Have you ever experienced a noticeable shaking and juddering coming from the engine while you are trying to accelerate? Although there are many possible causes for this, there is a high probability that you have worn spark plugs. Not only does this affect the performance of your car, but it can lead to additional problems if you ignore it. This article will explain what spark plugs do and how to tell if you need to replace yours.

What are spark plugs?

Spark plugs are one of the most important components of any gasoline engine. Their function is to produce a spark at the required time to ignite the air and fuel mixture. Spark plug consists of several main parts. First, there is a steel shell that makes the outer covering. Inside the shell, there is a resistance that controls the strength of the current. In the end, there are central and ground electrodes. The central electrode is insulated and carries a high tension current, while the ground one is welded to the steel shell. During the engine operation, high tension current between the electrodes ionizes the gas and produces a spark.

Symptoms of bad spark plugs?

As spark plugs have only one function, the most common symptom is a misfire on one or more cylinders. This can happen in different running conditions, ranging from cold starts to hard accelerations under heavy loads. When a misfire happens, an unburnt fuel-air mixture will escape straight to the exhaust, where it can damage the catalytic converter. Even if there is no misfire, worn and dirty spark plugs may affect the engine performance and fuel economy. In the worst case, you may even end up with a car that won’t start when the mornings are cold. To avoid this and keep your engine in best shape, you should change the spark plugs within specified intervals.    

Is it hard to replace the spark plugs?

Replacing the spark plugs is not very complicated, as it involves unbolting the old plugs and installing the new ones. Still, there are things like tightening torques and avoiding cross-threading you should consider while doing this. In addition, examining old spark plugs is a wise move, as they tell a lot about the engine condition. However, the biggest issue can be access, as some engines have spark plugs hidden deep in the engine bay. This means you might need to remove various covers and intake components before reaching the plugs themselves.

How important is this service?

As we have explained in this article, replacing worn or dirty spark plugs is not a complicated job on its own. However, there are several things you should be careful about and check when doing this. Also, there are cars where you need to remove different parts before you can remove the plugs. If you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve all spark plug related issues. This will ensure that all important components are checked and your car is ready to hit the road.