Your car's spark plugs are a central part of your ignition system and provide the spark that actually ignites the mixture of fuel and air in your engine. Thus, a set of spark plugs that are not working properly can cause all sorts of issues for your vehicle, even leaving you unable to start your engine.
Thankfully, a couple of early warning signs will help you determine when you should head to a mechanic to replace your spark plugs before they fail completely and leave you stranded.
1. Rough Idling
If you notice that your engine seems excessively loud while you are sitting at a stoplight or stop sign, your spark plugs may be to blame. Improperly functioning spark plugs cause an uneven burn of fuel in the engine, resulting in fluctuating RPMs and a louder noise.
You might also experience increased vibrations of your vehicle while sitting idle or while traveling at low speeds. These vibrations originate from the engine and can shake the entire car.
2. Engine Misfires
In a very similar vein to the above point, spark plugs that are worn, dirty or simply too old to work properly can cause your engine to occasionally misfire. Engine misfires will halt your entire vehicle for a second or so and create a loud noise similar to a gunshot out of your muffler.
Not only is this occurrence dangerous, as a misfire greatly reduces the amount of control that you have over your vehicle while driving, but it also represents an increased amount of stress to your engine. Misfires happen due to an inefficient burning of fuel in the engine, and the sudden burning of a large amount of fuel can cause wear to your pistons and other engine components.
If left to develop into a chronic problem, engine misfires can thus greatly increase the risk that the small moving parts in your engine can become damaged, which are a much more expensive and complicated fix than replacing your spark plugs.
At the first occurrence of a misfire, you should head to a mechanic to have your engine inspected and your spark plugs replaced, if necessary.
3. Surging and Lagging
Another good indication that your spark plugs are dirty or worn is if your vehicle experiences surges of speed, resulting in a jerking acceleration. These surges occur because your spark plugs are not igniting the fuel in your engine at the proper rate, resulting in an uneven speed.
This problem is a serious safety concern because, like engine misfires, it reduces the overall amount of control that you have over your vehicle. Address surging and lagging straight away by having a mechanic inspect your spark plugs.
4. Reduced Fuel Efficiency
Spark plugs that are in dire need of being replaced can also have a huge effect on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Since they will burn fuel at an inefficient rate, your engine will not be working at its peak efficiency, burning more fuel to cover the same amount of distance.
If you notice a marked decrease in your vehicle's fuel efficiency, despite no changes in your driving habits, your spark plugs are a likely culprit. Head to a mechanic straight away because leaving this problem to linger can be more expensive than actually having your spark plugs replaced entirely.
For any questions regarding your vehicle's spark plugs and ignition system, please don't hesitate to contact us at Redford Auto Repair. Our team of highly trained automotive professionals will be more than happy to address any concerns that you may have. Bring your car by our auto shop today.