Spark plugs are an essential component of a car’s engine. They are responsible for igniting the gasoline-air mixture that causes combustion, which is what produces energy to turn the engine and keep cars running smoothly.
To explain further, spark plugs have electrodes at their end where electricity from the battery is sent through, producing a spark.
The spark then travels to the combustion chamber, where it combusts with fuel and air, setting off a chain reaction that allows for power to be produced through the engine.
Without this process, as provided by spark plugs, cars would not function properly, and engines could not run.
Spark plugs are not a very delicate component of an automobile, but they may fail if you are careless.
What causes spark plugs to fail quickly?
Well, there can be many reasons for it, and below we will take a look at some of the most common causes.
Table of Contents
Spark Plug Issues
Following are some issues I’ve experienced that caused spark plugs to wear out rapidly.
Over time, spark plugs can become too hot due to continuous exposure to high temperatures.
This can cause the spark plug’s electrodes and metal shell to expand, leading to misfires and a weaker spark.
It’s normal to see carbon particles on your spark plug, but if you also see leaking oil and odd carbon deposits, your spark plug might fail at any moment.
Spark plugs are fairly durable. But they may break if they are subjected to expansion or a thermal shock, i.e., rapid cooling and overheating.
4- Corrosion and oxidation
Electrodes are prone to oxidation, which may lead to corrosion. The extent to which your spark plug might fail is determined by the amount of corrosion that has happened.
5- Incorrect gap settings
The gap between the electrode and spark plug is vital for ensuring optimal performance, and incorrect gap settings can cause spark plugs to fail prematurely.
Spark Plug Misfire Causes
Many drivers often overlook their car’s spark plugs, but the truth is that a misfiring spark plug can easily cause your vehicle to suffer from serious engine issues. Symptoms of a misfire can vary from rough idling to stalling and shaking.
If you are experiencing any of these, it is important to diagnose the reason behind them as soon as possible.
Some potential causes of a spark plug misfire include worn out, or defective spark plugs, fouled spark plugs due to carbon deposits, faulty ignition wiring or distributor cap, vacuum leaks, or weak fuel injectors.
As such, regular maintenance of your car’s ignition system is essential in avoiding any further damage!
Following are some examples of what a misfiring of the spark plug feels like
Smell – The interior of the automobile begins to smell like oil.
Sound – The engine’s sound varies greatly because all of the cylinders aren’t operational.
If you’re wondering what misfiring a spark plug sounds like, look no further. It is characterized by a harsh cracking or sneeze sound.
Power outage – The car’s reluctance to provide power indicates that the spark plug has misfired.
There is a jerking sensation, and the car does not accelerate correctly. It comes to a halt on all cylinders.
Replacing Faulty Spark Plug on Car
Replacing a faulty spark plug in a car can be a daunting task for many people, but it doesn’t have to be.
Knowing a few tips for the process can make all the difference in getting the job done quickly and efficiently.
When taking out the old spark plug, remember to use an appropriate size socket wrench with extensions so that you can properly and safely remove it.
Taking precautions like using eye protection and unplugging the car battery cable before getting started is also essential.
When putting in the new spark plug, use an anti-seize lubricant to ensure easy removal of the cap if things need to be adjusted at any point in time.
After everything is all set and done, review your work, double-check all components and tighten everything one final time before going back out on the open roads again!
How do I determine the socket size for the spark plug?
When it comes to the socket size for a spark plug, there is no common standard.
People sometimes make the mistake of considering the most popular sizes, 13/16′′, and 5/8′′, as the standard size for the spark plug.
These dimensions are often used for vehicles like cars and trucks, although a 3/4″ socket size is commonly used for lawnmowers.
As a result, there are commonly used formats, although they differ depending on their use and vehicle.
Determining the correct size is not difficult, yet see people do it wrong. To determine the socket size for the spark plug, follow the instructions below.
1). First and foremost, refer to your car’s owner’s handbook to determine the kind and design of the plug. It will help determine the correct socket size.
2). Check the socket size on the spark plug itself. If it is reachable, you may measure it using Vernier calipers.
It’s normal for people to struggle with the Vernier calipers. Simply visit a neighboring mechanic for better assistance in measuring the socket size.
What to look for when purchasing a socket for a spark plug
When shopping for spark plug sockets, you should know what to look for if you want to do the work yourself.
Kits that include a variety of spark plugs are available, and acquiring one right away can save you from having to figure out which one is suitable for your vehicle.
The following principles are essential if you are looking to save money.
1- Engine Type
First and foremost, discover what type of engine you’re working on. Most vehicles will be 5/8″ or 13/16″ in size, although tiny engines may be of different sizes.
The best way is to conduct your study ahead of time by consulting your vehicle’s handbook or searching Google.
2- Deep vs. Standard
Second, examine the spark plug and its positioning inside the engine. Is it at the very top and readily reachable? Or somewhat recessed?
Recessed plugs may need a deep socket. It is just a long socket that allows you to access spark plugs that are not easily reachable.
3- The thickness of the wall
The space surrounding the plug is a third issue to consider. Few are close together, and there isn’t much area surrounding the plug to accommodate a socket.
In this instance, a thin-walled socket is required. Sockets are available in a variety of thicknesses to ensure ease.
There are many different reasons why your car might be having trouble starting up. It could be something as simple as a dirty air filter or something more serious like spark plug problems.
If you’re unsure what the problem is, it’s always best to take it to a mechanic and have them look.
However, if you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend the money, there are some things you can try at home first. Checking the spark plugs is a good place to start.
If they’re old or fouled, they may need to be replaced. Cleaning them with electrical contact cleaner can sometimes do the trick too.
Whichever route you choose, hopefully, this article has helped you figure out what’s wrong with your car so you can get back on the road again!
Based in Orem (Utah) John Paterson graduated from Utah Valley University and has begun writing in 2009. He has a large wealth of experience in writing articles related to cars, automotive repair, wheels, cleaning/maintenance, and much more. He has also written instructional articles in a similar niche for a few online publications as well. Currently, he works as a mechanic in his personal garage shop where he loves serving his countrymen from his heart.