Spark plugs are really important for any vehicle. They are the electrical devices which are used to ignite the mixture of air as well as fuel inside the cylinders of an engine. This helps your car move and is important as well for your car’s ignition system.
Have you ever thought of changing your spark plugs? If not, you need to definitely look into your spark plugs if there is any fault in them or they are perfectly fine.
Everyone who drives wants their car to run as efficiently as possible, and in order to do so, every component of the automobile, even the seemingly insignificant spark plugs, needs to receive the right maintenance. You can start your car with this necessary component.
Checking spark plugs regularly can also prevent your car from getting damaged. We at Automotive droid, will help you in finding if your spark plugs are in a better condition or not and give you signs of when it can go bad.
What are spark plugs?
Spark plugs have different sizes and heat ranges which depend on the specified requirements of the engine.
Spark plugs were designed with the help of elements like the insulator, shell, central electrode and side electrode. The insulator typically consists of sintered alumina and offers excellent dielectric strength.
The core electrode serves as the cathode that emits electrons and as the component that is heated up the most. It uses an internal wire to connect to the terminal. The side electrode, which is constructed of high-nickel steel and is either welded or hot-forged to the shell, completes the central electrode.
Its performance is substantially impacted by the spark plug gap. Spark plug gaps for automobile engines range from 0.6 to 1.8 mm. Despite perhaps being too weak to ignite the fuel-air mixture, smaller gaps guarantee dependable sparks. Stronger sparks are generated by larger spacing, however high RPMs can reduce spark output.
Many side electrodes surround the centre electrode in some spark plugs, increasing their lifespan when the spark gap grows due to wear. Multiple side electrodes, however, may result in decreased burning efficiency and greater fuel consumption.
It’s important to note that diesel engines don’t utilise spark plugs because they employ compression ignition instead of spark ignition.
What are the signs of bad spark plugs?
The signs of bad spark plugs include rough engine idle, engine misfire, reduced gas mileage, difficulty starting and lack of acceleration.
1. Rough Engine idle
Bad spark plugs can cause rough engine idle, which will lead to vibration inside the engine which can cause more damage to your engine. Because of bad spark plugs, your engine will not run smoothly and will sound twitchy and scratchy.
2. Engine misfire
If your engine misfires, you should directly check your spark plugs as it is a clear sign of bad spark plugs. Misfires can cut the engine power as spark plugs fail to ignite the fuel-air mixture properly, which will result in a rough engine performance and increased emissions.
3. Reduced gas mileage
Most of you might not notice this, that reduced gas mileage can also be the sign of bad spark plugs. Why?
Because if your spark plugs go bad, your engine will run poorly, and thus an automatic increase in fuel consumption.
4. Difficulty starting
If your car is not starting, you have checked your battery and the fuel and they are okay. Then, I would recommend you to check the spark plugs as these can also cause trouble starting your car.
5. Lack of Acceleration
Because of bad spark plugs, your car might feel unresponsive and its accelerator will lose its sensitivity. In that case, you should change your spark plugs for sure to make things work again.
6. “Check engine light” is on
Some cars have the technology to alert even the owners about the minor faults in a car as well. If your car’s dashboard shows a check engine light, you need to pay attention to it as this light gives signals and warning to the owner to tell them that there are some problems with your car.
7. Excessive wear or residue on the spark plug
The spark plug might also degrade owing to excessive wear or residue. The tremendous heat and electrical arcing that take place during combustion can eventually cause the spark plug’s electrode to wear out. Reduced spark intensity, misfires, and generally subpar engine performance can result from this wear.
8. Tailpipe has a strong gas smell
The gas smell that briefly emanates from the exhaust gases is another indication of a faulty spark plug. This occurred as a result of unburned fuel beginning to leak out of the combustion chamber. Although they have the potential to backfire, gasoline vapours in the exhaust system can also exit through the tailpipe.
How to fix bad spark plugs?
To fix bad spark plugs, follow these steps:
- First, find the correct replacement spark plugs you need for your car. For that reason, you should consult with your car’s manual or even with the help of this pdf file. .
- After that let the engine cool down before you start working on the spark plugs. .
- You need to locate the spark club just by finding thick black cable which connects to the engine cylinders. Each of the cylinders has its own spark cable..
- You need to have a spark plug socket wrench with you to remove each spark plug at a time just by turning it in counterclockwise direction. Don’t apply excessive force or damage the nearby components..
- Check the removed spark club to see if it’s damaged or worn out, like a rounded electrode or the excessive carbon buildup..
- If your spark plugs are in good condition, you can clean them by a specialised spark plug cleaner tool or a wire brush. Make sure to remove all the debris and dry out the spark plugs before installing..
- It is preferable to replace the spark plug with a new one if it has been worn out or damaged. To avoid cross-threading, insert the new spark plug by manually threading it into the cylinder hole. Then, tighten it with the spark plug socket wrench until it is snug, being careful not to overtighten..
- Follow the procedure outlined above for each spark plug, being careful to note which spark plug goes into which cylinder..
- After replacing all the spark plugs, reattach the spark plug cables to each one, making sure they are firmly fastened..
- Starting the engine will allow you to check the new spark plugs’ functionality. Keep an ear out for enhanced engine performance and smooth idling.
Every car owner should always be aware of the warning signals your car might give you. It is very easy to get a maintenance appointment when your car gives some signs like engine misfire, engine rough idle, low mileage etc.
Any of the symptoms listed above are a solid sign that your spark plugs may need to be replaced if they become faulty. Maintaining proper spark plug condition is crucial because they ignite the air/fuel combination in the cylinders. You need to take care of the spark plugs, and clean them occasionally to avoid any damage to your engine which can cost you a lot in future