Spark plugs are a critical component of your vehicle’s internal combustion engine. Spark plugs transmit an electrical signal that’s sent from the ignition coil to create a spark that heats the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. Good quality spark plugs will help with your fuel efficiency, while bad or failing spark plugs won’t even start your motor. Similar to motor oil, fuel, and air filters, spark plugs require regular maintenance to keep your vehicle running strong. Most manufacturers suggest that spark plugs are replaced every 30K to 50k miles. However, some newer cars and trucks have advanced ignition systems that make spark plug replacement unnecessary. Having knowledge of spark plugs and whether they are damaged can result in quick repair and save on costly expenses.
Listed below are a few common symptoms your spark plugs are damaged or worn out:
Difficulty starting the vehicle
The engine’s ignition system has multiple individual components, and the battery can be a number one culprit to difficulty starting your vehicle. However, if you are sure you’re not experiencing issues with your battery, it could be a sign your spark plugs are worn. Bad spark plugs may cause a long crank time and may even prevent the vehicle from starting at all if the sound of your engine is rough, jittery, or vibrating when idling, that a cylinder misfire may be the issue.
An engine misfiring can be due to an issue in the ignition system or a sensor malfunction. However, in some cases, a spark plug wire, or the tip of the wire can be damaged. And engine misfire is traditionally classified by Intermittent sputtering sounds from the engine and, if left too long, can lead to an increase in the exhaust, decrease in engine power, and a drop in fuel economy.
Poor fuel economy
Working spark plugs burn fuel efficiently in the combustion cycle and helps your vehicle achieve a higher fuel economy. If fuel economy is decreasing, your spark plug electrodes may be either too close or too far apart. Please consult with a trusted automotive expert to remove your spark plugs and examine them. Your technician will be able to adjust your spark plug gap to its factory settings.
Low acceleration power
If your car is running sluggishly or accelerating slowly, it may be a sign that a spark plug needs replacement. A spark plug produces a temperature hot enough to spark the air-fuel mixture that accelerates the vehicle. When a spark plug wears out, its effectiveness reduces, which can significantly reduce the acceleration of the car. Low acceleration may also indicate a problem in the ignition system. Therefore, it’s always recommended to take note of this symptom and address it with an automotive technician.
Being proactive about spark plug maintenance will extend your vehicle by hundreds of thousands of miles and save you in costly repairs. It’s easy to overlook the spark plugs during a routine maintenance appointment; thus, it’s essential to pay attention to your car’s early warning signs. Spark plugs are relatively affordable, but it is always best to trust the service of your vehicle with a trained ASE certified specialist. A qualified automotive specialist will adequately diagnose your car, use the correct spark plugs for your car model and engine, and replace your plugs quickly and efficiently.