Some Misunderstandings of Spark Plugs

September 29, 2017

Spark Plugs are small but they play a vital role for your car’s engine and fuel performance. They work by conducting the electrical energy from the ignition source which is necessary to complete the process of combustion and ignite the fuel in the vehicle’s cylinder.

 

Common Spark Plug Myth

Do not be surprised when you see that the central electrode has shrink to a pin size by the time you change your spark plugs. Unlike the traditional copper spark plugs which are bigger (at 2.55-mm), and most of us are already used to, if you have a car that is equipped with a “fine-wire” iridium spark plugs, the center electrode for this type of plugs are small, typically it is only 0.4 mm only. Iridium spark plugs are rapidly becoming popular as they are designed to last longer and they are now widely available in auto parts stores.

Why It Makes Sense to Replace Spark Plugs as Early as Possible

When spark plugs are not regularly checked, cleaned or replaced when necessary it can mean serious trouble for your car. It’s as simple as this – malfunctioning spark plugs equals to a car that won’t start.  Although ideally, spark plugs are designed for longer life span. Manufacturers would even claim that they require no maintenance until 30,000 miles and they should be functional up to 100,000 miles. The truth is this is only ideal in excellent driving conditions. But in a real-world scenario, more often our cars are going through rough driving conditions and of course spark plugs will be more subject to wear and tear. So, for an instance, there is 80% chances that as you reach 80,000 miles (against the 100,000 miles mark), your spark plug is already slowly eroding. And in no time, it would affect your engine’s performance and affect your car’s mileage. There is also a tendency for spark plugs to grip in the cylinder head which can be an additional costly job particularly when the damage has set into the threads inside the cylinder head. Hence, replacing your spark plugs early on will save you from future headaches and additional costs.

When to change the plugs?

Despite claims that spark plugs can work up to 100,000 miles, sometimes this can just be overrated. It is important not to ignore spark plugs, it is an important part to check during car maintenance. Follow the spark plug service intervals in your car owner’s manual. If you can no longer remember about the last time you have replaced them, you can manually check them, pull them out and examine the gap around and the overall state of the spark plug. You don’t need to wait for signs of car trouble such as engine misfires and trouble starting before you decide to change your spark plugs.

Should I Change the Spark Plug Myself or Let a Professional handle the Job?

Generally, replacing spark plugs is not as complicated. It should be easy if you have the right tools. But it will also depend on the type of engine you have in your car. There are a number of engines with more complicated set-up like some V-6 models. If you are uncomfortable with the complicated wiring, it would be best to take your car to a professional. But if you have an engine with relatively easy access, like most types of engine then you can probably do it on your own. Just be sure you to check the gap of the spark plugs and to do every step carefully.

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