March 22, 2018

Does An Electronic Ignition Need Spark Plugs?

Here at ExperTec Automotive in Huntington Beach, we specialize in all sorts of repairs to help keep your car running right. This week, we’ll introduce you to another tiny part that can cause you huge problems, your engine’s spark plugs. Spark plugs are present in all automobile combustion engines except for diesels, although the number of spark plugs you need differs according to how many cylinders your engine is. They are usually about as wide as your finger and maybe half as long, but just one failing or worn out plug can have a noticeable negative effect on your car’s performance, or even cause more extensive – and expensive – damage if left untreated.

A spark plug is a component which delivers the electricity from your car’s ignition system in the form of an electric spark to your cylinders’ combustion chambers, detonating the mixture of air and fuel inside and driving the piston down, turning the crankshaft and eventually your wheels. Because it carries electrical current, a spark plug is insulated with porcelain to keep it from flowing into the engine block. Spark plug problems can come from either the plug itself or the spark plug wires, and it can be hard to pinpoint where the problem is if a spark plug is malfunctioning.

In most cases, a single spark plug failing will not disable your engine, but as soon as a single plug fails, the increased wear on your engine starts. If you drive a car with a worn out spark plug for too long, the unburnt fuel will contaminate the catalytic converter, which can result in it overheating and melting, eventually blocking the exhaust. Although it is unlikely that anyone would neglect to change their spark plugs for so long, given enough time this could potentially cause your catalytic converter to ignite and set your whole vehicle on fire. Another possibility is the unburnt fuel finding its way into your engine oil and causing symptoms similar to a flooded engine.

Your car’s owner’s manual should have a suggested maintenance interval for your spark plugs, but here are some common signs that they may need to be replaced:

Your engine has a rough idle: your car may vibrate more, and the engine may sound different or not as smooth while idling.

You may be having trouble starting your car: the faulty spark plug may make it harder to get your engine started, or they may be draining the battery and necessitate you changing both your battery and spark plugs.

Your engine misfires: your engine may suddenly stop or jerk during normal driving.

Engine surging: your vehicle’s power delivery may be jerky, unpredictable, and inconsistent, which can be dangerous in traffic and potentially cause collisions.

High fuel consumption: even if you don’t notice any engine problems, your fuel economy may be diminished by up to 30% by worn spark plugs.

Loss of power: if you have a noticeable loss of power, one of the most likely culprits is your spark plugs. Get them checked as soon as possible!

Spark plugs will inevitably wear out. It is impossible to avoid replacing them on a car that is driven regularly. If you notice any of these symptoms, or otherwise suspect that your spark plugs may need replacement soon, call ExperTec Automotive today at (714)-848-9222 to schedule an appointment. Our mechanics can fix any of your spark plug problems guaranteed. ExperTec: we are Huntington Beach’s favorite AAA approved automotive shop!

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