Spark plugs are small engine parts that are responsible for creating a spark that is transmitted into a cylinder to create a small controlled explosion. This explosion is commonly referred to as ignition. Ignition puts the engine’s pistons in motion and it results in the movement of your car. This combustion continues over time as a mixture of fuel and air keeps burning. These small engine parts are designed to withstand extreme levels of heat and pressure as they are next to the engine cylinders.
Spark plugs are a vital part of a car engine and as such should be checked when you take your car for service. Ignoring spark plugs can cause major damage to your engine. You can maintain your spark plugs by:
- Cleaning them
- Changing them when required
The following are telltale signs that you need to change your spark plugs:
- Car has rough movements when the engine is idle
When your car is stationary, the engine produces a low amount of RPMs (Revolutions per minute). At this point you engine should be giving off a constant and smooth vibration and sound. But if your spark plugs aren’t working as they should, your engine will produce a rough and jittery sound. Malfunctioning plugs will make the car produce rough and sporadic vibrations through the car. This is usually the most obvious sign that you need to have your spark plugs looked at.
- It is difficult to start your car
An experienced driver can always tell what’s wrong when his/her car can’t start. It may be lack of fuel or a flat battery. If either of the two isn’t the culprit, it may be bad or worn out spark plugs. As we said before, spark plugs are responsible for producing the spark needed to get the vehicle moving. Apart from causing your car not to start, faulty spark plugs are also responsible for draining your car battery.
- Engine misfires are common
When your engine misfires, it is a clear indicator that one of your cylinders has malfunctioned. An engine misfire will cause your car to stop for a short period of time then continue with its normal movement. This can be attributed to having both faulty and worn out spark plugs which can also make your car produce a large amount of emissions.
- Engine Surge
An engine surge occurs when the combustion process of an engine gets more air than usual. This results in the vehicle jerking and then momentarily slowing down. An engine surge also causes the vehicle to start and stop. This is caused when faulty sparks try to ignite the said excess air.
- Leads to higher than normal fuel consumption
If your car has faulty or worn out spark plugs, you will notice the high fuel consumption due to incomplete combustion. This makes operating such a car a rather expensive process and you’ll also need to fill up more often than usual.
- Slower acceleration response
If your car has faulty or worn out spark plugs, you will notice that your car is accelerating rather poorly and slowly. When driving you will get the sensation that the vehicle doesn’t respond to slamming your foot on the peddle. Slower reaction times to such actions is also a sign of damaged or faulty spark plugs. The sluggish nature of your car can be fixed by having your car serviced and your spark plugs changed.
If your car is exhibiting any of the above signs, it is important to have it checked out to avoid any or further engine damage. Always remember to have your spark plugs changed when you take your car in for service.