HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY SPARK PLUGS REPLACED?
Spark plugs are small parts that are located at the top of an engine’s cylinder head and underneath a network of cables. Most vehicles usually have one spark plug per cylinder head. However, some vehicles have two spark plugs for each of their engines’ cylinder heads. Spark plugs do not lie in plain sight and are therefore, often times, forgotten. Spark plugs, however, can cause several issues to arise when they are beginning to fail. These issues can eventually leave a driver stranded if the driver doesn’t have their vehicle’s spark plugs replaced early enough.
The Purpose of Spark Plugs
Spark plugs provide spark to an engine. More specifically, spark plugs sit at the top of cylinder heads and send arcs of electricity across their electrodes. When a combustion engine is running and completing its combustion cycle, mixtures of fuel and air are injected into the cylinders of the engine. Spark plugs, with the sparks of electricity that they produce, ignite the air and fuel mixtures within the cylinders, forcing the pistons of the engine downward. The movement of the engine’s pistons cause the engine’s crankshaft to rotate, ultimately producing power for the vehicle.
There isn’t a definitive time for a driver to have the spark plugs of their vehicle replaced. However, there are several signs that a vehicle will give when the spark plugs that are in its engine need to be replaced. Initially, a vehicle may illuminate its check engine light. When a driver checks the code that is provided for the check engine light, they will see that the engine’s spark plugs need to be replaced.
An engine will begin to misfire when its spark plugs need to be replaced. This is because the spark plugs won’t be producing enough spark to ignite the fuel and air within the engine’s cylinders. Misfiring can be very harmful to an engine and can damage a vehicle’s catalytic converter as well, resulting in even more-expensive repairs.
Usually associated with misfiring, an engine will idle roughly when its spark plugs need to be replaced. This rough idling can be both felt and heard. If the spark plugs of your vehicle’s engine need to be replaced, you will hear pinging, rattling, or knocking sounds coming from the engine. This rough idling condition will produce poor performance for a vehicle, where the vehicle will also begin to accelerate much slower.
A vehicle may completely fail to start when its spark plugs are worn out and need to be replaced. Spark plugs, due to the sparks that they provide, allow engines to produce power and turn over. Without these sparks, engines cannot produce the power that they need to run. If you notice that your vehicle has been having a hard time starting, and you have tested the vehicle’s battery, it may be time for you to have the spark plugs of your vehicle’s engine replaced.
Routine Spark Plug Maintenance Schedule
Having a vehicle serviced routinely, and the vehicle’s spark plugs changed pre-emptively, will allow a driver to avoid many of the problems that are associated with faulty spark plugs. Spark plugs typically need to be replaced between every 80,000 and 90,000 miles. However, to get the results that are the best for your vehicle, refer to the owner’s manual that your vehicle’s manufacturer has provided for the vehicle. In the owner’s manual, you will find the maintenance schedules of many parts on your vehicle.
Replacing Spark Plugs
When you are replacing the spark plugs in your vehicle’s engine, you will need to make sure that you are using the same spark plugs that were used by the vehicle’s manufacturer. There are a variety of spark plugs that are available on the market. These spark plugs mainly differ in the materials that they use and the gap that exists between their electrodes. While the spark plug material is important, the gap between the electrodes of the spark plugs that you choose to use especially needs to match the width of the gap that existed on the vehicle’s original spark plugs.
Spark plugs, as a result of their sizes and locations, are components that are commonly overlooked. Spark plugs play vital roles in vehicles, however, and can cause several issues when they are failing. Following a routine maintenance schedule for your vehicle will help you to avoid many problems, including problems caused by failing spark plugs.
If you would like assistance with your vehicle or would like to have a spark plug replacement service done, visit us here at Rhinelander Buick GMC. We provide a variety of services at our dealership and want to help you to keep your vehicle running on the road reliably. We can provide more information to you about spark plug replacements and can help you to determine if your vehicle’s spark plugs need to be serviced.