When a car doesn’t start, the go-to cause is typically a problem with the battery, but that is not the only possibility. Old or faulty spark plugs could be the hidden culprit. They’re small but play a significant role in keeping your car in perfect working order.
Watch for the first signs that plugs may be sparking some trouble under your hood:
- Check engine light comes on.
Worn out spark plugs, Ignition coils and/or their wires can trigger the engine to misfire, which then results in the check engine light to come on or start flashing.
The appearance of the check engine light could be caused by a number of things, not just a spark plug issue. Since our shop is equipped with only the latest and best diagnostic technology, Motor Werke technicians can quickly and efficiently determine the actual cause.
- Car has trouble starting.
Spark plugs have one of the most essential jobs in your entire car. Just like their name suggests, they need to create a spark, so your car can rev that engine and go!
The older and more worn out the plugs are, the harder it is to get their spark on. If the car stalls during start-up, this could be a huge warning sign that it’s your spark plugs losing that loving feeling.
- You’re spending too much money at the pump.
Worn out spark plugs can really put a damper on your gas mileage and wallet. Since the fuel going into the engine isn’t efficiently burned, your vehicle’s fuel consumption dramatically rises. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence reports that a misfiring spark plug could increase fuel consumption by a whopping 30%.
- The sound of rough idling.
Does your European car typically purr like a kitten? Now it sounds like there’s an angry beast trying to escape – rattling, thumping or knocking noise coming from the engine? Spark plugs may be to blame!
- Your car has lost its oomph.
The pick-up and go that you’re used to, has picked up and left. Your European car was born to accelerate, and now it’s becoming more and more sluggish. Not to mention, it’s guzzling up the fuel like you’ve just raced “Le Mans”.
- The manufacturer says so!
Motor Werke is big on following the rules, whether it’s using factory or equal parts in your vehicle, protecting the environment or sticking to manufacturer guidelines. Our scheduling system tells us exactly when your vehicle is due for spark plug maintenance and anything else car care related. It’s always best to follow manufacturer rules and change out the spark plugs based on their research, testing, and expertise.
Motor Werke’s technicians speak spark plug.
By reading the spark plug’s insulator nose colour, an experienced technician gathers a tremendous amount of information to determine the engine’s overall operating condition.
Here are some signs Motor Werke’s team interprets to prevent further deterioration of engine performance:
Normal Condition –if the firing end of the spark plug is brown or light gray, the spark plug is in good working order.
Overheating – too much heat can cause deposits to accumulate on the insulator tip, melting it and appearing glazed or glossy.
Deposits – the accumulation of deposits caused by oil leakage, fuel quality, and the engine’s operation duration.
Lead Fouling – usually appears as yellow-brown deposits on the insulator nose.
Breakage – sudden temperature changes cause thermal expansion and thermal shock resulting in breakage.
Normal Wear and Tear – worn-out spark plugs waste fuel and put a strain on the entire ignition system. The expanded gap between the spark plug and engine requires higher voltages.
Abnormal Erosion – gap growth can be caused by various issues such as corrosion, oxidation, and the reaction with lead.
Melting – the melting point of nickel is 2,200F. The electrode surface may become lustrous and uneven.
Erosion, Corrosion and Oxidation – Heavy oxidation turns the surface green with possibly the appearance of raised frets on the electrode.
Lead Erosion – caused by lead compounds in the gasoline reacting chemically with the electrode material (nickel alloy) in high temperatures. Lead erosion thins the surface of the ground electrode and the tip of the electrode appears to be chipped.
To keep your engine operating efficiently, technicians should never mix spark plugs in different states of wear. All spark plugs should be replaced with new ones. Alternatively, all of the current spark plugs should be cleaned and reinstalled.
Continuing to drive with worn-out or damaged spark plugs can cause severe engine damage. So don’t put it off!
Save money on unnecessary fuel consumption plus even more money on preventable costly repairs.
Book your appointment today! Our spark plug whisperers at Motor Werke are standing by and ready to see exactly what is going on with your European vehicle.