Spark Plugs Tips

Read these 12 Spark Plugs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Auto Accessories tips and hundreds of other topics.

Spark Plugs Tips has been rated 3.2 out of 5 based on 408 ratings and 1 user reviews.
what are spark plug resistors used for

Reasons For Spark Plug Resistors

Many people have this misconception about spark plug resistors. Some think that the resistor will stop oil fouling or may stop the deposits from entering or exiting the spark plug chamber. Instead, the resistors were created for EMI (electromagnetic interference) or RFI (radio frequency interference). With the spark plug and spark plug wires, this is extremely minute amounts of radiation that are emitted by electric circuits which carry rapidly changing signals. These unwanted signals interfere with other signals sent from other electric or electronic signals. When a spark moves or jumps the gap on the spark plug, it creates electromagnetic field causing a number of problems, such as poor spark plug performance. But the EMI or the RFI can also cause more severe problems with your vehicles computer or radio, or other vehicle electronic or electrical systems. Though the spark plug and spark plug wire manufacturers have been coming up with new technologies to retard the effects of EMI or RFI, the people who design the cars, trucks, SUVs and vans we drive everyday are working hard to help with the effects of EMI or RFI.

   
what are different types of spark plug fouling

Spark Plug Foul

Generally, most people will associate fouled spark plugs with gas and oil. Although these are two reasons for spark plug fouling, there are other issues you should consider. Every spark plug can foul, no matter how expensive or how good they are. Here are some of the most common reasons for spark plug fouling:

  • Carbon fouling: Your spark plug will have a black look, and will have soot build up deposits indicating a rich fuel/air mixture, another cause may be from, weak ignition. The carbon based deposits you see on the plug may be conductive, and will allow the voltage coming out of the electrode to travel down the plug instead of jumping the gap. When this happens, you will experience engine misfire.
  • Oil fouling: A black oily spark plug with oil deposits. This fouling indicates advanced engine wear. The cause of this type of foul could be caused by a number of reasons such as worn valve seats or broken piston rings.
  • Overheating: A spark plug may become overheated for several reasons including incorrect heat range, bad exhaust or exhaust restrictions, like the catalytic converter, or overheating of the engine. The spark plug will be chalky white and sometimes have blisters or discoloration on the spark plug core and or the electrode.
  • Neglect: Worn out spark plugs. You can see crusty deposits on and around the plug from rust or ash, because the electrode is worn and may appear to be burnt.
There are other reasons for spark plug fouling, though these are the most common. Changing a spark plug will not always help with certain fouling problems. Always use the recommended spark plug gap and heat range. When necessary, make the engine repairs and change spark plugs as indicated by the manufacturer. You can find the recommended time for tune up or spark plug change in your owners manual, or contact any dealership for this information.

   

Replacing Spark Plugs And Spark Plug Wires

A few things to remember when replacing your spark plugs and spark plug wires.

  • Use only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or better replacement spark plug wires and spark plugs.
  • Never change spark plugs on an engine that has not cooled completely. This may cause burns and damage to the engine head, as most engine heads and engine blocks are now made from aluminum.
  • The easiest way to change your own spark plugs and spark plug wires is to change one at a time. Even though some replacement plug wires come already numbered, marked or designated to match the plug wire your are replacing, some do not. Take it one at a time to ensure that you're replacing the plugs properly.
  • Before you start removing any plug wires or spark plugs, gap all of your spark plugs to the recommended gap using a gapping tool. Most of the time these gapping tools are given to you when you purchase spark plugs and spark plug wires. If not, ask the salesman or vendor for one.
  • Lay your plug wires out so you can reach them when ready. Not all the spark plug wires are the same, so you will need to pick the right one if they are not numbered or marked for replacement.
  • Do not jump from side to side or from front to rear, as this may cause you to get confused.
When you're ready and you have everything you need:
  • Start by removing the first spark plug wire. Do this by removing the plug wire from the spark plug first, then trace the plug wire to the cap or coil, which ever it is connected to. Careful not to remove any other wire.
  • Now that you have removed your first wire completely, with tools in hand, remove the spark plug. Always turn counter clockwise and recall the common saying, "righty tighty, left loosy".
  • Once the spark plug is removed, look at it to see if it has been damaged or fouled in anyway. If it is, you may want to seek a reputable mechanic for professional advice. If not you can continue.
  • It's time to tighten the spark plug. With tools in hand, turn 1/4 turn or until snug or just barely tight. Be careful not to overtighten as this may cause the spark plug to enter into the pistons path or cause damage to the threads of the engine head or the spark plug.
  • Replace the plug wire with the designated replacement plug wire, making sure it is the right length.
  • Repeat for every spark plug and every spark plug wire. Remember, finish one side, then move to the other.

   
how do i find the firing order for my vehicle

Save Time And Money

Wondering the firing order for your Jeep, Chevy, or Saab? With all the auto manuals and software, it's easy to find the firing order for any vehicle.

