Ignition Wire Replacement

My 1991 Civic's OEM ignition wires are now five years and 66k miles old. The 1991 owner's manual replacement interval is four years/60k miles. Tegger says he does his on his 1991
Integra at five years, period, though he lives in a northern climate in Canada (and I like what he says about ignition components). I live "out west" where in summer it's kinda hot, and for nine months of the year it's pretty darn warm. I would think the higher heat where I live would argue for more frequent replacement than Tegger's schedule.
The following has been on my mind:
I check the wires' resistances once a year. The resistances haven't moved since purchase. I wash the wires off with water about twice a year. They do get pretty dusty. My 1991 Honda continues to get great fuel mileage, continuing to average about 40 mpg around town even in winter. Last summer on a 1000 mile highway trip, the car got 45 mpg.
Is there anything undetectable, so to speak, that could be going on with my Honda's ignition wires that would warrant replacing them a.s.a.p.? Or could I go another year without replacing them?
I also remember reading here that ignition wires made today (or thereabouts) last a lot longer than those made in 1991. Comments?
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Elle wrote:

My oldest Honda is a '97, and I think handling them more than necessary is a bad thing since it's the copper connectors that get pulled apart from the wire, or loose their 'grip' from being yanked about. As long as they are OEM wires I'd think you can go almost forever on them. Wiping them down with some silicone might not be a bad idea just to keep them supple and clean, but other than that, do (newer) Honda wires ever go 'bad' ? ?
'Curly'
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motsco_ wrote:

plug leads don't have copper conductors any more. most use a conductive elastomer core, the so-called "high resistance" leads. higher quality leads use a coiled [stainless] wire core.

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Elle wrote:

resistance is no indication of h.v. leakage. just like a coil can test "ok" for resistance, but spark internally to earth at high voltage.

if they're working for you, i see no reason not to continue using them, but personally, i'd replace them.

that may be the case, but i can't say i know that to be fact. i use coiled core leads on both my civic and crx - they're noticeably better in both cases across all conditions. i wouldn't go back to traditional oem polymer core leads.
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Elle wrote:

Best to leave sleeping dogs alone. You'll get symptoms when the wires need replacing...
JT
(Don't spend more than you hafta...)
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I would think insulation breakdown would be the primary failure mode(for age),followed by broken connections at either of the ends where they plug into/onto something,and people pull on them.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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wrote:

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Concord. They were OK, but I felt it was time. I also replaced the original PVC valve hoses; they had failed, it's several years past their lifetime.
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Elle wrote:

Using Honda OEM wires, this shop recommends a replacement interval of 120,000 miles or 10 years.
http://www.high-road.com/maintenance/maintenance.htm
Eric
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Maybe not. Other than from unusual physical trauma, OEM ignition wires fail primarily due to insulation breakdown. This is impossible to measure with a multimeter.
If your area experiences very high summer heat, I suppose that may contribute to insulation breakdown.

Could be. I'd be willing to guess the insulating polymers are probably more robust than those available 16 years ago.
If you get a good strong spark at the plugs, and you never have signs of weaker starting when the weather is very wet and the car is cold, your wires are almost certainly just fine.
I've personally found that wires tend to start leaking current once they get past seven years of age. You can tell leakage easily: Engine running, wires soaking wet, grab a wire with your hand. No shock? It's fine. Get a tickle? It's failing. Get a jolt? It's gone.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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I think I'd rather brush a knuckle against the wire than grab it. Then if you get zapped,you inherently pull away instead of latching on to the wire.
It's Good SOP for any electrical work.(one-hand rule)
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Jim Yanik
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Tegger wrote:

Just to add... If you look under hood when the engine is cold and it's dark, can you see any sparks coming off the surface of the wires with the engine just started? They will be pretty faint and difficult to see but will indicate that the insulation is failing. It's less painful than John's method above :) but not as definitive. Otherwise I'd continue to use them.
-- Graham W http://www.gcw.org.uk/ PGM-FI page updated, Graphics Tutorial WIMBORNE http://www.wessex-astro.org.uk/ Wessex Astro Society's Website Dorset UK Info, Meeting Dates, Sites & Maps Change 'news' to 'sewn' in my Reply address to avoid my spam filter.
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Thanks for sharing your experiences, Curly, JBeam, JT (Grumpy AC), AZ Nomad, Eric, Tegger, and JYanik. I am going to hold off. I will continue to also use the checks Tegger describes, and on which some others of you touch, regarding looking for leakage when the engine is running.
Eric, I read the background of the Honda/Toyota garage whose site you linked and studied its maintenance matrix. Interesting indeed. I am not wild abou the oil change interval (but let's leave that out of this thread, controversial as this subject always is!). Everything else looks pretty consistent with my own feelings and/or conventional wisdom here. I have bookmarked the site.
I am going to hold off on replacing the wires for at least another year or until I see some symptoms, as you all suggest. At about $40 (online OEM sites) per set, and with the life of the car maybe not "five years more(!)" anyway, I think it pays to wait. I hear you, JT!
As always, wonderful group, with great community service by all the regulars here in particular.
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