Are Spark Plugs Durable?
It is vital to maintain the engine's life expectancy by maintaining your vehicle regularly. You might also need to replace the spark plugs as part of a standard tune-up. Is it possible to tell the difference between when spark plugs should be changed and how long they last?
The standard copper sparkplugs should be replaced at 20,000 miles. However, platinum and iridium plugs can last up to 60,000 miles. There are also high-end, extended-life, double platinum and iridium plugs with a 100,000-120,000 mile rating.
Understanding the types of spark plugs that you have will give you a better understanding of when they should be changed. You should also be looking for warning signs that spark plugs need to be replaced.
- Are Spark Plugs Durable?
- What is a Spark Plug?
- There are signs that spark plugs need to be replaced
Are Spark Plugs Durable?
1. Copper Standard
These spark plugs made from copper are the most affordable on the market. They contain a center electrode that’s copper coated with nickel alloy. It’s the type with the largest diameter, requiring more voltage to create a spark.
Additionally, the nickel alloy material isn’t durable because it’s soft. Therefore, it is important to change the copper sparkplugs every 10,000 miles.
However, you should always check the owner’s manual or contact your authorized dealer for the spark plug service schedule for your particular engine type. For more details, see the end of this article.
RELATED : 4 Types Of Spark Plugs (Copper Vs Iridium Vs Platinum vs Double Platinum).
Single platinum plugs have a similar design to the copper plug, but the center electrode is made with a platinum disc that’s welded to the tip, so there’s no nickel alloy. This spark plug will produce more heat and allow for less carbon buildup. Although platinum spark plugs will work well with coil-on–plug ignitions, it is more costly.
Because iridium, which is a hard material, makes spark plugs more long-lasting. There’s less voltage needed to create a spark, which is why they are more expensive. Standard platinum and iridium sparkplugs can last up to 60,000 miles.
3. Extended life/Double platinum
You want maximum performance and high-end iridium spark plugs. The double platinum plug features a premium coating of the ground electrodes and the center electrodes. This creates a spark that is more efficient.
These options offer greater reliability than any other on the market. They could be used for up to 100,000 miles, depending on which manufacturer is chosen, so it's worth the investment.
Silver spark plugs aren’t quite as common as the other options, but they are used. They might be found in older European cars, motorcycles and racing engines. Silver-coated electrodes make these spark plugs.
This type is rated highly in terms of thermal conductivity, but they don’t last long. You might have to replace them every 20,000 mile.
It’s not advisable to put silver plugs in any vehicle that they aren’t intended for. These plugs are meant to only be used on very particular vehicles. Generally, they're not recommended for older cars. You might still be able upgrade to silver plugs, if your vehicle is older. Check with your local auto technician if you are unsure what’s compatible with your vehicle.
What is a Spark Plug?
An essential part of gas-powered engines' combustion process is the ignition spark plugs. This small component ignites the fuel/air mixture inside the combustion chamber. Without spark plugs, the car engine wouldn’t start and it would have trouble running.
There is typically one spark plug in each cylinder. You can see the tip as a bulb. It plugs into a wire head and generates high voltage which then sends energy to your engine. This charge can range from 40,000 to 100,000 volts, which is why there’s an insulator for added protection.
On the outer tab, there’s an electrode. This is the area where sparks occur, and it ignites the mixture.
Diesel engines don’t use spark plugs. These engines instead rely on glow plugs which serve a different purpose.
There are signs that spark plugs need to be replaced
1. Strange Engine Noises The Misfires and the Goods
You will hear many different noises when spark plugs become corroded. You can hear pinging or knocking noises from the interruption of combustion.
The engine can misfire if the spark plug is not lit at the right time, or it's too weak. This will cause the engine to make more frequent and louder sounds. It’s best to change the spark plugs at the first sign of trouble to avoid any future issues. It is worth checking the plug first before replacing it. A bad gap could lead to many other problems, and it is easy to correct.
RELATED: 6 Symptoms of Bad Spark Plugs (& Replacement Cost)
2. It's a difficult start
Start the engine by using spark plugs It can be difficult to start the engine if they become worn out or damaged.
It is possible for the problem to get more severe over time. The damaged spark plugs could prevent the engine from starting if they are not removed. This can leave you stuck.
3. Performance reduction
Spark plugs aren’t just used to get the engine started but also to keep it running. Performance issues can be noticed if spark plugs fail to fire correctly or are not firing fully.
It is possible to notice more problems when trying to accelerate. The drive might seem slower or less responsive if it is not. A misfiring engine could also cause a jerky driving experience.
4. Decreasing Fuel Economy
Poor fuel economy is also a sign that the engine's performance has declined. This problem occurs because the engine isn’t running as efficiently as possible.
You will also pay more for your commute because of all the wasted fuel. As gas prices continue rising, you don’t want to add any more to your expenses.
5. Verify Engine Light
Whenever the car engine isn’t running correctly, the Check Engine Light can come on. This is a system that detects any issues with motor's regular operation. The warning can be triggered by worn or failing spark plugs. This will alert you before the problem gets worse.
If the engine is misfiring, the Check Engine Light will come on. The engine light will flash if there is something more serious. You shouldn’t keep driving when this occurs or you could allow catastrophic damage. If your spark plugs have gone bad, you might see errors codes such as P0300 or P0302, and P0302 or P0303.
Even if no other symptoms are noticed, it’s best to change the spark plugs at regular intervals. You can prevent all the problems previously mentioned by following manufacturer recommendations.
If you aren’t sure how often this is, look at the recommendations given with the spark plugs. You must consider the vehicle that you drive. If you get lost, your auto technician can help you find the right interval.
This maintenance suggestion should be written in a notebook with all the appointments. Keep a notepad that will show you when to change your oil and what intervals it needs to be changed. Every maintenance step you take ensures a better running engine down the road, so don’t procrastinate when it’s time.
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