How Often Should I Have My Spark Plugs Replaced?
If you’re like most of us, you rarely think about what it takes to get your vehicle going. Instead, you simply hop into your vehicle, turn the key or press a button, and you’re on the way! However, behind the scenes, several key components are working together to make your trip possible.
One of those key components are spark plugs. While small, your spark plugs are vital. And if your spark plugs fail to function properly and fire, your vehicle wouldn’t be able to move at all. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of your spark plugs, how often you should have them replaced, and more key information.
Spark Plugs — Giving Your Vehicle the Spark to Move
Your engine is designed to morph gasoline into movement. This miraculous feat leverages internal combustion to so. The spark plugs supply the initial spark that ignites the fuel/air mixture. Once ignited, this mixture creates the controlled explosion that makes your engine produce power. While small, spark plugs are mighty. They deliver the right arc of electricity across two leads that are close enough for the electricity to jump between the gap. The spark plugs are a central component of your ignition system.
How Can You Tell When the Spark Is Gone?
Because spark plugs must withstand millions of explosions, they are usually manufactured from highly durable and reliable material. Even so, the continual corrosion and explosions lead to weaker and/or smaller sparks. This can cause reduced efficiency in your engine, which could lead to other issues, such as:
- Problems accelerating. Do you experience a loss of power when you step on the gas?
- Misfiring. This feels like hesitation or a jerking sensation during acceleration and is usually accompanied by a weird smell.
- Rough idle. This explains a shaky, bouncy, or rough feeling when idling.
- Problems starting. The engine cranks over and over without actually starting or has a delay in starting.
- Reduced efficiency. If you experience a sudden drop in your MPGs, it could be failing spark plugs.
- Check engine light. If you’re seeing a check engine light on in your instrument panel, it could be a number of issues, including bad spark plugs.
How Often Should I Change My Spark Plugs?
Fortunately, most spark plugs are uniquely designed to go many miles and years before replacement. You should always refer to your owner’s manual for specific information on your vehicle. However, the majority of auto manufacturers suggest having new spark plugs installed every 30,000 miles. The actual longevity of the spark plug can range based on the type and conditions. For example, spark plugs made of copper tend to have the shortest lifespan. On the other hand, spark plugs made of more durable and advanced materials can deliver up to four times the longevity of the copper spark plug.
Why Replace Spark Plugs?
The key benefit of replacing your spark plugs is the unwavering knowledge that your vehicle will start with a hitch. At the same time, replacing your spark plugs will open the door to a host of other benefits:
- Improved fuel economy. According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, spark plug misfiring can slash your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. When you replace your spark plugs, you’ll notice an almost immediate bump in efficiency, which can lead to savings.
- Optimal combustion. Properly functioning spark plugs equal a more robust combustion system. When your combustion system is working properly, you can say goodbye to a host of other performance issues.
- Reduced harmful emissions. The EPA explains that systematic engine tune-ups, particularly spark plug replacements, can reduce air pollution as well as save you gas. This equation equals a win-win.
- Energetic and smooth starts. The first time you start your car or truck with new spark plugs, it can be a refreshing, eye-opening experience. Your previous spark plug was most likely the culprit of why you were experiencing those lumbering, jerky starts.
Contact Kevin Grover Buick GMC
When it comes to your vehicle, an ounce of maintenance is worth pounds of cure. And the team at Kevin Grover Buick GMC can help you get the most out of your vehicle and every mile. We offer a full range of auto maintenance, service, and repair solutions designed to improve efficiency and performance.