This week on Orozco’s Auto Blog, we’re gonna talk about another tiny part which can cause you big problems: your engine’s spark plugs. Spark plugs are usually only a few centimeters long and perhaps as wide as your finger, but just one malfunctioning or failing can prevent your engine from starting up or running properly, and even cause more extensive damage. Here at Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach, we are dedicated to keeping your engine in the best shape possible and preventing any damage before it happens.
A spark plug is a device which delivers electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of an engine’s cylinders to ignite the compressed mixture of fuel and air with an electric spark. Because it handles high electrical voltages, 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 pinpoint.
It is unlikely that a single spark plug failing will actually disable your engine, but as soon as one plug fails, the wear and tear on your engine will start. Your car should run noticeably rougher and suffer some loss of power. Before long, the fuel that’s pumping through the non-firing cylinder will contaminate the catalytic converter. That can result in the catalyst overheating and melting, possibly blocking the exhaust in the process. In the worst-case scenario, the catalytic convertor could theoretically catch on fire and possibly result in a full-blown vehicle fire. Another possibility is that unburnt fuel from the misfiring cylinder may find its way into the oil and cause symptoms similar to a flooded engine.
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should provide information about how often to change your spark plugs. However, here are some common signs that your spark plugs need to be replaced:
Your engine has a rough idle: your engine may sound different or less smooth during idle, and your car may vibrate more.
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.
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 maintenance item in your car’s engine. If you suspect that your vehicle may be having spark plug problems and would like a diagnosis or spark plug replacement, call our team of certified professional mechanics to schedule an appointment today at (562)-427-4256. Orozco’s Auto Service can take care of any of your spark plug needs, guaranteed!