The car spark plugs plays a vital role in the internal combustion system of the engine. Its function is to generate sparks to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Similar to engine oil, oil or air filters, car spark plugs also require regular maintenance to ensure their performance remains in good condition. During each drive, the combustion of the fuel needs to be at an optimal level to produce maximum power output. That’s why taking care of the spark plug is essential.
Effects of Poorly Functioning Car Spark Plugs
Sometimes, we forget to check the condition of our spark plugs. When we neglect the necessary maintenance or replacement of the spark plug, you may experience the following symptoms when starting the engine:
- Incomplete spark ignition
- Slight engine vibrations during ignition
- Difficulty in starting the engine at times
- Unstable engine idling
- Decreased engine power during acceleration
Signs that the Spark Plugs Needs Replacement
As we all know, the function of a car spark plugs is to generate sparks to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine. If the spark plug is damaged, it can lead to various engine-related issues, including difficulties in starting the car.
1. Weak Acceleration
If your car experiences a sudden loss of power, it may be a sign that your spark plug is experiencing problems. It could be due to a damaged or worn-out spark plug. In such cases, it is advisable to check and possibly replace the spark plug.
However, it is recommended to consult your mechanic for further inspection. Sometimes, reduced engine power can also be caused by other factors, such as a faulty fuel filter, clogged fuel injectors, or issues with the oxygen sensor.
2. Excessive Oil Consumption
Does your car consume oil quickly? It could be another sign that your spark plug needs replacement. A properly functioning spark plug helps burn the fuel more efficiently during the combustion process.
When the spark plug is in good condition, the car’s oil consumption becomes more efficient. If you notice rapid oil consumption, it may be due to a damaged spark plug. A faulty spark plug can cause incomplete combustion, leading to increased fuel consumption.
3. Rough Engine Operation
Uneven or misfiring engine operation often occurs due to ignition system problems. This occurs when the sparks in the engine cylinders occur intermittently, resulting in incomplete ignition of the air-fuel mixture. In modern cars, this issue is usually caused by sensor failures.
However, it can also be caused by worn-out or damaged spark plug wires or connections. If left unaddressed, it can lead to increased exhaust emissions and potentially affect the engine’s performance, power, and fuel economy.
4. Noisy Engine
If your car’s engine sounds rough and loud, especially when the car is stationary, it is another indication that your spark plug is damaged.
Usually, loud and rough engine noise can cause vibrations in the car. One of the reasons behind this is incomplete and rough fuel combustion, leading to engine vibrations after ignition.
5. The Car Can Start But Won’t Ignite
If you’re facing the problem of your car starting but not igniting, it may indicate a faulty ignition coil or a spark plug that needs to be replaced. The car’s engine system consists of several individual components that function collectively to ensure the smooth operation of the engine. If any of these components are damaged, it may affect its performance.
If your car can start but won’t ignite, it is recommended to contact your mechanic to have your car inspected. Usually, issues with spark plugs can make it difficult for the engine to start, especially in the morning, requiring you to turn the key multiple times until the engine starts properly.
How much does it cost to replace car spark plugs?
Some say that the cost of replacing spark plugs is expensive. But how expensive is it really? Typically, the cost of replacing car spark plugs ranges from RM20 to RM100. This also depends on the quantity of spark plugs needed, the vehicle model, and labour costs.
Spark plugs for a Proton Saga, for example, are sold at around RM26 per set in car parts stores. However, this price also depends on the type of spark plug chosen.
Types of Car Spark Plugs
To determine the cost of your car, you need to know the type of spark plug used in your vehicle.
1. Copper/Nickel Spark Plugs
Copper spark plugs are the most standard type, featuring a copper core with a nickel alloy coating for the electrode. These spark plugs are cheaper but have a shorter lifespan. The price of copper spark plugs is usually around RM30 or higher, depending on your vehicle model.
2. Single Platinum Car Spark Plugs
Did you know that single platinum spark plugs are among the most popular among car owners? They feature a platinum electrode, a type of expensive metal known for its hardness compared to nickel. They have a longer lifespan and are lighter than standard spark plugs. The price of single platinum spark plugs is around RM40 and higher, depending on the vehicle model.
3. Dual Platinum Car Spark Plugs
Dual platinum spark plugs maximize the use of platinum on both the core and base. This type of spark plug is said to be more expensive compared to single platinum and nickel spark plugs, as it offers enhanced performance and quality.
4. Iridium Car Spark Plugs
Iridium spark plugs have a longer lifespan compared to others because they are made of a more durable and harder metal than platinum. However, due to their longevity and durability, they come at a higher price. But if we talk about usability, it’s worth it to use this type. They last three times longer than regular spark plugs. The price ranges from RM50 to RM150, depending on the car model.
How to Differentiate Between Genuine and Fake Car Spark Plugs
As usual, the issue of genuine or fake products is not new. Spark plugs also have genuine and fake versions. The problem is, using fake spark plugs can jeopardize the car’s durability and, more importantly, the driver’s and passengers’ safety.
So, how can you differentiate between genuine and fake spark plugs?
- Genuine or fake can be determined by the spark plug code, which indicates the manufacturer’s code and name. Fake spark plugs have low-quality code imprints.
- Genuine spark plugs have smoother and finer threads. Pay close attention when selecting spark plugs and ask the seller to show spark plugs from other brands for easy comparison.
- Genuine spark plugs have ceramic insulation. If it’s a fake product, the ceramic part appears excessively bright, while genuine products are less bright.
- Genuine metal shell frames use strong steel material that is not easily corroded, while fake products are prone to rust. Even when newly unpacked, you can already see rust spots on the steel housing.
- Genuine spark plug electrodes, responsible for sparking, appear smoother and neater, while fake products are less precise, rough, and sometimes have inconsistent gaps or connections.
- Genuine spark plug gaskets appear smoother and are not easily detached even when rotated along the grooves. While they can be removed, it takes a bit of effort. On the other hand, fake gaskets are uneven and easily detachable.