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When to Replace Car Spark Plug

Everything you need to know about Spark Plugs

What do Spark Plugs do?

Spark plugs replacement

An engine is probably the most important component of a vehicle. It’s task is to power up from the source of energy and to get the car moving. For this, an internal combustion is required in order to convert the potential energy to kinetic energy. This is where spark plugs come into play.


Astonishing how the tiny bolt of lightning is so imperative to the vehicle’s working, spark plugs are the medium for the aforementioned energy conversion. An inseparable part of the ignition system, spark plugs, as the name suggests, provide spark to the mixture of gas and air that fires the engine up. These simple plugs generate electricity across two leads which aren’t touching, but close enough for electricity with high voltage to jump the gap between them. For this purpose, voltage varying from 20,000V to 100,000 is provided to the spark plugs from the ignition coil. This provides the engine the best mix of power, economy and least emission. Spark plugs are an integral part of the ignition system of a vehicle. Thus, they are made from extremely durable material and can withstand millions of such explosions before eventually wearing out. But these explosions and corrosion due to exposure to air and moisture gradually weakens the sparks, which threatens the efficacy of the ignition system. If unchanged at the proper time, this leads to misfiring and reduced efficiency of the system.

How often do you need to change spark plugs?

Spark plug maintenance depends majorly on two factors- the type of vehicle and the type of fuel being used. Although for most vehicles spark plugs need replacement after every 50,000km, the replacement should actually follow the maintenance schedule. It is less likely for the spark plugs to fail before schedule, but in the untoward event that they do, it is suggested to get the Spark Plug wires changed at the same time as well. This is done to maintain synchronization and avoid misfires or any such problems.

What are the symptoms of a bad spark plug?

Spark plugs are threaded into the engine’s cylinder head(s). Most cars have one plug per cylinder, so a four-cylinder engine will have four plugs; a six-cylinder engine will have six plugs, and so forth. To know if it’s time to change the spark plugs, look out for these signs:

  • Trouble starting your car.
  • Examine engine light for a misfire code.
  • Flashing check engine light during acceleration for misfire, this can result to engine damage.
  • Reduced fuel economy and/or power.
  • Rough idle and/or inexplicable engine vibration.
  • Failed emission testing.

What are the benefits of replacing a spark plug?

  • Better Economy: A worn out spark plug can hinder the fuel economy of your vehicle. Instead, optimum spark generated by a spark plug can reduce misfiring and hence give you a better run for your money!
  • Reduced emission: As stated by the environmental protection agency, work out spark plus not only takes up more gas but also emits more harmful gases that cause air pollution.
  • Smooth start: A bad start to a car journey can be a real bummer. And the reason might be your old spark plug. Replacing it would not only be good for the vehicle, but it’d also enhance your driving experience.

Is it safe to drive with worn spark plugs?

Yes, however, spark plugs that are worn enough to cause engine-misfiring have the possibility to cause overheating of the catalytic converter and engine damage. If the engine misfires or runs inefficiently, the plugs must be examined for defects regardless of the age of the plugs or mileage. In general, spark plug failure will not keep the engine from running, but in cases of extreme wear, you may experience a limitation in the speed at which you can drive the car. Most commonly, worn out plugs also result in less fuel efficiency and an undesired driving experience. If the maintenance schedule suggests the plugs should be changed, it is best to do so on time.