You’ve likely heard that failing spark plugs can cause your car’s check engine light to illuminate, but what do those spark plugs do, and why do they go bad? Just as their name implies, your plugs are designed to generate the spark needed for combustion, the controlled explosion of the air-fuel mixture in your auto’s engine. The alternator sends electricity through the ignition system. As it travels through the spark plug wires to the plugs themselves, an arc of electricity crosses between two leads on the plug that are close but not touching. That small open space is called the gap. Although spark plugs are made of tough materials and are durable, they eventually wear out. For help assessing your spark plugs’ health and making necessary replacements when the time comes, bring your vehicle to API Auto Repair in Elkridge, Maryland.
Spark plugs generate a spark reliable over and over again, up to millions of times, and at some point, they just get old. A few things can actually accelerate spark plug wear. For example, maintenance issues such as a clogged air filter or dirty fuel injectors can lead to carbon buildup on the plugs’ tips. If there is a timing problem, and improper fuel-air ratio can cause the spark plugs to overheat. This will cause the electrodes to wear out faster. The spark plugs may also fall victim to oil contamination. This occurs if seals fail, allowing oil to seep into the combustion chamber. The misplaced oil then reaches the plugs, fouling their tips.
As stated, most spark plugs last a long time. You can expect to replace them somewhere between 30,000 (on the low end) to 90,000 miles on older vehicles. Many newer autos are designed to run so efficiently that spark plugs are expected to last for more than 100,000 miles. Replacing aging spark plugs will make a noticeable difference for most drivers. For example, your car’s starting ability will improve. The new plugs will probably end difficult starts, particularly when it’s cold. Also, the vehicle will run better because the combustion process will be more efficient. Drivers will also notice an increase in fuel economy. Spark plugs that are misfiring use as much as 30% more fuel. In addition to what they notice immediately, drivers can feel better about their impact on the environment because as fuel economy improves, emissions are reduced. If you begin noticing hard starts, reduced gas mileage, misfires, let API Auto Repair in Elkridge, Maryland, change your spark plugs.