One of the most common things you hear when trying to diagnose a car problem is “did you check the spark plugs?” These little devices don’t seem like they would matter much to something as large and complex as an engine, but without them, the engine cannot function. But what exactly do spark plugs do?We made the Clear and Simple Spark Plug Guide to help you out.
What is a Spark plug?
In the simplest terms, a spark plug is the starting point for combustion in an engine. A spark plug is a small electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine. As compressed fuels such as gasoline pass through the cylinder, the spark plug creates an electric spark which then ignites the fuel, allowing combustion to take place. Spark plugs have a central electrode which is connected by a heavily insulated wire to an ignition coil that resides on the outside of the spark plug. The electrical charge created by a spark plug can range anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 volts.
How does a Spark plug work?
The spark plug is positioned at the top of the cylinder in a combustion engine. The top of the cylinder is where the air-fuel mixture is compressed. The spark plug will then create a spark, igniting the mixture and sending it back down the chamber which will cause the crankshaft to turn. While the part of the spark plug that creates the spark is inside of the cylinder, the rest of the spark plug must remain outside, connected to a spark plug wire that connects the distributor to the spark plug. This means that not only must the spark plug ignite the air-fuel mixture, but it must also create a tight seal in the cylinder head to keep the explosion from escaping the chamber.
How does a Spark plug Effect Performance?
Without a spark plug, an engine simply cannot work. Since they are such an important part of the engine, spark plugs must be taken care of in order to maintain high performance in a vehicle. Spark plugs should be removed and inspected at every tune up. Many older cars use copper spark plugs, which should be replaced at each tune up for the best performance. Some cars, however, use platinum spark plugs, which require far less maintenance and can last up to 100,000 miles before needing replaced. A clean and fully functional spark plug will mean that the engine doesn’t miss a beat and run smoother.
How do I Know if I Need to Replace My Spark plug?
If your vehicle begins to have abnormally poor fuel mileage, idles roughly, has poor acceleration, becomes prone to stalling, or will fail to start at all, you may need to replace your spark plugs. Prolonged use of a fouled spark plug can result in serious damage to your engine. Examining the tips of spark plugs can also tell you a great deal about the health and performance of your engine. A normal spark plug tip should appear to be light brown or tan in color. If the tip of the spark plug has black deposits on it, then the spark plug has most likely become fouled and will need to be replaced.
As you can see in the spark plug guide, the spark plug is a very important part of the engine. Proper maintenance and care of the spark plug, and replacing them as instructed by your vehicle’s owner’s manual can save you a great deal of frustration and quite possibly a great deal of money in other repairs.
Hope you enjoyed the Clear and Simple Spark Plug Guide. You can also check out other articles about how simple it is to get auto insurance car quotes, and how to save money on teen car insurance. There are many ways to lower your current insurance premium. Click the links to find out now.