Carz R' Us

Spark Plugs: What They Are and How They Work

Spark Plugs: What They Are and How They Work

Having trouble starting your car? Experiencing a rough idle or engine misfire? These are just a couple of indicators that your spark plugs may need to be changed. An integral part of your vehicle’s engine, spark plugs create the spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture in the cylinders, keeping your car running.

How do spark plugs work?

Here’s how spark plugs work. The metal end of the spark plug screws into the cylinder head of the engine. The opposite end has an electrode that sparks the fuel. Spark plugs handle the extreme heat of the engine well and are designed to burn off deposits from fuel additives and other contaminants.

How you know if it’s time to replace your spark plugs

As the electrode wears down, the spark plug becomes less efficient. The gap increases in size so the smooth, even burning of fuel becomes erratic. This causes a rough idle and can damage other ignition components, like ignition coils. This occurrence is commonly known as a misfire. Driving a vehicle with a misfire can cause permanent, irreversible engine damage.

A rough idle isn’t the only indication you may need to replace your vehicle’s spark plugs. Worn out spark plugs may also cause: hard start; poor fuel economy; rattling, pinging and knocking noises from the engine; and reduced performance.

Types of spark plugs 

* Copper (30,000 miles – example dodge hemi)

* Platinum

* Iridium

How often do I need to replace my vehicle’s spark plugs?

At Carz R’ Us, we recommend replacing spark plugs every 60,000 miles unless they are copper plugs. Copper plugs should be replaced every 30,000 miles, but a great way to save long-term budget is to replace the copper plugs with a 60,000-mile plug. This will save money in labor costs through replacing them ½ as often. If you drive your vehicle less than 10,000 miles per year we recommend replacing the spark plugs every seven years. A great service to have performed when you have your spark plugs replaced is an emissions and fuel service. This service cleans residual carbon and ethynyl from the throttle body, fuel injectors, fuel rail and helps prevent long-term wear and tear on the catalytic converter.

Benefits of new spark plugs

New, properly functioning spark plugs offer: better fuel economy; less wear and tear on other components of your vehicle, like ignition coils, starter and battery; produce less harmful emissions; provide a smooth and peppy start; and offer an overall better running and performing vehicle.

If you think your vehicle is experiencing worn out spark plugs, or, if they are due to be replaced based on mileage or age, we’re here to help. Check out one of our videos on the topic to learn more about spark plugs or give us a call today.

Posted in: Spark Plugs

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