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.
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.
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.
There are times that your car doesn’t start smoothly or the worst case scenario, not at all. You might think in such a case that it is something major, like your engine or some loose wires or the battery which are at fault. But you need to dig a little deeper to know that the problem is not what is visible to the eye, it is something which is not. You might be under the impression that it is the engine, but it might be your glow plugs.
What are glow plugs?
It is well known that diesel engines rely on the heat of the compression rather than spark plugs to ignite the fuel in cylinder. But in a case of low temperatures, the cold block present in the engine tends to absorb any compression heat which makes starting a bit difficult. The glow plug provides an answer to this, making you understand that it is an essential part of the modern diesel engine. Glow Plugs are the pen like devices which provides extra heat in each cylinder to ignite the fuel more easily and make the engine start.
What happens when the glow plugs fail?
You will tend to feel that your glow plugs are wearing out because the orange light on the dash will be shining for a longer period before extinguishing. And in such a situation, the car might start to struggle. During cold weather, the symptoms might eventually appear a bit more. This might happen as you would be cranking the engine in vain as you would try to start it. And this would eventually result in draining the battery of its charge. In the end, the car battery will cry enough. And this is how faulty glow plugs affect your vehicle, making it hard to start.
Mostly cars have four-cylinder engines which means there are four glow plugs present. If one glow plug fails, then the engine might still start but it might run roughly initially. This is because it will take some time for the cylinder to get up to the temperature and work properly without well-functioning glow plugs.
We usually think that one kind of spark plug which is used in all forms of engines. But it is not true. Different types of engine require a different type of plug which fits best with their functionality. Just like spark plugs are the best fit for petrol engines, similarly glow plugs are best fit for diesel engines.
Glow plugs are designed specially for heating devices which help the diesel engines start even in low temperatures. In order to make your diesel engines work efficiently and effectively, you must take care of your glow plugs.
What happens if your glow plugs fail?
It is true that almost all machinery which are exposed to heat and movement tend to worn down over time. In the same way, glow plugs are also worn down over time and eventually break down. As they are the main source which warms up the diesel engines in extremely cold temperatures, it somewhere becomes obvious that without any functional glow plugs present, you might have problems in starting your vehicle during winters. If the situation becomes worse, you might be completely unable to do the same.
It surely goes without saying that such a situation may cause both frustration and monetary losses. To avoid getting into such a mess, you must make sure that your glow plugs are in good working condition, especially if you plan to drive in extremely icy temperatures or apparently live there.
Effect of bad glow plugs on diesel engines’ performance?
Glow plugs helps in the sensitive diesel combustion process that a diesel engine needs in order to function. When there is a presence of bad glow plugs, this results in no supply of extra heat required to ensure proper diesel combustion. This further results in a lot of engine malfunctions.
Some of these malfunctions include:
- Engine misfires
- Loss of fuel efficiency
- Black exhaust smoke
- Decreases in acceleration and power
Even though you are not a pro in driving, you must always make sure that your glow plugs are in a good working condition before embarking on a long trip. Engine issues aren’t something that you would want to accompany you during a long-planned and fun-filled trip.
How to avoid this?
The best part of avoiding this situation is to get your car checked on a timely basis. And if you sense that your car is responding to you in an unusual behavior, you must not ignore them. Instead you must get to mechanic as soon as possible. Though we are not pros in getting such things done, but someone rightly said that “ better late than never.”
There are times when you tend to experience certain signs that your car is behaving weirdly. Upon getting it checked with your mechanic, you might not get hold of the actual problem at times. You might think that the problem is resolved, but there would be some other problem hidden.
Spark plugs are the tiny devices which are not known by maximum number of vehicle owners. When some problem occurs in your vehicle, you always get your hands on the engine ignoring the fact that there are other small parts which might be at fault too. Engine misfiring occurs when the car’s engine skips over one of the processes of its combustion cycle. There are 4 things which require working to make the cylinder fire properly, i.e. air/ fuel mixture, good compression, proper timing and the right spark. Misfiring generally causes the engine to run rough or jerk.
