Service P+us Car Care Centre
Dec 21, 2015

Proper Spark Plug Maintenance

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Most modern, gasoline-powered engines rely on spark plugs to electrically ignite the internal combustion process; as opposed to diesels that are able to generate spark directly as a result of high cylinder compression, motors running on gasoline require an extra kick to get started. As you can probably tell, vehicles with fouled or malfunctioning spark plugs do not run nearly as well as their optimally tuned counterparts.

 Spark Plug Maintenance

Keep in mind that improper gapping (i.e. the procedure which separates the plug’s electrodes and end to a precise 1/1000 of an inch measurement) can affect a whole host of mechanical issues, with arguably the most important being misfiring pistons. If you do not gap all your engine’s plugs to the exact same mark, do not be surprised if your engine idles rough, starts hard, and hesitates when running. These are all key reasons why adequate plug maintenance is absolutely essential.

Sparks plugs help keep your motor running

The price of replacement spark plugs can vary wildly depending on what type and brand you choose. Copper plugs are the most standard, with titanium and iridium-tipped kinds being used mostly for performance applications. Considering these plugs can run upwards of $5 a piece, it is obviously a good and cost-effective idea to inspect your current ones prior to tossing them.

After removing the plugs with a dedicated socket wrench (you will likely need an extension to reach them), secure each one in a vice and clean away the carbon deposit buildup with a wire brush. You can now clean the electrodes for proper conductivity by moving a piece of 220 emery paper between them. The goal is to meticulously clean the top of the electrode, as this is where the spark originates.

Finish with a can of compressed air or a compressor; the last part involves measuring each plug to the right gap. Gapping tools are very inexpensive, but are vital for ensuring step is performed to perfection! If you notice corrosion, burnt electrodes, or damage to the plug end, promptly replace with them new. When serviced regularly, the average lifespan of most spark plugs is around 30,000 miles. However, a lack of maintenance and/or failure to set the right gap size upon installation can easily reduce this to a fraction of its normal rate. Remember, take care of your car and it will take care of you!

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