When was the last time you changed, cleaned or checked the spark plugs in your vehicle?
When was the last time you THOUGHT about the spark plugs in your vehicle?
Do you know what a spark plug is?
Simply put, spark plugs are the pieces that supply the spark (shocking, I know) that then ignite the combination of fuel and air in the cylinder’s combustion chamber. Still seem confusing? If you don’t know (and/or just plain aren’t interested in) how an engine works, it can sound complicated.
So leave checking and changing them to your mechanic. But know that, without these small but mighty components, you’re not going far.
Here are some simple items you can keep an eye out for so you know when it’s time to schedule a visit with your mechanic.
- Are you having problems starting your car? If you have plenty of gas and your battery is fine, it could be that you have one or more spark plugs that are bad. Or going bad.
- When your vehicle is running, does it misfire? A misfiring engine will likely cause your CHECK ENGINE light to illuminate. This is not something to ignore. Bad spark plugs can cause additional damage to your vehicle.
- Does it seem like your vehicle is reluctant to accelerate? If your vehicle has always been the first one out of the gate and now seems somewhat sloth-like at times, it’s time to check your spark plugs.
- Is your ride less smooth than it used to be? If your vehicle suddenly seems to surge and then slow or stop and start, it may be time to get your spark plugs checked.
- Does your vehicle sound different? If so, it may be idling rough. This is not a time to turn up the radio and keep it moving. It IS time to call on your mechanic.
- Have you noticed a drop in fuel economy? If you’re suddenly spending more time and money at the pump, failing spark plugs could be the cause.
Spark plugs don’t always have to be changed. Sometimes a good cleaning will take care of the problem. Sometimes the spark plugs are just fine and there are bad cables causing the problem.
Like most upkeep items, spark plug maintenance is relatively inexpensive. Even if you have to change all of them at the same time, the amount it will cost is less than ignoring the problem until you’re stranded somewhere, needing a tow and facing extensive repairs.
A trusted mechanic should be able to easily diagnose the issue and get you back on the road.