Sometimes it takes just a replacement of one of the smallest components of the vehicle (The spark plug) to significantly improve its performance. The spark plug plays a huge role in maintaining the performance of your vehicle.
Therefore you have to keep watch so as to observe the signs of bad spark plugs and get new spark plugs regularly to help your vehicle perform at its best. But how do you know if your spark plugs are bad and need replacing? In this article, I would educate you on how to know if a spark plug is bad.
What is a spark plug?
A spark plug is a small electrical device that triggers combustion in the engine of a vehicle. It ensures or provides the spark needed to ignite the air and fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chambers, so as to generate power for the engine. Thereby causing the vehicle to ignite, stay powered and run smoothly.
How Long Does a Spark Plug Last?
Usually, a spark plug can last up to 100,000 miles which is about 160,000 km but may be needed to be replaced earlier if you notice any issues.
However, always check your vehicle’s manual to see when it recommends you change the spark plugs and to know the spark plug with the proper gap sizes to use so as to create a spark strong enough for your engine.
What are the Benefits of Replacing a Bad Spark Plug?
The primary benefit of replacing your spark plug is that you know that your vehicle will be in perfect condition and fire up without any glitches. New spark plugs provide a lot of performance benefits such as
1. Optimal combustion.
A good and functional spark plug help support the combustion system to function properly. Get this operating successfully, and make you free from lots of performance issues.
2. Reduces harmful emissions.
When there is proper car maintenance and care like regular replacement of bad spark plugs, it helps to increase the efficiency of the fuel and thereby reduces air/environmental pollution.
3. Economize fuel usage
When spark plugs misfire it has the ability to reduce the efficiency of fuel by almost 30%. Therefore getting a new plug, could help you maximize the use of fuel in your vehicle and also saves you some money.
4. Smooth start/ fast ignition
When the spark plug of a car is changed, you will notice a change in the rate of ignition. Because a bad spark plug most times is the reason for delayed ignition in a vehicle.
How to Tell if a Spark Plug is Bad
There are quite a handful full ways of diagnosing a bad spark plug. Some of these include:
1. Reduced gas mileage
A bad or deteriorated spark plug may likely be the cause of reduced mileage of gas. Because when spark plugs are working correctly, they burn the engine fuel efficiency.
This results because as a spark plug ages, the space between the plug electrodes may expand or reduce. And this could result in the spark plugs not firing or firing erratically, causing wastage of fuel and increasing emissions.
2. Lack of acceleration/ slow acceleration
When you press down the acceleration pedal on your vehicle and the vehicle responds slowly or not as quickly as usual, then the spark plugs could be the cause of the delay in response.
3. Hard starting
When a spark plug is worn out, they produce current with little or no ability to ignite the engine. Most times it makes a sputtering noise and may take a time longer than normal for your engine to roll over as you turn the ignition key.
4. Rough idling
A bad spark plug can cause your engine to sound rough or even vibrate while idling. When you start the engine of your vehicle and you hear any rattles, metallic pings, or sputtering rather than a smooth, even sound. An old or bad spark plug won’t allow fuel burn completely, which may result in the engine vibrating or making some unpleasant noises.
5. Engine Misfires
Another big sign that a spark plug is bad is when the engine isn’t firing properly. This misfire may often sound like a sputtering sound or you may feel like there is a sudden loss of power or violent shaking. If the misfire becomes consistent, it may result in poor performance of the vehicle, low fuel economy, higher exhaust emissions, and may even damage the catalytic converter.