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Why Do You Need to Change Your Spark Plugs

Lots of things have changed in recent decades when you talk about the "tune-up." Back when the phrase was coined, you had to get under the hood with screwdrivers and do things like adjust ignition points, replace condensors, set engine timing and change your spark plugs. Wait, we can still change the spark plugs! Most cars still have a spark plug or 8 in there someplace. It's an easy maintenance procedure that can make your car run more smoothly and increase your gas mileage.

What is a spark plug? Basically it's a high voltage bridge for electricity. When the electricity crosses the "bridge" (which is actually a gap between two contact points) inside your engine, the spark it makes ignites the gas vapors, which makes the engine go putt putt. How long they can do this without being replaced depends on lots of things. The condition of your engine, the purity of the fuel you're using, even your driving habits can affect the life of the plugs. But hey, they're cheap, so replacing them every so often can't be a waste of money. And while you're in there you can inspect your plug wires.

In most cars, changing the spark plugs is simple and fast. Be sure to follow these direction in order, however, because a mix-up can be very confusing to fix. You'll see what I'm talking about in a minute.

The spark plug wires are the black rubbery cords that connect your engine block and distributor cap. The wires are different lengths and twist around each other, so it’s important to mark them so you know which one is which if you remove them. They have to go back the same way.

You should check and make sure the rubber insulation around the spark plug wires is not damaged. If it is, a wire could be sparking in the engine compartment, causing its connected spark plug to misfire. Inspect the length of each wire, bending them to make sure no cracks appear. Replace any wires with insulation damage. Make sure you check the part number on the wire and use the same one.
After you follow along each wire to make sure the rubber insulation is intact, you need to inspect the connections to the plugs. Check each wire’s connection at the spark-plug end individually by pulling it off the plug, checking it for any tears or cracks in the insulation and then replacing it tightly to make sure the connection is secure. You should also look for any burning or darkening at the end which would indicate arcing.

  • By
  • 2015/2/6 9:58:46
  • Industry News