Spark Plug 101: How To Maintain Your Spark Plugs

a hand holding a spark plug in front of a car engine

Spark plugs are an essential component of your vehicle that need proper maintenance just like everything else in your vehicle. Use this guide to learn how spark plugs work and the signs of malfunctioning spark plugs.

What Your Spark Plugs Do

Your spark plugs are one the smallest active components of your vehicle. However, they’re also one of the most important. In fact, without your spark plugs your vehicle probably won’t run at all. Think of your spark plugs like a tiny bolt of lightning that gives your vehicle’s engine the jolt it needs to ignite your fuel and and get the wheels spinning.

How Spark Plugs Work

When you turn the key in your ignition or press the push-button start, the starter motor engages. Then electricity travels from your car battery to your induction coil and transforms the 12 volts from the battery to up to 45,000 volts. The volts are then transferred to the spark plugs and the plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. In essence, a small but controlled explosion is created. The sudden expansion of gas created by the explosion is what moves the pistons in your car and gets your vehicle going.

Signs Your Spark Plugs Need to Be Replaced

The spark plugs in your engine are designed to last a very long time. New spark plugs can last up to 100,000 miles but eventually they will need to be replaced. Overtime regular wear and tear or system issues will make your spark plugs less effective. If your spark plugs have gone bad you may notice one of the following symptoms.

  • Odd noises -If you hear rattling, knocking, or pinging noises coming from your engine, it might be coming from the pistons when the spark plug fires at the wrong time.
  • Your vehicle is hard to start – If you’re having a hard time starting your engine, it could be due to a spark plug gone bad.
  • Unreliable performance – If you notice a dip in your vehicle performance it might be a result of misfiring spark plugs,
  • Reduced fuel efficiency – Your spark plugs ignite the fuel in your engine to keep it going. If the spark plug is firing at the wrong time, it could lead to wasted fuel.

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Tuscaloosa Hyundai

If you suspect that your vehicle’s spark plugs have gone bad, schedule an appointment with the service center at Tuscaloosa Hyundai.

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