Spark plugs are an integral part of your engine and they act as a bridge between your car’s ignition and fuel systems.
They help ignite the fuel in your engine, which is what makes it run. Without spark plugs, cars would be unable to start or continue running once started.
Over time spark plugs do get worn out and need changing, in this article, I am going to explain to you what happens when spark plugs go bad and when to change them.
The Function of Spark Plugs and Their Importance
Before we look at what happens when spark plugs go bad let’s take a look at what they do and why they are so important.
As I mentioned above, spark plugs help ignite the fuel in your engine, which makes it run. They are located inside each cylinder of your car’s engine and work by creating an electrical charge between two electrodes that produces heat and sparks when compressed air is forced into them.
This ignition allows for combustion to occur which ultimately drives the engine forward.
What Happens When Spark Plugs Go Bad?
Now that I have explained the main function of spark plugs, let’s look at what happens when they go bad.
1. Engine Misfire:
If your spark plugs are not working correctly, then there is no way for your engine to be ignited. This means that it will not run properly and may even stall out completely.
A misfire can cause a variety of problems including:
- Engine knocking sounds when starting up in cold weather
- Harder to accelerate than usual -Burning oil due to fuel being burned inefficiently
2. Poor Fuel Economy:
Another thing that happens when spark plugs go bad is poor fuel economy. This is because the spark plugs do not ignite the fuel as well, so they will not burn as efficiently.
You will start to notice that your vehicle is burning more fuel than usual and the average fuel consumption is higher than normal.
3. Reduced Performance:
Since bad spark plugs cause your engine to misfire, you will notice that your vehicle does not accelerate as smoothly as before.
The engine will also struggle to reach higher speeds, which can cause problems when driving on highways or when passing other vehicles. 4.
4. Bad Smell from Exhaust:
Bad spark plugs can also cause a foul smell from the exhaust of your car. This is because when the engine misfires, it does not burn fuel efficiently and this results in unburned fuel being released into the air via your exhaust system.
5. Rough Idling:
Bad spark plugs can cause a rough idle. This means that your vehicle will shake or vibrate when you are idling at a stoplight or in traffic.
What Causes Spark Plugs to Go Bad Fast?
Spark plugs can wear out faster than normal due to a variety of factors, including an incorrect heat range, overheating, pre-ignition, detonation, oil fouling, carbon fouling, an improper gap, using the wrong spark plugs, electrical issues, and aggressive driving habits.
It is important to regularly check and replace spark plugs to ensure that they are functioning properly and to prevent engine problems.
How Often Should You Change Spark Plugs in Your Car?
Now, let’s address when is the recommended time to change spark plugs.
According tofirestonecompleteautocare.com spark plugs should be replaced every 80 000 -100 000 miles.
Of cause, this will vary depending on the type of car you have and the environment in which you drive.
For example, if you live in a hot climate, or drive very aggressively then it is likely that your spark plugs will need to be replaced more often than the average person.
How Do You Know When To Replace Your Spark Plugs?
The easiest way to check whether or not it’s time to replace your spark plugs is by looking at them closely if they look worn out or damaged (black soot), then it’s probably best to get them changed as soon as possible.
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.