How can you tell if your car needs new spark plugs?
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Q:

How can you tell if your car needs new spark plugs?

A:

Quick Answer

There are a variety of problems that crop up when spark plugs need to be replaced. Some of the symptoms include difficulty starting, lack of acceleration, rough idle and increased fuel consumption. In general, spark plugs that need to be replaced cause a variety of poor performance symptoms in a car. Many of these symptoms have other causes, but together they can indicate bad spark plugs.

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Full Answer

Spark plugs can be a reason for a car not starting, as lack of spark is one of the two reasons for a car not to start. It can also be the reason behind unusual battery drain. Misfiring cylinders are another symptom of faulty spark plugs. A misfire causes the car to jerk briefly and then continue its normal operation. Similarly, this symptom could be due to the engine surging, which is another sign of faulty spark plugs.

If a car suddenly seems to be consuming way more fuel than usual, the spark plugs could be the culprit. This is due to incomplete combustion because of the inadequate spark. Fuel consumption can go up by as much as 30 percent in these cases. Similarly, the vehicle might feel sluggish and hesitate or lurch upon acceleration.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes oil to be on my spark plugs?

    A:

    Oil on spark plugs, also called oil fouling, is commonly caused by failing valve stem guides and bad stem seals. As pressure builds up in the crankcase, excessive oil enters the combustion chamber through worn-out piston rings or cylinder walls and forces its way to spark plugs. Oil fouling can also be caused by transmission fluid sucked through malfunctioning vacuum modulators or leaking lubricants from engine turbochargers.

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  • Q:

    Where do you purchase spark plugs?

    A:

    Automotive supply shops such as AutoZone and O'Reilly Auto Parts carry spark plugs. Over time, as spark plugs develop wear and tear, it's necessary to change them to maintain optimal performance of the engine.

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  • Q:

    How do you clean spark plugs?

    A:

    To clean spark plugs, disconnect the cables, remove the spark plugs, scrub them with sandpaper and a wire brush, wipe them with solvent, reinsert them, and reattach the cables. This 45-minute process requires work gloves, a bench vise, sandpaper, a brush, a ratchet wrench, solvent and rags.

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  • Q:

    How do you replace spark plugs?

    A:

    To replace spark plugs, remove each spark plug wire by pulling the caps, and then unscrew each of the plugs and remove them. Next, use a plug-gapping tool to properly gap the new plugs. Finally, screw in the new plugs and attach the plug wires.

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