Car engines rely on spark plugs every day in order to function normally. Spark plugs play an important role in connecting wires to the ignition system. This creates sufficient electricity through the alternator, which is also subsequently sent to the plugs to form more arcs of electricity. In consequence, the fuel in the engine’s cylinders becomes ignited and eventually combustion takes place which pushes the pistons down before turning on the engine. However, over time these spark plugs usually wear out and fail to perform at optimum. Some common signs that indicate that a vehicle’s plugs need a change include engine rough idling, engine stalling, and engine rough running or skipping.
When Should Spark Plugs Be Replaced?
There are two different kinds of spark plugs—conventional and long-life. Conventional spark plugs should be changed every time your vehicle covers around 30,000 and 50,000 miles. Long-life (platinum-tipped or iridium) spark plugs should be replaced every 60,000-150,000 miles depending on the vehicle. Make sure to check your owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the recommended replacement intervals of your specific vehicle’s spark plugs. Sometimes the spark plugs may also need a change earlier if they experience issues that alter their performance to some extent.
How Do I Know if My Spark Plugs Need Changing?
All spark plugs should be changed in accordance with the intervals provided in the owner’s manual, depending on the specific plug a vehicle uses. For high-performance or older vehicles, you may be replacing your plugs after you cover around 20,000 and 30,000 miles. Sometimes the plugs can last 40,000 miles or more if you drive at moderate speeds and if you stick to a good car maintenance routine. For newer cars, the plugs may last anywhere from 60,000-120,000 miles nevertheless.
Can a Person Check the Condition of Spark Plugs?
Sure, spark plugs should be checked every time a person realizes some engine misfiring or some engine running issues. The condition of a spark plug also greatly determines the overall health status of the plugs. For example, a plug covered with traces of black oil means there is oil present in the combustion chamber. This normally occurs when a vehicle loads up on oil between oil changes or when it frequently covers short distances, which makes it difficult for the engine to fully warm up.
If only a single plug contains the black oily deposits, it means the issue is with that particular cylinder but the rest are okay. Check signs of a fouled up spark plug every time your car’s engine sputters, hesitates, and starts cold or runs rough on idle mode. These symptoms may sometimes disappear after revving or after pushing the vehicle on the highway.
Damaged spark plugs should be replaced every time, and if the problem persists, it means the engine has an issue that must first be solved. A melting or overheating plug means the cylinder is very hot due to an issue with the cooling system. Otherwise, in a properly functioning engine, an old plug will show no melting symptoms and will have low levels of deposits that are either tan or gray in color.
How Often Should Spark Plugs Be Changed?
Even if your car contains extended-life spark plugs, you should have them checked every 30,000 miles. Other items that should also be checked during an inspection include the fuel filter, air filter, cabin air filter, tires, brakes, and both the starting as well as the charging system. Regular car inspection ensures a vehicle stays in good shape every time, which could also enhance its value, safety, and reliability to a whole new level.
Should a Person Change all Spark Plugs at the Same Time?
All spark plugs should be changed as a set every time. It’s important to carefully examine new spark plugs before installation, as the wrong type of spark plug could cause issues. Check for cracks in the insulator during an inspection. Spark plugs that contain cracks mean they were occasionally dropped on a hard surface, thus cracking the insulator as a consequence. If a part of the ignition coil stops working and the plugs haven’t been replaced in a while, it’s vital to change them all for safety reasons.
If the plugs are fairly new, changing the particular plug with issues in the cylinder would do the trick. Also as a rule of thumb, make sure to change all plug wires together with spark plugs at the same time. Old plug wires usually bear cracks and become brittle from long use. This shouldn’t stress anyone, as many modern vehicles don’t have these wires nowadays.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace Spark Plugs?
Conventional plugs cost anywhere between $6-$10 a single plug, while long-life plugs cost anywhere between $15-$40 per spark plug. Labor work may cost you around $60 and $110, depending on your specific vehicle’s engine design. It’s usually difficult to replace spark plugs in some vehicles due to difficulty access, particularly those with a V6 engine. To replace spark plugs in such vehicles, a person would pay anywhere from $260-$320 in labor charges.
Is It Cool to Just Change Some of the Spark Plugs?
Car experts recommend motorists to use the same type of plugs that are specifically tailored for their vehicle every time. It’s important to ensure every faulty plug is replaced before they substantially fail. Long episodes of engine misfiring or rough running could severely damage the catalytic converter and other parts of the vehicle. So, make sure to have your plugs checked every 30,000 miles and changed when they reach the mileage specified by the vehicle’s manufacturer for best results.
Spark plugs are an important part of any vehicle. They ensure your car’s engine starts well and it also runs smoothly, depending on their condition. However, these same spark plugs usually wear out over time and thus should be replaced because they can’t do their job like before. Hopefully, this handy guide will teach motorists everything about spark plugs, from when to replace spark plugs, to how often to replace spark plugs, and how long does it take to change spark plugs to mention a few. Following this guide will also ensure every vehicle operates at peak performance and also gets the best possible gas mileage.