04 Feb Does Your Car Need New Spark Plugs?

Sometimes, car troubles can sneak up on us. An occasional engine misfire and a rough engine idle don’t seem that urgent. But when you notice poor fuel economy as well, you should have your spark plugs inspected. Below are some faulty spark plug warning signs to watch for and some benefits of new spark plugs.

What Are Spark Plugs?

Spark plugs are small automotive parts that screw into the cylinder head of an internal-combustion engine. Combustion engines create power by compressing a mixture of air and gasoline, then exploding the mixture via ignition. First, the spark plugs draw power from the car battery through the ignition coil and distributor. Then they convert that electrical energy into a spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture. Finally, the spark plugs help remove excess heat from the combustion chamber to the vehicle’s cooling system.

Economy cars with a four-cylinder engine have four spark plugs. Bigger vehicles that utilize a six-cylinder engine come with six spark plugs. Some vehicles (like a HEMI engine) have two spark plugs per cylinder for more precise ignition.

Faulty Spark Plugs: Warning Signs

Most auto manufacturers recommend replacing spark plugs every 20,000 – 60,000 miles. Be sure to read your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s spark plug maintenance schedule. However, there are occasions when faulty spark plugs should be changed before the factory recommended interval. Here are a few warnings signs to watch for:

Engine Misfire

One or more worn spark plugs often cause an engine misfire. The engine may falter or pop as it loses and then regains timing. Raw fuel is sent directly into the exhaust when the engine misfires, causing expensive damage to the catalytic converter.

Poor Fuel Economy

Worn or dirty spark plugs often contribute to poor fuel economy. When the fuel does not burn completely in the combustion chamber, raw gas exits your exhaust. Essentially, your engine gets no benefit from this wasted fuel due to insufficient combustion.

Rough Engine Idle

Vehicles made before 1996 can suffer from a rough engine idle due to worn or dirty spark plugs. Newer cars and trucks often have onboard diagnostic systems with warning lights that glow when issues with the spark plugs develop. Whether your automobile is new or old, if you are experiencing a rough engine idle, bring your vehicle in for a service to determine the cause.

Benefits Of New Spark Plugs

Replacing the spark plugs is a relatively inexpensive service and can save you money in the long run. Plus, you and your vehicle can reap the following benefits:

  • Better cold-weather starting
  • Enhanced engine performance
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Minimizes risk of catalytic converter failure
  • Lower emissions

Schedule A Service

Z’s Car Care in Hillsboro, OR, is ready to provide quality service whenever your vehicle needs it. Our certified mechanics are happy to discuss your concerns and troubleshoot your vehicle’s spark plugs. Addressing minor issues early prevents major mechanical failures and keeps the resale value of your automobile high.

Schedule your appointment today by calling (503) 648-3552 or visit us online.

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Ask us about our AAA Member and Military discounts on all auto repairs and services.

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