Spark Plug Issues to Understand

Spark Plug Issues to Understand

Spark plugs are very important to your engine, and the healthy and economical use of your car. Spark plugs should be changed at each car service. They are crucial for delivering the spark of electricity to your engine. No spark and there is no combustion. Poor sparking can mean your car is not running efficiently. A look at spark plugs and some points you should know.

spark plug:
spark plug

  • Problems. If an engine will turn over and does not start, one of the first things to check is your spark plugs. No spark at the end of the plug normally indicates there are more serious issues with other electrical components. Spark plugs will become worn or dirty over time. This is the main reason why they need to be replaced regularly. One bad spark plug and your engine will be running poorly. Spark plugs are crucial to the good running of your car and engine.
  • Indications. Spark plugs can give a good indication of how your engine is running. If the spark plugs are black with carbon deposits, this indicates your car is running fuel-rich. Not all of the mixture in the cylinder is burning properly. Brown or burnt spark plugs indicate that your car is running air-rich. Extensive idling or stopping and starting can also cause your spark plugs to become dirty. In either case, it is better to replace them than to repair.
  • Replacement. Spark plugs should be replaced at every service although extended-life spark plugs do exist. They are not good for older or high performance vehicles. You should never attempt to change a spark plug while running your engine. Even touching the cable will give you a nasty shock. Incorrectly replacing a spark plug could lead to costly car repair. You must be careful when tightening a spark plug. A particular amount of tension is required. Too tight and they will break off leading to much more trouble. Special tools that measure the amount of torque when tightening are required. Never use anti-seize chemicals like WRD-40 as they will lead to you over tightening your spark plug.
  • Options. Spending extra money you can afford on good spark plugs is always recommended. There are many types with the better ones having more electrodes. Good sparking is the key to good engine fire.
  • Gap. You will see a small gap between the pin and the hook at the end of the spark plug that goes in your engine. This gap should never be altered and is set by the manufacturer. This is the point where the electricity will ‘jump’ across and ignite your air and fuel mixture inside the cylinder. If this gap is not correct, the spark plug will not function correctly.

damaged spark plugs
damaged spark plugs

Poor maintenance will always lead to bigger problems. The spark plugs are only one component of the electrical system that ignites your engine. If you engine is not starting there may be any number of problems, and diagnosis by a professional is best.

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