Spark Plugs And Their Electrodes

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As we all know, spark plugs are the key component that delivers electric current to ignite the fuel by an electric spark inside a combustion engine. Now this key component has two key components inside it, which makes this functionality of delivering an electric spark possible in the first place. And these are called electrodes.
Generally, a spark plug has two electrodes, namely, the central electrode and the side electrode (also known as the ground electrode). In older times, the electrodes of the spark plugs were not temperature resistant to any extent because of the way they used to be designed. This created unforeseen issues like the cold spark plugs would stop working outside their advised temperature range and similar for the hot spark plugs. This is what forced the manufacturers to come up with a complete redesign of the spark plug to make them more temperature resistant, which meant, a new way to integrate the electrodes present in the spark plugs.
Hence it became important to use the most efficient metals for making these electrodes. For instance, iridium and platinum spark plugs last much longer than the traditional copper ones. The usage of such noble metals like platinum, tungsten etc. also had another benefits. These metals allow for a much small central wire, while still maintaining the efficiency. This is the reason why new and modern spark plugs have been able to do the same task in a much smaller size and the property that makes these metals more efficient if their relatively higher melting points.

NGK Iridium Spark Plug makes ignition perfect

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Iridium spark plugs are globally the best performance category of spark plugs having superior technology. These spark plugs use very precious Iridium metal at the tip of centre electrode of diameter 0.6mm. and has a thermo-edge design for central electrode. These features give anti carbon fouling performance, smoothest running, and excellent acceleration with increased mileage and are used and appreciated by most racing bikes and cars all over the world.
Raghav, who is an online media reporter, rides his bike to work every day. The traffic jam in his city has become a daily nuisance. Not to mention, the severity of warm and rainy weather makes it all the more difficult. Let’s take you through his story to illustrate how NGK Iridium Plugs have made his life comfortable.
Natural overheating of vehicle
Often his bike gets overheated due to weather and erratic traffic. If it’s like this, it certainly interferes with his work. “When it was new, it worked smoothly. I rode everywhere and it worked alright, now the overheat is really fast, then the fuel feels wasted” he complained when he went to a local motorcycle repair workshop in his city.
According to Rahman, who is the head of the motorcycle repair shop, this is because the engine needs stable ignition to maintain engine performance. “To maintain engine performance, choose your spark plugs carefully. Don’t look at the price, because even though the shape of the spark plug is small, its function and utility are very crucial for the smooth running of the engine ” he explained.
Spark Plug Functioning
Spark plugs are installed to burn fuel that has been compressed by the piston. The temperature around the spark plug in the combustion chamber goes higher even more than 2500 0C . After experiencing high temperatures, then the temperature will drop dramatically when fuel and air enter the cylinder. Changes in temperature over and over again require that spark plugs contain materials that are strong, heat resistant and of superior quality.
On that occasion, Rahman suggested Raghav to use NGK iridium spark plugs. They have a hard metal element and are anti-corrosion and heat resistance. In addition to these advantages, besides having a high-quality material, NGK Iridium spark plugs also have a strong electrode which improves its durability.
NGK Iridium Spark Plug has a more focused combustion at one point, so it can service hot engines that require a capable spark.
Due to having more focused combustion, combustion becomes more perfect. This triggers the gas response and acceleration becomes more enhanced, the motor also becomes more economical and of course also increases the exhaust gas to be more friendly.

“My motorbike has used NGK Iridium Spark Plug from last year, the result is that I feel the engine is more powerful, more efficient, acceleration is more stable, and durable. I also often recommend other drivers to use the NGK Iridium Spark Plugs, because it has proven to stand the test of time ” concluded Rahman.

