I’m sure we’ve all heard that your spark plugs should be replaced, or at least checked regularly. But the average consumer doesn’t actually know what they do. A shocker, right? At City Garage, whether you intend to get to know your car or not, we not only care about keeping you up to speed about the inner workings of your vehicle, but we want to know the ins and outs of it as well. Why? Because knowledge is power. We strive to educate you on all the parts of your vehicle, and today we’re going to be discussing Spark Plugs and the use and abuse that they experience every day.

History

In 1860, a Belgian engineer by the name of Étienne Lenoir used a spark to ignite his gas engine for the first time. Before then, internal combustion piston engines weren’t common in the least, and his design was one of the first that utilized a spark to provide the movement of the cogs. He is generally credited with the invention of the spark plug, but many other engineers and enthusiasts also took a stab at it over the course of history after he did.

How It Works

A spark plug is the reason your vehicle gets the ignition that it needs. Without your spark plugs, your car wouldn’t even start. The spark plugs have to be continually sparking too, in order for your vehicle to continue to run. This is the spark that keeps your engine running day to day, so it’s important to make certain that there isn’t a problem with their operation.

The spark plug is inserted into the engines cylinder head and is electronically grounded that way. The top end of it is connected to an electrical current, which then is connected to your ignition. The spark is started by electricity being pushed through the spark plug and creating a tiny explosion in the combustion chamber. This explosion causes the gases in the chamber to ignite and that in turn, runs the vehicle. During sparking, the spark channel can be as hot as 60,000 K. Yeah, not something you want to put your hand in.

Maintenance and Upkeep

So what can be done to keep spark plugs running at their best? Well as much as spark plugs get use, they’re also getting abuse every day. If your car is experiencing startup issues, has a rough idle, stalls, or experiences any drop in its fuel economy, you may need spark plug replacement. In the grand scheme of things, you can’t do much to repair your spark plugs. Replacement isn’t much of a hassle though, and with quality repairmen at your side, it can be even easier to get done. Spark plugs usually tend to last between 10,000 -20,000 miles. If your vehicle is older than that, and you haven’t gotten replacement of your spark plugs, it may be in your best interest to get them dealt with while you’re ahead. Give a reputable mechanic shop a call today for a professional spark plug replacement.

Photo courtesy of Razor 512 – Flickr

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