Spark plug plays a significant role in the combustion process in your car’s engine. It ignites the air/fuel mixture and creates an explosion to power up your engine. Regardless of the cutting-edge technology in your vehicle, your car cannot start without a spark plug. However, car owners tend to overlook its maintenance which later causes significant engine problems. Read on to know simple maintenance tips for your spark plug and signs of a damaged spark plug
Tips To Maintain The Longevity Of Spark Plugs
A spark plug is located in the combustion chamber and keeps your car engine going with very little maintenance. Since it is necessary to oversee its maintenance, here are several ways to check on your spark plugs.
1. Choose a Suitable Spark Plug For Your Car
Copper, Platinum, and Iridium are the three different types of spark plugs available in the market. While copper plugs have high conductivity, they come at a low price and short life span. Comparatively, platinum and iridium are expensive and offer high performance in the long. However, the best fit always depends on the design of your car engine.
2. Clean The Spark Plug and Electrodes Regularly
The best way to maintain your car’s spark plugs is to clean off the dirt on them regularly. You can perform this task at home with the proper guidelines. To clean the spark plug, you will need a socket wrench, thinner liquid, a toothbrush, and sandpaper. Make sure you remove the plug carefully from its terminal with a socket wrench and soak it in petrol, diesel, or isopropyl alcohol solution. Once the electrodes loosen up, brush it slowly and remove all crusted deposits using sandpaper.
3. Check The Spark Gap
The gap between the central and side electrodes should be appropriate to make your spark plugs function smoothly. If the gap is less, the spark will be weak and cause the engine to work poorly. However, the plug will not make a spark if the gap is too big. Therefore, it is essential to check the gap before mounting it in the combustion chamber using a coin-type gap measure.
4. Clean The Mounting Area
A frequent combustion process can build up debris and oil in the mounting area, causing the spark plug to get misaligned. Therefore, it is essential to clean the mounting area often to avoid malfunctioning. You can use a compressed gun to clean the accumulated dirt.
5. Spray The Cavity Around The Central Electrode
Accumulation of debris can cause a misfire in the engine. Use a plug cleaner in the cavity around the central electrode to get rid of unwanted material like porcelain dust. Make sure you hold the plug face downward while spraying the cavity.
Signs It's Time to Change The Spark Plug
While a quality spark plug has a life span of 20,000 miles, it can deteriorate over time. If your spark plug shows the following signs of damage, it is advisable to change it.
- Blinking Engine Light
Worn spark plugs may cause a sudden misfire and therefore cause your engine light to flash. If this happens, directly replace the spark plug instead of repairing it. The cost of spark plug replacement depends on the car model and type of engine. It generally costs AED 75 to AED 180 for regular cars.
- Difficulty in Starting The Car
Spark plugs create a spark to detonate the air/fuel mixture in the engine to make your car move. If it is malfunctioning and not allowing your vehicle to start, it is time to replace it.
- Frequent Gas Filling
A damaged spark plug does not burn fuel effectively and increases fuel consumption. So, if you need to fill up the gas frequently, a worn spark plug can be the reason behind it.
- Rattling Engine
Every car engine has its distinctive sound, like gentle humming or triumphant roaring, but if you hear rattling, squealing, grinding, or pinging sound in the engine, you can blame the spark plug.
- Time To Accelerate
Commonly, a car takes 5 to 6 seconds to accelerate. However, a worn spark plug can be why your car is taking longer than the average time to accelerate. Delaying spark plug maintenance or driving with worn plugs might cause significant damage to your car engine. Regular maintenance of your plugs can boost their functionality. You can choose to do it yourself at home, or hire a professional technician to clean the plugs for a small fee.
For more information on spark plug maintenance, talk to our experts at Cars24.