A guide to choosing right: Platinum and Iridium Spark Plugs

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The varied categories and types of spark plugs available in the market may confuse the layman vehicle owner, especially when it comes to changing the spark plug. Although copper spark plugs are the most commonly used spark plug these days, one major disadvantage is that they have a shorter life span and need to be replaced more frequently as compared to the other spark plugs
In this blog, we will explain the two premium types: Platinum and Iridium spark plugs.
Platinum: At a comparatively lower price, platinum has twice the longevity when compared to copper spark plugs. This is so because of its fine tip central electrode which is made up of platinum, that provides slower wear and tear and higher efficiency.
Iridium: These spark plugs have significant advantages over the ones made from other materials. They provide higher performance, majorly because they ensure complete combustion.
Since Iridium has an outstanding longevity, once installed, you won’t have to change the spark plug very frequently. These spark plugs are quite consistent and wear-resistant. So, in general, iridium spark plugs allow you to have a lifespan and performance compared to copper and platinum plugs.
As a practice, it’s not recommended to adjust the gap of iridium spark plugs, as this metal can be damaged during the process.
We hope you would have gotten a better idea on spark plugs after reading this blog and it will enable you to make the right choice.

Common Myths About Spark Plugs

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There since not everyone is well versed in the domain of spark plugs, there are quite a few myths about them floating around and this blog is aimed to bust a few of them.

If it fits, it will work
This is one of the most common myths about spark plugs. Just because the dimensions of the spark plug happen to be a right fit, it simply does not imply that the spark plug will work as intended. There are numerous factors that come into play about the functionality of the spark plug such as electrodes, temperature range and the materials used to name a few.

More expensive means better
This myth exists for all consumer products, especially when it comes to spark plugs. While it might be true that good quality spark plugs do have premium price tags, but the cost of the spark plugs solely is not a determining factor in its reliability.

The color decides
The myth about the color of the spark plugs is partly true. While it is a norm in the industry to color code the spark plugs in the industry as per their usage and electrodes, this may not always be the case. And unless you are a certified professional, do not stick to the color grading to change or fix your spark plugs.

All spark plugs are the same
It is often the case where we tend to take proper care for our vehicles from a macro perspective but fail to do so on a micro-level. This can lead to lots of problems down the road while ignoring the small but crucial things and spark plugs are one of them. Spark plugs, not only do the job of starting the engine of the vehicle, but they also can affect lots of other factors such as emissions, engine longevity, fuel efficiency etc.

These tiny devices can have a huge impact to start busting the myths and do it by the book.

What should diesel drivers know about plugs?

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Spark plugs are not the first thing that comes into mind and that is for a specific reason. The spark plugs are not used in diesel vehicles, at least not under the same name. Diesel engines, unlike gasoline engines, do not use spark plugs to induce combustion. Rather, when operating in adverse conditions, they use a different type of plug similar to spark plugs, called glow plugs. Diesel engines make the use of default air temperature to combust the fuel spontaneously and start a burn. This becomes somewhat harder to achieve in colder temperatures since the air temperature is substantially lower than the ignition temperature of the diesel and because of this reason, it becomes more cumbersome to start diesel vehicles. And this is where glow plugs come into play. Pre-chambered engines have these inside the pre-chamber and direct-injected engines, have these glow plugs in the combustion chambers. As the name suggests, glow plug is a metal-based plug with a heating element. This heating element can achieve high temperatures with the help of electric current and use its electrical resistance to heat up the air surrounding it. This heating element can get so hot that it can essentially turn red hot and start radiating light, thus giving it the name “glow plug”. As the temperature of the air inside these chamber start to rise up along with the glow plug, it naturally starts getting close to the ignition or combustion temperature of the fuel, which is diesel in this case. In most of the vehicles, a glow plug indicator shows when to start you vehicle.

HOW TO TEST YOUR GLOW PLUG

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Glow plugs are specialized heating devices used to aid in the starting of diesel engines. They are like spark plugs in design; however, they differ in their primary function. Instead of producing a timed spark to ignite the fuel mixture, like spark plugs do, glow plugs simply serve to produce additional heat that aids the diesel engine combustion process during cold starts.
If your engine is having trouble starting or you see smoke coming from your exhaust, then one or more of your glow plugs might be failing. Take a few simple steps and test the glow plug yourself, so you can avoid a trip to the mechanic.

