Good news! The days when drivers had to change their spark plugs every couple of years has ended. Back in the day, spark plugs really did wear out that often. Now, a couple of things are different…
First, spark plugs have a better design and are made of better materials that last longer for drivers. The second reason spark plugs used to have to be changed more often is because carbon deposits would build up in them when fuel wasn’t burned completely and foul them up. But with modern engine management controls that doesn’t happen as often.
Engine control computers precisely time when fuel is injected into the engine and when the spark plugs fire. Unless something is wrong, spark plugs just don’t misfire as often now.
Electricity from the battery goes into a coil that allows power to build up to anywhere from 12,000 to 45,000 volts, depending on the vehicle. The engine management computer tells the coil when to release the power to the spark plug. The electricity travels through a wire from the coil to the spark plug. At the tip of the plug, a spark jumps between two electrodes and ignites the gas in the combustion chamber.
Some engines have more than one coil. Coils wear out and need to be replaced occasionally. Also, spark plug wires can wear out and need to be replaced. Modern engines in vehicles are delivering more power and better fuel economy all the time. That’s largely credited to fast engine control computers, advanced sensors, electronic ignition and improvements to the lowly spark plug. It will be interesting to see where future developments take us.
One last thought…it’s important to have the right kind of spark plug for your vehicle. Because engines are designed to run with different internal temperatures, spark plugs have different designs that work properly within those temperatures. Your service adviser at Express Car Care will be able to get the right plugs for your vehicle and be able to advise you as to when you should replace your spark plugs as well.