What is it? High-efficiency spark plug
Why do you need it? Your O.E. and auto-parts-store replacement plugs may be robbing you of fuel economy and performance due to inefficient ignition.
Description: According to Pilot Automotive, "The Nitrode Spark Plug utilizes a patented Neutral Electrode placed in-between the center and ground electrode, arcing the largest unimpeded spark into a combustion chamber, igniting the fuel efficiently and completely, producing more horsepower while outputting less emissions, and is guaranteed to increase mileage from 5 to 25 percent or your money back."
Applications: All Pontiacs
MSRP: $9.95 each
Taylor Cable Products
What is it? A reusable vibration-proof exhaust header-bolt fastener
Why do you need it? You're tired of having to retighten your exhaust header bolts over and over due to constant vibration.
Description: The Vibe Lock fastener is vibration proof and uses a patented locking washer and clip to lock the bolt in place. It's easily installed by gently tightening the set screw to unlock, torquing the bolt, and backing off the set screw to relock. This action locks the bolt in place, so that it will not loosen due to vibration. Removal is easy by simply tightening the set screw to unlock the bolt. Vibe Lock fasteners are available in black oxide or stainless steel.
Applications: Any header-bolt application using either 3⁄8- or 5⁄16-inch, or 8mm sizes.
MSRP: $94 (for a set of 14)
What is it? A quick online tool that examines a vehicle's internal electronic systems to assess current vehicle health
Why do you need it? The vehicle's Check Engine light does not alert you to every possible problem that could affect your Pontiac's well being. Not only that, but GM may have updated your Pontiac's on-board software to improve your vehicle's efficiency or eliminate bugs, but unless the update is part of a mandated safety recall, the auto manufacturer is not legally obligated to notify you.
Description: VehicleMRI is a complete vehicle-inspection system using the industry-standard J2534 CAN or EASE Diagnostics interfaces (both sold separately and available from various sources from $59 to $399) to examine your Pontiac's internal electronic systems and evaluate vehicle health. It finds OEM diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), as well as hidden problems only a dealer-level scan tool can locate in powertrain, airbag, ABS, and body systems, and alerts you if your vehicle's software needs an update. In addition to identifying failed test results, it also flags items that are close to failing, such as an oxygen sensor, fuel pump, or car battery. It operates by probing your Pontiac's internal electronic systems using intuitive proprietary algorithms to reveal and forecast problems, transmitting the data by USB or Wi-Fi to the company's computers, and then presenting the inspection results in a detailed and easy-to-understand vehicle report, which you download online.
Applications: All '96-and-newer Pontiacs
MSRP: $2 to $9.95 per report
What is it? Ethanol-content analyzer/ ethanol-content gauge
Why do you need it? Whether you're running pump gas that claims to be up to 10-percent ethanol or E85, which can contain anywhere from 62 to 92 percent ethanol, the gas pump won't tell you precisely how much ethanol is in your fuel blend.
Description: Zeitronix' Ethanol Content Analyzer (ECA) gauge and Flow-Through Flex Fuel Sensor give you the power of knowledge over ethanol-blended fuels. The ECA gauge provides ethanol content readings from 0 to 100 percent, and fuel temperature readings from -40 to 135 degrees F, both as digital readouts and as an analog output. It's compatible with the standard OE sensors used in most vehicles with the Flex Fuel insignia or in any vehicle with Zeitronix' Flex Fuel Sensor, which provides accurate readings of your engine's fuel-ethanol content in real time.
Applications: Any Pontiac that fills up with ethanol-blended fuels
MSRP: ECA, $199; Flow-Through Flex Fuel Sensor, $199; ECA Harness, $29; Kit (all three items), $379
M/E Wagner Performance
What is it? Performance-inspired, dual-flow adjustable PCV valve
Why do you need it? Using a stock-style PCV valve on your modified engine is a one-size-fits-all approach to crankcase ventilation. Each engine has a unique vacuum profile and crankcase airflow requirements, and a stock-style PCV valve cannot be tuned to match your engine's specific needs. A properly functioning PCV system will aid in idle tuning, reduce oil leaks, and help keep your oil clean.
Description: The dual-flow PCV valve allows the user to tune crankcase airflow and vacuum-transition levels, and, most importantly, verify that the valve is functioning properly under all operating conditions (the valve is tuned using a standard vacuum gauge). It's CNC-machined externally and internally, hand-assembled and flow-tested to ensure proper operation, and features patent-pending independently adjustable idle and cruise circuits. It's serviceable and re-buildable. (The valve accepts a 3⁄8-inch ID PCV line and fits the common ¾-inch valve-cover grommet. Look for a 1⁄8 NPT version which can accept –AN line adaptors on the company's website.)
Applications: All six- and eight-cylinder Pontiacs.
What is it? Tech2WIN dealership-style diagnostic tool
Why do you need it? You can be charged up to $100 an hour or more for GM dealerships to diagnose problems on your late-model Pontiac or perform tasks like resetting your factory stereo's security code.
Description: The MongoosePro GM II emulates the Tech2 scan tool used by all GM dealers. With it, you can connect to powertrain, chassis, and body systems to read trouble codes, view live streaming data, run bi-directional controls, perform diagnostic routines, reflash your ECU with current-revision software, and much more. Note: The product requires access to GM's Tech2WIN database. GM sells subscriptions separately, starting at $55 for a three-day license; annual licenses are also available. Due to the subscription cost, this product may appeal more to readers who work on late-model Pontiacs frequently.
Applications: '96-and-newer Pontiacs
What is it? Insulated underhood appearance cover
Why do you need it? Presumably the underhood insulation or cover (if optioned) on your classic or late-model Pontiac lasted about as long as your original factory warranty, and even then its purpose didn't extended beyond sound-deadening. Check out many Pontiacs at car shows these days and you'll see hoods raised over meticulously built engines and detailed engine compartments, yet their underhoods are likely uninteresting flat panels with structural ribs.
Description: Quiet Ride Solutions' underhood covers are year-, make-, and model-specific. They include a pre-cut, ready-to-install ABS cover panel, a heatshield insulation panel or panels, and mounting hardware to fit your hood perfectly. Underhood kits are available in a traditional smooth style or with a two-dimensional logo. The company is also developing technology to mold a clean, crisp three-dimensional image of the Pontiac name and logo into a high-temperature ABS material. Decklid covers are also due for release in mid-2013.
Applications: '67-'02 Firebird/Trans Am, '67-'72 Pontiac GTO/A-body, '69-'88 Grand Prix/G-body
MSRP: $149 (smooth), $219 (Pontiac name and logo)