Here on Orozco’s Tires & Wheels in Long Beach, we’re not just about your car’s shoes. We also do repair and maintenance on your car’s engine and chassis to keep you on the road. This week, we’re gonna go over another minor part which can give you major problems – your engine’s spark plugs. Spark plugs, which differ in number based on how many cylinders you have, are usually about as wide as your finger and maybe half as long, but just one malfunctioning or failing plug can have a noticeable negative effect on your engine, or even lead to more extensive damage.
A spark plug is a component which delivers the electric current from your car’s ignition system to its cylinders’ combustion chambers to ignite the air and fuel mixture with an electric spark. Because it carries electrical current, it must be insulated with porcelain to prevent the electricity from flowing into the engine block. Spark plug problems can come from either the plug itself or the spark plug wires, and can be hard to diagnose accurately.
It is not likely that the failure of one spark plug will actually stop your engine from running, but as soon as one plug fails, the increased wear on your engine begins. Your car should run noticeably rougher and seem slower due to loss of power. If you drive a car with a failed spark plug for too long, the non-ignited fuel that passes through the non-sparking cylinder will contaminate the catalytic converter, which over time can result in the catalyst overheating and melting, eventually blocking the exhaust. In the worst case scenario, your catalytic converter could theoretically ignite and possibly set your whole vehicle on fire. Another possibility is that unburnt fuel from the non-sparking cylinder may find its way into your engine’s oil and cause symptoms similar to a flooded engine.
Your owner’s manual should give you a suggested maintenance schedule for your spark plugs, but here are some other common signs that you need to replace your spark plugs:
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 are a normal engine maintenance item. It is impossible to avoid replacing spark plugs on a car that is driven regularly. If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect that your spark plugs may need replacing anytime soon, call Orozco’s Tires of Long Beach at (844)-676-9267 to schedule an appointment. We can diagnose and fix your problems and get your car running smoothly again. Orozco’s Tires is Long Beach’s most trusted auto shop!