1. Determining the resistance value of the multimeter: Before testing the terminals, you must determine the resistance value of your digital multimeter. To do this, turn the multimeter on, and set it to read in Ohms. Now, touch the two leads of the multimeter together and examine the resistance reading that is displayed. If the multimeter reads zero, try changing the setting of the multimeter to a higher sensitivity until a reading is obtained. This will be an important value in calculating the resistance of your glow plugs later on.
2. Locating glow plugs in your engine: These are installed in the cylinder heads and will have a heavy gauge wire, similar to a regular spark plug wire, attached to them.
3. Disconnecting the glow plug wires: Once all the glow plugs are located, disconnect any wires or caps attached to them.
4. Touch the negative and positive terminal: Take your multimeter and touch the negative leads to the negative terminal on your vehicle’s battery. If possible, secure the lead to the terminal by tucking it inside or underneath the clamping mechanism of the post. Repeat the same for positive terminal.
5. Record the glow plug’s resistance: With both leads touching the terminals, record the resistance reading that is indicated on the multimeter. Again, the reading that you get should be measured in Ohms (Ω). If no reading is obtained when you touch the glow plug, make sure that the negative lead is still in contact with the negative battery terminal.
6. Calculate the resistance value: The true resistance value of the glow plug can be determined by taking the resistance value of your multimeter (recorded in Step 2) and subtracting it from your glow plug resistance value (recorded in Step 6). Compare your calculated true resistance value of your glow plug with the factory specification.
If the glow plug resistance exceeds the specification or falls out of the acceptable range, then the glow plug must be replaced.
Tip: For most glow plugs, the acceptable range for the true resistance value is between 0.1 and 6 Ohms.
Repeat for other glow plugs. Repeat the procedure for the remaining glow plugs, until they have all been tested.
If any of the glow plugs fail the test, it is recommended that the entire set be replaced.
For most vehicles testing the resistance of a glow plug is a pretty simple procedure, granted the glow plugs are in an accessible location. However, if they are not, or this task is not something that you feel comfortable taking up on your own, this is a service that any professional technician, should be able to perform quickly and easily. If necessary, they can also replace your glow plugs so that you can start your car like normal.

Prevent your spark plugs from seizing with these steps

Spark plugs are the parts which need to be replaced timely during the routine servicing. Most of the times, this can be done without any problems but there are times when your spark plug will seize. If a spark plug seizes, it becomes a bit tricky to get it out as then it becomes a fragile component. The worst case scenario in this becomes when your spark plug snaps if it is forced too much. In this case, you will have to face with a big repair bill. Luckily, we have discovered some ways for you to reduce the risk of seized spark plugs.

Why Does A Spark Plug Seize?
Spark plugs are the devices fitted mostly in all petrol-powered cars. They ensure that the air-fuel mixture which is pushed into the engine’s cylinder is ignited. As these devices are exposed to extreme heat inside the engine, there are chances that they can deteriorate rapidly. The chances of this become high when the engine is not running as smoothly as it should.
Carbon build up is one of the major reasons for the seizing of your spark plugs. This situation occurs when the engine does not run at an optimal level. The carbon builds up around the tip of the spark plug inside the cylinder which prevents you from removing it.
Apart from this, corrosion is another reason for the seizing of spark plugs. This is usually caused by engine fluids or water from outside. These fluids will slowly affect the areas in and around the spark plug threads and start to corrode.

Prevention Tips
1. To avoid your spark plugs from seizing, the top most tip is to ensure that you take utmost care when replacing them. As they are a vital part of the engine, they must be replaced by a professional.
2. In many cases, the spark plugs can also be treated with the anti-seize lubrication. They help in reducing the risk of plug seizing.
3. You must also make sure that your spark plugs and threads are dry from any fluids before they are put in the engine.
4. You must make sure to replace oil and filters regularly and use good quality petrol.

Quick guides to spark plugs- When to replace them

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Many vehicle owners assume their vehicle is giving them a tough time because of a faulty battery or due to some issue in the ignition system. Well a small spark plug can be the reason for it. Spark plug is a small device that ignites the air/ fuel mixture. Electrical energy is transmitted through the spark plugs. A small spark plugs does a big job for your vehicle.
To keep your vehicle running smooth and your rides more enjoyable you need to look out for certain symptoms that might be of a bad spark plug.

