As a critical component in a gas-powered vehicle engine, spark plugs provide the spark to ignite the air/fuel combination to start the engine. Spark plugs are connected to the ignition coil which generates the voltage needed to spark the air/fuel and start the combustion process that powers the engine.
To ensure that your vehicle is running on all cylinders, your engine’s spark plugs need to be clean, with no damage to the electrodes. Failing spark plugs can have an adverse effect on the performance of your vehicle, and driving with bad or fouled spark plugs can cause many problems for your engine. You could experience:
· Reduced Gas Mileage
· Poor Acceleration
· Hard Starts
· Engine Misfires
· Rough Idling
If you recognize any of these symptoms of failing spark plugs, consult your mechanic who will be able to determine if a bad spark plug is the source of your problem. Read on to learn what can cause your spark plugs to fail.
A leading cause of spark plug problems is a flow of engine oil into the combustion chamber. If oil leaks into the combustion chamber, it can cause the tip of the spark plug to get oily and dirty leading to premature failure. Especially a problem in older vehicles, take notice if your vehicle starts to burn oil, as it can be an indicator that your spark plugs may be damaged, and therefore have a shorter lifespan.
The gap between the spark plug’s center and side electrodes needs to be calibrated perfectly to ensure optimal engine performance. Having the right gap ensures that the arcing occurs at the proper voltage to ignite the fuel and generate the combustion that makes the engine run. If the gap isn’t set correctly, extra stress could be placed on the spark plug tip which could cause it to erode and wear out prematurely.