The firing order of a vehicle is the sequence of sparking of the spark plugs in a reciprocating engine, or the sequence of fuel injection in each cylinder in a Diesel engine. Achieving the correct firing order may prove difficult at times. Producing the correct timing on a vehicle is crucial to your vehicles performance and/or your customer when a time line as been drawn for the repairs.

Knowing the firing order of any vehicle you own is important when you're working with ignition, timing, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributors, caps, etc. If you do not know the firing order, you can get it from a dealership that sells your make and model vehicle, the local parts store, or a local mechanic shop. You can even find it online with a little searching.

   
which spark plug should i use

Which Spark Plug Manufacturer Do I Choose?

Although there are quite a few spark plug manufacturers to choose from, your vehicle really doesn't know the difference between one or the other. But understanding the differences in the spark plugs will help you decide what brand or manufacturer of spark plugs you would like to install or have installed in your vehicle.

Always look for quality over price. Though some spark plugs are better for your vehicle, it's not the brand that causes a difference. Price does not dictate a spark plugs performance -- the quality of the spark plug is what creates better performance. Here are a few other tips to help you choose:

  • When choosing a spark plug for you vehicle, ask about the specific heat range.
  • Use only recommended replacement spark plugs.
  • You can learn more about spark plugs from your dealership or local reputable auto shop.
  • You can go online and find information about a certain spark plug.
  • For any stock vehicle (any car that has not been modified) use the OEM replacement spark plug.

   
How can I tell a good replacment performance wire from a bad one?

Selecting a quality performance spark plug wire

The sad truth about some aftermarket performance wires (or waarz, as my uncle Jed calls them) is that a lot of them ain't worth a pee-hole in the snow. Many factory wires have a two-piece connector that grips the spark plug, utilizing both an inner and outer collar. Some after market brands use only one, which means they may not stay on the plug as well as they should. It's easy to check a connector with the naked eye, but it is hard to judge the quality of the insulation or how well the wire will stand up to vibration just by looking at it. In the end, the best advice when shopping for performance replacement wires is to go with tried and true names like Nology, Bosch, and others.

   
Why can't I upgrade to non-resistance plug wires?

Resistance vs. non-resistance

If you are the average motorist, you probably think that all spark plug wires are the same and that you and just yank out the old resistance ones and pop on the new non-resistance ones and you are good to go. But you would be wrong. Oh, so wrong. Here's why. Many modern ignition systems that were designed with the resistance as part of the circuit. You use non-resistance wires and who knows what kind of damage will result. So here's the rule: Always use replacement wires that were designed for your vehicle's ignition system.

   
What is so special about spark plug wires?

Plug Wireology 101

Spark plug wires, aka ignition wires, aka plug wires connect the spark plugs to the distributor or ignition coils. Spark plug wires are not like your normal wires. They are different by design. Electrically speaking, you might say they were born to resist. The main reason for this resistance is so you can listen to your car radio in peace without all that static. The resistance in the plug wires reduce radio static generates by the ignition system.

   
Should I upgrade to performance spark plug wires?

Avoid a mismatch

To paraphrase an old song, plugs and wires go together like a horse and carriage. You shouldn't change one without the other. And when you do change them, you should make sure they were made for each other. Wires and plugs are just one link in the entire ignition system, so any changes have to be carefully coordinated. Mismatching plugs and wires can mess up your ride more than a little bit. Upgrading to high-performance spark plugs and low-resistance plug wires can net you more mpgs and better performance. While you are at it, you might look into putting in high-performance coils and ignition boxes. They will help your engine get more power out of your gasoline.

   
How do I choose the right performance plug wire?

Selecting the right plug wire

Before you go down to your local parts store and pick up some replacement performance plug wires, there are few things you should keep in mind before you fork over your hard earned money.

Make sure the resistance of the replacements is within specifications for your vehicle. This is important.

Why? Because many after-market replacements may be listed to work for a wide range of vehicles.

Translation? They are not a good match for your vehicle. The fact of the matter is you have to know your specs. You can find them in a factory service manual for your vehicle.

Then measure the new wires with an ohm meter. If you get a reading that is too high or too low by 5 or 10 to 1, put them back and check out another brand.

   
How do dirty wires hurt my car's performance?

A clean wire is a healthy wire

There is a saying in the auto repair community, that a clean plug wire is a happy plug wire. And why not? A thin film of dirt on the outside of the plug wire and around the boots at the ends of the wires can form conductive path to the high voltage when exposed to moisture. The conductive path drains away the current that should be going to the spark plug. This can make your engine miss or run rough, especially in damp weather. So, take care to make sure that your wires are clean, and always wash your hands before returning to work.

   
Is Nology a reliable brand?

Nology-ology 101

In the red-hot world of performance ignition wires, Nology HotWires are white-hot. Their HotWires come engineered with a special built-in capacitor, which creates a spark that is 300 times more powerful than your typical wire. Here's how. The wire's unique design allows energy from the ignition coil to accumulate in the capacitor until the voltage at the spark plug electrodes reaches the ionization point. The entire power of the stored spark is discharged at once. The result is faster, more complete combustion, and more horsepower.

   
Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Auto Accessories Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!


Guru Spotlight
William Pirraglia