What Exactly Are Spark Plugs?

Spark Plugs Explained

If you own a vehicle, you probably know that spark plugs are critical to your auto’s operation. But do you know exactly what they do and why they’re necessary? A basic understanding of your car’s spark plugs will help you monitor its performance and service schedule. When you find that it’s time for spark plug replacement, you can rely on the certified technicians at Titan Auto & Tire in Moseley, Virginia, for this and all other tune-ups, preventive maintenance, and repair needs.

How Is It Constructed?

Although it’s tiny, a spark plug is tenacious! It stands up to lots of trips and many miles, creating a seemingly endless number of sparks needed for combustion. This little giant has three major areas–a housing, an insulator, and electrodes. Within these regions, the specific parts each perform a necessary task that contributes to the whole function. For instance, the insulator prevents high voltage from escaping to an area where it doesn’t belong, the terminal connects a cord for voltage flow, and the electrode provides the spot for the spark to occur.

How Does It Work?

When a spark plug generates an arc of electricity between two leads, those parts don’t touch. They are located near one another, allowing the electrical current to jump from one side to the other across the gap. This spark ignites a fuel/air mixture in the cylinder, resulting in a small, controlled explosion. The force of this reaction moves the pistons, turns the engine’s crankshaft, and creates power that ultimately moves your automobile.

When Should They Be Changed?

Although spark plugs are quite durable, they all eventually wear and require replacement. Reduced gas mileage and poor ability to accelerate may tip you off to aging spark plugs. You may even have trouble starting the car. Also, you may notice rough idling or engine misfire. Regardless of the symptom, failing spark plugs may cause exhaust or performance issues that cause the check engine light to illuminate. Failure to change your old spark plugs in a timely manner could even lead to further damage. For instance, incomplete combustion can wreak havoc on the catalytic converter. You will need to have this corrected in order for your car to pass the required annual auto inspection in Virginia.

Your Go-To Shop for Spark Plug Change

Whether you’re noticing some of the tell-tale indicators of spark plug decline or seeing the check engine warning on your dashboard, you shouldn’t ignore the signs of failing spark plugs. A delay costs you more fuel due to poor performance, and you could possibly eventually find yourself stranded in a situation where your car won’t start. Bring your vehicle to Titan Auto & Tire in Moseley, Virginia, for a spark plug change.

Written by Titan Auto & Tire