Every complex machine is composed of several components that work in conjunction to make the whole machine operational. The same is true for vehicles, there are thousands of small parts each of which plays its role to make the vehicle move.
Today we will be discussing the spark plug wires which are one of the most important components in a car, in fact, a car won’t be able to start if there were no spark plug wires attached.
Unfortunately, these wires are sparsely discussed on the internet even though they possess great importance in the proper functioning of a car, and today we will briefly discuss their function and types.
Are spark plugs universal?
There is a whole variety of aftermarket spark plugs wires available out there and shopping for a new one may be tricky. Of course, you can stick with Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) wires but aftermarket spark plug wires are your best bet if you want cheaper or better performing alternatives.
Spark plug wires are generally made to fit on a specific vehicle but there are universal spark plug wires available in the market that can be cut to fit in nearly every vehicle.
These universal wires have the same characteristics as their counterparts apart from their length which makes them a better option if you don’t know the exact specifications of your car’s spark plug wires.
The wires whether they are universal or regular ones are available in several color options and plug boot configurations.
Most commonly used aftermarket plug boot configurations are either straight or 45/90 degree, because most OEM spark plug wires are also in the same configuration. The color of wire does not make any difference apart from the appearance and visual appeal which all comes down to an individual’s taste.
Spark Plug Wire Challenges
You may think that spark plug wires are just a pair of simple wires that deliver the required amount of voltage to the spark plugs, but in reality, their function is a bit more complex.
They have to endure high temperatures due to an engine’s high thermal output and deliver the maximum amount of charge without creating disturbance for the nearby electrical components. This is a big challenge as modern cars require a huge amount of voltage passing through these wires to deliver a greater amount of power.
To counter the threat of extreme heat, spark plug wires are coated with several layers of insulations, and the conducting material is placed at the center of it which is also known as its core.
Generally, there are three kinds of cores used in these wires which are carbon, solid, and spiral. Out of these three, the carbon core is the most commonly used material and it is also the material that is used in most OEM spark plug wires, wires made out of it are cheaper but they also last the least amount of time.
The life span of spark plug wires
Like any other part in a car, spark plugs and their wires also have a limited span of life. The extreme heat and heavy loads of voltage they have to endure on a routine basis compromise their functionality and make them weaker with the passage of time.
Their compromised functionality can cause a variety of problems such as engine misfires, abnormal idle, weird engine sound, decreased fuel economy, and engine efficiency.
Some of these faults may cause the ECU to trip an engine check light on your odometer. Diagnosing a faulty spark plug wire may be difficult for you and therefore it is advised to consult a certified mechanic to verify the problem
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.