What are Spark Plugs for?

spark plug auto
Photo by moto moto sc

If you drive a car or truck with a gasoline engine, you likely have spark plugs. These are essential components of engines. Many people have heard of them and know the general idea of what they do. They also know that spark plugs need to be changed from time to time. Learn a little more about these important auto parts and their role in your vehicle’s operation.

What Spark Plugs Do and How They Work

As you likely know, your engine runs by igniting a mixture of fuel and air inside a series of pistons. As these pistons move, they create power that can be transferred to the wheels. To ignite that fuel-air mixture, you need a spark. This is where spark plugs come in. They help ignite the fuel in your engine cylinders.

A spark plug is designed to withstand the high heat and pressure inside your engine pistons. However, they eventually get worn down. Most spark plugs are designed to last somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 miles. However, they wear down over time. So, if you want to tune up your vehicle, replacing the spark plugs may be an important step.

Does Spark Plug Installation Require A Mechanic?

No, replacing a spark plug does not require a mechanic, even though a lot of people use their mechanics for their job. Anyone can learn how to change spark plugs. In fact, all you need is a ratchet, spark plug socket and some anti-seize lube/dielectric grease (and a new spark plug, of course). The process is surprisingly simple:

  1. Before starting on the spark plugs, make sure that the vehicle is stable on a flat and dry surface and that the engine is cool. Additionally, if your owner’s manual suggests it, disconnect the battery at the negative terminal.
  2. Disconnect the spark plug wire from the plug. In some cases, the plug wire boot may be stuck. This can require pliers to get it free.
  3. Unscrew the spark plug using your ratchet and spark plug socket. It may require some lubricant to get the spark plug free if it has been there for a while.
  4. If your spark plug calls for it, use some anti-seize lubricant on it. Then, screw the spark plug into place.
  5. Finally, plug the spark plug wires back in. Then, start the engine and make sure everything is working as intended.

How Much Do Spark Plugs Cost?

Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive, but the price can vary significantly depending on the type of plug. Each plug is usually between $15 and $100. Most typical passenger vehicles have spark plugs on the lower end of that scale. However, if your vehicle using double platinum or double iridium plugs, it may be more expensive.

Start Fixing Your Vehicle Today

Discover more about maintaining and fixing your vehicle today. Many common automotive maintenance tasks are easier than you may expect. With a few tools and parts, you could learn how to take care of your car or truck. Get started and see what you can achieve.

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