Causes of Misfiring
It is a fact that if any one of the four things aren’t in a proper working condition, then there is a risk of misfiring. There are various reasons which causes engine misfire which then keep the cylinder from combusting properly. Some of the reasons are listed below:
1. Fouled or Faulty Spark Plugs: It is the spark plugs which provide the spark for the ignition if air/fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. But it doesn’t mean that they cannot go bad. Spark plugs going bad is the major reason which causes engine misfiring. They can go bad due to oil leaking into the combustion chamber or from carbon buildup around the tip of the spark plug. They often wear out quickly due to improper spark plug gap and overheating.
2. Cracked Distributor Cap: It is the distributor which controls the timing of the spark. The spark to each spark plug is sent at just the right time with the presence of a healthy distributor. If there is a crack or damage in the distributor cap, this will cause a loss in the signal to one or more spark plugs, resulting in a misfire.
3. Lack of Compression: A lack in the compression inside the cylinder doesn’t allow the spark from the plug to ignite the air/fuel mixture. This is mostly caused by leaky exhaust valves or blown head gasket.
To avoid the condition of engine misfire, you must follow the scheduled maintenance in your manual. You must also ensure that your vehicle’s engine is well tuned. A precaution beforehand is better than a cure later.
Everyone is aware about the parts which are present in their vehicle, but very few are aware of all the parts that are there. Talking about this, not many people are aware that there is a device called the “spark plug” which is present in their engine. This small device is responsible of emitting ignition required for combustion which is required to start your vehicle.
You must always take care of these little heroes as it is because of them that you tend to enjoy your long journeys without any hassles. This might surprise you but spark plugs are directly linked to the performance of your engine. In order to make your vehicle function smoothly, you must change your spark plugs on-time. And what if you didn’t?
Given below are some situations that you might face if you do not change your worn out spark plugs:
1. Decreased Acceleration: The first and the earliest sign that you might experience is slower acceleration in your vehicle. This happens because the spark plug can misfire at the wrong time during the change of gears or acceleration.
2. Engine Misfiring: There are times when your spark plug might not be able to give out the spark at the right time during the acceleration. In such a case, the internal components of your engine are on the verge of being damages and also this will reduce the fuel economy.
3. Rough Idling: Worn out spark plugs may make you experience with uneven engine rev, which will ruin your whole drive experience and also consumes more fuel.
To make sure you do not deal with any of these above problems, you must get your spark plugs checked. And if you find that the spark plugs are worn out, you must rush to mechanic and get them changed. Installing new spark plugs will eventually give a new life to your engine as well as your vehicle.
There are times when you experience some unusual behavior with the performance of your vehicle, you must not ignore these signs. If you experience that your vehicle has a little spunk lately, this might indicate that your spark plugs need to be changed. In such a condition, a quick inspection won’t be able to tell you that it’s time to replace your spark plugs, but can tell you about the condition of your engine. If you see deposits of different colors, then this can be an indication of big problems. Your spark plugs hold numerous clues about the condition of your engine. Here are a few things you must look for:
If you see a yellow glaze on the spark plug’s electrode and tip, then this can inhibit conductivity, keeping the spark from the ability to jump the gap. In such a case, clean your spark plug by spraying it with cleaner, then let it soak for 10 minutes and wipe it with a clean cloth/ nylon brush.
If you see heavy, oily black deposits, then this indicated that oil is being sucked down into the combustion chamber. This can occur due to worn out valve guides, guide seals or piston rings or cracked piston. In this case, you must check for oil consumption problems including leaky valve cover gaskets, crankshaft end seals and oil pan gaskets.
If you see a wet spark plug, this means that it hasn’t been firing due to engine flooding or a bad ignition cable. Also, dirt or moisture outside of the spark plug or an internal crack in the spark plug’s ceramic insulator can too be the culprit.
