Let’s start with the basics. What’s a spark plug? What exactly does it do in your car?Well, like the name suggests, a spark plug generates a spark which ignites the mixture of air and fuel in your car. The combustion of this mixture inside a car engine is what gives the car the power to move. This plug takes as input voltage on one end, and on the other end outputs a spark, which travels across the gap between the 2 electrodes of the spark plug. Essentially, your car won’t start and move without the spark plug. As is the case with everything else in your car, a spark plug is also prone to regular wear and tear and needs maintenance/replacement. Two things happen to the plug with age –

  • Every time a spark is generated, it burns a wee bit of the electrodes it jumps across. Spark plugs also undergo routine erosion due to extreme temperatures in your car. Naturally, over time this gap between the electrodes widens, and it becomes harder to ignite the fuel.
  • Accumulation of debris and other deposits on spark plugs make ignition difficult.

There are multiple benefits to replacing your spark plug when it’s needed –

  • Spark Plug performance is directly connected to engine performance. Because of that, good they go a long way in ensuring better fuel economy.
  • Quality plugs also reduce emissions and therefore are environment friendly.
  • And of course, if a spark plug is in good shape that means your car starts off smoothly, without any hiccups.

Spark plug life depends on the number of miles driven, its age, and of course, its quality. There are a few signs which indicate that your spark plugs have gone bad.

Jerky start – If starting your car becomes difficult, or it feels sudden and jerky, it could mean that it’s time to take a look at those spark plugs. This is the most obvious sign.

Rattling Noises – Rattling noises from the car’s engine could be due to the engine misfiring. There can be multiple reasons for this, and one of them is the ignition system misfiring, which is caused due to a faulty spark plug or ignition coil. In case you hear this noise, a professional mechanic is the best person for finding out the cause.

Poor mileage – Lots of things contribute to fuel economy, and one of them is spark plugs. Again, if you find that your vehicle’s mileage has dropped, it could be due to worn out spark plugs, and only a proper mechanic can point you in the right direction.

Poor acceleration – Spark plugs are fired when you change gears on your car and accelerate. If you experience sluggish acceleration, it could have easily been caused by a worn out spark plug.

If you encounter any of these issues, it’s best to get your car examined as soon as possible. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine! Regular maintenance and care will go a long way in further cost savings and ensuring safety.