You need a replacement when:

1. The owner’s manual recommends it
With every vehicle come the owner’s manual that surely is a major recommendation from the manufacturers. Usually it is advised to change the spark plugs after it has covered 30,000 miles. The long miles and various other reasons might somehow affect the wear and tear of the spark plugs. It is advised to do a maintenance check and replace the spark plugs for a smooth-running vehicle.

2. Trouble starting the vehicle
Your spark plug is a major unit of your vehicle that creates a spark and gets the engine started. Older and worn out spark plugs might not create the spark required to start the engine. Late start of vehicles might lead to many delays. The faulty spark plugs need to be replaced with new ones.

3. The engine idles roughly
The engines make that usual roar when started. The tones of this sounds may vary, but at times your vehicle might give out strange noises, hear closely, this might be due to spark plug that is harming the engine and its ignition.

4. The vehicle doesn’t accelerate quickly
You like having a vehicle that starts up quick runs quick and saves time, but a faulty spark plug might just add up to your troubles and make the process slow. The worn-out spark plug, reduces the performance of the engine and of the vehicle as a whole, so a replacement of spark plugs might just work wonders for your vehicle.

Failing Glow Plugs? Here are the symptoms.

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Glow plugs are the engine management component which is found on vehicles which are equipped with diesel engines. Their main purpose is to help warm up the engine’s cylinders so that the diesel combustion can be occurred more easily. These plugs play an important part especially in warming the vehicle’s cylinders during cold starts, where starting the engine is the most difficult task.
During the functioning, glow plugs use an electrode which warms up and glow orange when the current is applied. When these plugs deal with an issue, they usually cause problems with the drivability of the vehicle. There are certain set of symptoms which alert the driver that their glow plugs have gone bad or are failing. These symptoms are listed below:

1. Engine misfires or decrease in power and acceleration
Misfiring of the engine is one of the very first symptom which a driver is tend to experience. If the glow plugs malfunction, then they will not provide any additional heat which aids in the diesel combustion. This may result in the engine misfires. These misfires may then affect the vehicle with a loss in power, acceleration and even fuel efficiency.

2. Hard starting
Another symptom which the driver might face is the hard starting. Unlike the petrol engines which use a spark to ignite the fuel mixture, diesel engines solely rely on the cylinder pressures to ignite the diesel fuel mixture. If the glow plugs present in your engine fail, then the engine will have to overcome additional pressure in order to ignite the mixture. This will result in hard starting.

3. Black smoke from the exhaust
Another symptom which tends to be coming in front of the driver is the black smoke from the exhaust. Faulty glow plugs might disturb the sensitive diesel combustion process, which causes the engine to produce a black smoke from the tailpipe. This black smoke can also be caused by a wide variety of other issues. In order to avoid this, the engine must be properly diagnosed during routine check-ups.

Why do Glow Plugs break?

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Every machine on this earth has a different working criteria. Be it of the similar category or something extremely different, every machine holds a different functionality altogether. To explain here, petrol engines and diesel engines have a different working. In fact they use different kind of plugs as well. While we install a spark plug in petrol engine, a diesel engine requires a glow plug for its functioning.
Glow plugs are the devices which helps in the ignition process inside the combustion chamber even at low temperatures. There are times that you tend to face some problem with the functioning of your vehicle, and it comes out that your glow plug is at fault. But, why do your glow plugs break? Given below are some reasons:

1.Old age: Older glow plugs tend to swell up and are not able to be removed from the cylinder head. They will first need to be unthread until the swollen portion amidst it does not allow the plug to come out with drill and extracting. There are certain engines which do not have on-car kits for extracting the plugs. This then requires removal of the cylinder head.
2. Electrical failure: You must always keep this in mind that a diesel engine uses high compression detonations to run. In order to keep up to this, the glow plug requires activation of its circuit sticks and this keeps the glow plug powered up. Functioning in such high temperatures, your glow plug will tend to face certain electrical failure and then will not be able to be removed.
3. Mechanical failure: During the functioning, when an injector drips fuel, it tends to contact the glow plug and this can cause it to mushroom. The worst case scenario is when the fuel drips on the hot glow plugs. In such a case, the glow plugs tend to break and the pieces bounce around the chamber. These bouncing pieces can make their way down in to the cylinder and cause damage to the pistons or the valves.