Witnessing the electrodes of your spark plugs smashed flat or broken indicates that they are the wrong plugs for your engine. In such a case, the spark won’t be able to ignite your fuel correctly and can also cause poor gas mileage.
A chipped or split spark plug insulator indicates pre-detonation. This is also known as “spark knock”. When you see such a situation, check for engine overheating or ignition timing problems as this can be caused by a clogged combustion chamber.
Reading your spark plugs helps you with providing multiple clues about the condition of your engine, saving you tons of money!
The perfect guide for your spark plug
Spark plugs play a very important role in the functioning of your engine. These tiny devices are known as the heart of the engine, as it is because of them that your engine and your car is able to function smoothly and properly. They are tiniest bolt of lighting that produce a smooth burn of the compressed air-fuel mixture. Small but mighty, they have the ability to withstand extreme heat and pressure within the cylinders. They are built to burn off the deposits from fuel additives or other contaminants.
What do they mean to you?
Well, it is an undeniable fact that without the spark plug, your car won’t even start or go anywhere. As the spark plug health is directly linked to the engine performance, it stands the chances of wearing out and leading to problems. Without healthy spark plugs, your ride will not be able to sustain maximum power and your vehicle might see a drop in the fuel economy. And honestly, nobody would want to experience that. Here is a perfect guide on how to take of your spark plugs.
The perfect spark plug guide
Keeping in mind the importance of spark plugs, you need to take utmost care of your spark plugs. You must make sure that you are installing the right spark plug in your vehicle. Installing a wrong spark plug would affect the engine of your vehicle as well as its performance. You need to be double sure before you install a new spark plug in your vehicle’s engine.
When your spark plug wears out, it gives out certain signals that you have to see. Some of these signals are engine misfiring, rough idling of your engine, trouble starting your car in the morning, high fuel consumption, lack of acceleration, etc. The moment you face any of these trouble with your vehicle, you must rush your car to the nearest mechanic as they indicate that your spark plug has worn out.
While worn out spark plugs give you trouble, installing new spark plugs would give your engines a whole new life. You experience a better performance when you install new spark plugs in your vehicle.
Spark plugs is like the basic necessity for your engine. Your engine needs them the most to make your vehicle function properly. You must never take them casually, as it because of them that your vehicle is taking you to journeys without any barriers.
There are a lot of vehicle owners who continually go the extra mile when it comes to keeping a check on their car. Not only do they care about the investments they’ve made, but they also want to get the worth of their money whenever they take their vehicle for a maintenance drive. It is true that a decent paint job or a change of new wheel rims aren’t too shabby, have you ever thought what is inside of your four-wheeled baby which counts just as much? This includes your car’s engine, down to the spark plugs. However, not many vehicle owners tend to know what spark plug is and how does it work. They are even unaware of the difference between a platinum spark plug and an iridium spark plug.
To introduce, spark plug is the device which delivers the electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber, to ignite the compressed air/fuel mixture. These tiny devices are also known as the heart of the engine.
What is Platinum Spark Plugs?
People tend to assume with the name that platinum spark plugs are the high-end variants of the spark plug. Platinum spark plugs tend to be known for its key advantage, i.e. longevity. Platinum spark plugs hold its sharp edge much longer than that of a conventional spark plug.They handle high heat which enables the spark plug to less wear and tear.
How Platinum Spark Plugs Give You Mileage?
It is true that a Platinum Spark Plug tends to last more as compared to a copper spark plug. This is because of the platinum center electrode present in the spark plug. It is known that the quality of the spark plug ensures longer mileage at a pretty lesser cost.
A wise car owner is aware that a vehicle’s maintenance is very crucial, and this doesn’t just count the exteriors but also the interiors. Consistent monitoring of your vehicle’s engine and the functionality of other parts ensures a smooth and safe drive for years.