Spark plugs are like tiny bolts of lightning. This spark of electricity emitted by the plug creates the ignition necessary for the combustion to start up your car. It spurs the pistons in your engine to get set in motion so your car starts, and stays powered, producing an even blend of a compressed air-fuel mixture. Spark plugs can withstand the extreme pressure and heat of the cylinders, designed to easily burn off deposits from contaminants and fuel additives.
In a nutshell, the spark plugs create the electricity that is meant to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine, which allows your car to start. You need spark plugs to keep your engine in motion so you can drive. But these spark plugs need proper maintenance on a regular basis to keep them working as they should. This maintenance not only boosts the longevity of your vehicle, it also ensures a smoother driving experience.
When you neglect regular maintenance on your car, your spark plugs may start to fail, leading to the need for spark plug replacement. Here are seven signs that are telling you that you need spark plug replacement on your vehicle.
1. Your Vehicle is Difficult to Start
Often, it’s the battery that takes the blame for a car failing to start up. But sometimes, it’s actually the spark plugs’ fault. The engine must work harder to make up for worn out or clogged spark plugs, which can make it difficult to start your car in harsh weather conditions. Essentially, there’s not enough spark to get things going.
2. Your Engine is Misfiring
While a faulty ignition coil plug cap or low-quality fuel can lead to an engine misfire, the cause is usually a worn spark plug. If you find that your engine pace starts to waver, then pick up again, or you hear the engine pop when the timing is off, you could be in need of a new spark plug. When a misfire occurs, raw fuel is sent into the exhaust, causing damage to the catalytic converter.
3. You Have Poor Fuel Economy
Worn spark plugs make your engine work harder than it has to, which sucks up extra gas and causes you to spend more money on fuel. Basically, the fuel is not effectively being burned within the combustion chamber. If you’re spending a lot more on gas than you normally do, get your spark plugs checked out. They could be to blame, and it’s a simple enough fix.
4. Your Engine Idles Rough
Are you hearing knocking or rattling sounds emanating from your engine? The spark plugs could be failing and should be checked by a professional right away. Of course, there could be other causes for those sounds, but this is why you shouldn’t ignore these issues. Severe damage can happen to an engine when strange sounds aren’t getting the attention they need.
5. Your Car Doesn’t Accelerate Easily
A worn spark plug can’t sufficiently create the spark needed to ignite the combustion chamber’s fuel-air mixture. If you’re noticing that your car isn’t accelerating the way it should, the culprit could be faulty spark plugs. It’s important to get this checked, because lack of sufficient acceleration could be a problem on the roadways, especially on the highway.
6. Your Engine is Loud
Doesn’t matter what cylinder engine you have – four, six, eight – but if you have malfunctioning spark plugs, you will invariably know by the amount of noise emitted. When your spark plugs reduce your cylinder’s effectiveness, this causes the other components to work overtime. The result? Strange, loud noises such as rattling. If you hear these, bring the car in for a look.
7. Your “Check Engine” Light Comes On
No one likes to see their check engine light come on, but many people assume it’s nothing and ignore it. This is a bad idea. There could be a variety of issues wrong with your engine and you don’t want to experience a costly and inconvenient failure. That’s why it’s best to have the light checked out whenever it comes on. That light is there to clue you in to potential problems before you get stranded or costly damage occurs. This preemptive warning could be signaling that you have a spark plug failure that needs replacement.
We hope the above tips have been helpful as you continue to be mindful of the importance of your spark plugs. Always talk to your trusted mechanic if you have any questions or issues with spark plugs. They have the expertise to troubleshoot the issue and get to the bottom of it.
On average, spark plugs should be replaced every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Some of the higher quality ones can last well beyond 100,000.
While it’s easy to overlook such simple maintenance for your vehicle, the resulting cost and possible damage can result in headaches, time and money on your end when all is said and done. Book and keep all your routine maintenance appointments so you can ensure a long life for your engine and your vehicle overall.
Contact Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza
If you suspect you need a spark plug replacement, don’t hesitate to contact us in Fort Worth TX at 817-609-4293 to book an appointment. Our technicians can inspect your vehicle, troubleshoot the issue and replace the spark plugs as needed, efficiently and quickly. For your convenience, we are headquartered at 2425 Cullen St. in Fort Worth, TX and our business hours are Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Spark plug replacement is part of our auto electrical services, which also include alternator repair, battery service, and hybrid battery service.