Amy's Amazing Auto Service and Repair Blog

4 Warning Signs Of Bad Spark Plugs

by Derek Davidson

The spark plugs in your car create the electrical charge required to ignite the combustion engine and provide the power required to keep your car moving. Just like many components in your car, the spark plugs wear out over time and need to be replaced to prevent you from ending up being stranded somewhere. There are usually some signs that the spark plugs are wearing out, and knowing what these warning signs are can allow you to get the spark plugs replaced before they die completely and your engine won't start. Here are four warning signs for you to look out for:

Difficult-To-Start Engine

If your car is proving difficult to start, the battery may be the first thing you think to check. However, worn-out spark plugs could be the cause. Bad spark plugs won't deliver an efficient or consistent spark to get the combustion process going that's required to start the engine, and you may find you have to turn the engine over several times, particularly on cold mornings, to get the car started.

Engine Misfires

An engine misfire is characterised by either a noticeable break in the pace of the engine or an audible pop coming from the engine as it regains its timing. This occurs when the spark plugs aren't delivering a consistent electrical charge, which interrupts the combustion process and impacts engine performance. Engine misfires can damage the catalytic converter, as raw fuel is allowed into the exhaust, so spotting this problem early can prevent further costly repairs.

Poor Acceleration

If you notice your car's acceleration has become sluggish and it's taking longer to pull away from traffic lights or build speed, your spark plugs are likely to blame. When the spark plugs aren't generating a strong enough charge, your car has to work harder to take off, and building speed can feel like trying to increase the volume on your TV when the remote control batteries are about to die.

Reduced Fuel Economy

If you've noticed a reduction in fuel mileage despite not deviating from your usual weekly journeys, your spark plugs could be to blame. Worn spark plugs increase fuel consumption because the engine has to work harder to keep the car going, which causes it to burn more fuel. So, if you notice you're visiting the petrol pump more often, have your spark plugs checked.

If you've noticed any of these warning signs, have your car checked by your mechanic as soon as possible. Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive and you will notice an improvement in driving performance as soon as they're replaced. For more information, speak with a professional who provides vehicle repairs