For a combustion engine to function properly you need to make sure you have fuel, spark and air. Spark plugs are what provides that spark. Think of spark plugs as a tiny bolt of lightning. That burst of electricity is used to start the combustion process and essentially jump starts the engine. Because spark plug health is directly linked to engine performance, it stands to reason weak or bad spark plugs lead to problems
Spark plugs are located in the engine block at the top of every cylinder. Therefore, on most vehicles, the number of spark plugs your vehicle has corresponds to the size engine and the number of cylinders.
How long spark plugs last can depend on many different factors, one of which being the type of plugs. copper plugs, for example, have the shortest life; and most manufacturers recommend changing those every 30,000 miles. Platinum or Iridium plugs should be changed at 100,000 miles
Spark Plugs are built to withstand extreme heat and pressure within your cylinders and are built to burn off deposits from fuel additives or other contaminants however as spark plugs age they can buildup deposits. These deposits can lead to an unreliable supply of energy for your car.
Additionally, spark plugs have a specific distance between the ground and center electrodes called a gap. This gap is where the spark of electricity “jumps”. As the spark plug ages this gap can increase. If the gap is too far apart, combustion will be erratic or ineffective.
Some Signs that your Spark Plugs may need to be replaced
- Engine has a rough idle
- Having trouble starting the vehicle
- Engine misfires
- High fuel consumption
- Lack of acceleration
- Rattling, pinging or “knock”-like noises