babies…I mean cars.