Beforehand, it used to be easy to maintain spark plugs by carrying out maintenance checks. However, with technological advancement, there are now emissions tubing shrouding different components. Technicians can ignore spark plugs but they should always check spark plugs.
In order to check your Spark Plugs, you can start by clearing the area and pulling the plug with a socket. They are an important part of the vehicle and can inform you about the health of your engine; they can also tell about the state of the combustion chamber.
Below are tips on how to maintain your spark plugs and how to check when they’re faulty.
What Are Spark Plugs?
Sparks plugs are important components of the engine; they assist fuel ignition in the combustion chamber. There are different spark plugs for each vehicle, and they come with different materials and gaps for installation. When your spark plug is in stellar condition, it can adequately burn the fuel. However, a failing spark plug might prevent your engine from starting at all.
How Do They Work?
Spark plugs help send a signal from the ignition coil at a set time to help make a spark that sets off the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Spark plugs are just as important as fuel and air filters; they require maintenance as they play quite an essential role in keeping your engine in good condition. You rarely may not need to replace the spark plugs if your car comes with advanced ignition systems. However, there are times when it begins to wear out and requires the necessary attention.
How to Check Failed Spark Plugs?
When you get indications that your spark plugs are wearing out or beginning to fail, then there is a need to check it out. Start by disconnecting the spark plug lead and cleaning around the plug to ensure that debris doesn’t fall into the combustion chamber when you take it out. Take out the spark plug with a socket and clean off deposits on the plug with a plug cleaner or wire brush. Check the spark plug for deposits that won’t go away, cracked parts, or burnt electrodes, and if you see signs of any of this, then you need to have the spark plug replaced.
Check the spark plug gap as well and if you can an adjustment, then make the necessary adjustments. After cleaning and adjustments, carefully replace the plug and attach the lead back. After this process, start the engine, and if it sparks and dies, then the problem isn’t with your spark plug but something else. If there is no turn over at all, you might need to completely change the spark plug as this shows an issue with your ignition system.
Maintenance Tips for Spark Plugs
The spark plug might appear simple, but it plays an important role in the combustion chamber. It needs efficient maintenance to facilitate a long life. Below are maintenance tips to keep your spark plug operating for many years.
- Regularly Check for Symptoms: If you carry out regular checkups on your spark plug, you will be able to detect signs of deterioration when they begin to pop up.
- Clean Spark Plug regularly: disconnect the lead and clean around the spark plug as well as the plug itself. Clean the plug with a plug cleaner or use a wire brush to wipe off debris. Don’t use a shot blaster to remove difficult deposits, as that might damage the spark plug.
- Inspect Wires: Inspect wires with good lighting and keep an eye out for damages like cuts or burn marks, check the insulation and look for corrosion signs.
- Perform Spark Wire Resistance Tests: check the resistant rating for the spark plug and then use an ohmmeter to confirm if it matches with the regulations. Place probes on both sides of the wire. Ensure they touch the metal contacts to conform with the manual range.
Conditions to Consider When Checking Spark Plugs
Below are some conditions to bear in mind when you’re checking your spark plugs.
- Normal: At normal, the engine will run as it shouldo. The spark plugs should look as good as new.
- Red Coatings: Additives from low-quality fuel cause coatings; it is apparent on the ceramic insulation of the plug but doesn’t mean there’s a problem.
- Fuel Foul: This is when the spark plug has a shiny cover on its tip and also the side electrode; this shows that the fuel mixture is too rick or could mean an ignition problem. It could also indicate that the heat range is too low; adjust the fuel injection to the correct mix to solve this problem.
- Detonation Issues: This is when the timing is off and needs a tune-up; it could also be an indication of a low octane rating.
- Worn-Out Plug: this simply requires a replacement; you can tell when the spark plug will wear out by checking the packaging.
Other conditions to look out for is pre-ignition, oil ash fouled, mechanical damage and carbon fouled. Some of them are quite easy to fix, while others require experienced mechanics.
When & How to Replace Failed Spark Plugs?
Replace spark plugs every four years, except you’re using iridium spark plugs, then you will need to replace those every six years. You can check your car manual for the exact number unique to your vehicle. However, your spark plugs could damage before it exhausts its lifespan; and you’ll need to replace them to avoid damage to your vehicle. If you experience any symptoms of a failing spark plug, check if they’re bad and then have them replaced.
To replace it, you need to find the ideal spark plug for your vehicle. Adjust the gap setting to fit that of your vehicle. Disconnect the plug lead and remove the old plug with a plug socket; fix in the new one and screw in place carefully. Ensure you don’t tighten it too much and then reattach the lead.
When you have a bad spark plug, it could cause severe damages to your vehicle. Ensure you check them regularly and also carry out routine maintenance to be able to detect signs easily. If you find that your available spark plug is bad, have them replaced immediately to keep your vehicle in optimum performance.