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How Often Should You Change Your Spark Plugs?

spark plugsSpark plugs, though small, have a mighty task. Like any part of the vehicle that requires maintenance, you’ll want to know ahead of time how often you should change your spark plugs to make sure your engine starts and keeps working properly. Without this important component, your vehicle will fail to start, so making sure they’re functioning correctly and replacing them at the appropriate time is key.

Creating A Spark

The role of the spark plug is fairly simple. It creates a spark to ignite the air and fuel in your vehicle’s engine cylinders to create combustion to engage the engine. You may notice trouble is abound with the spark plugs if notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Rough idle – A rough, shaky, or a bouncing feeling
  • Misfire – a jerking or hesitation during acceleration, accompanied by an odd smell
  • Trouble starting – The engine cranks over without start or delay in starting
  • Using more gas than usual – A sudden drop in gas mileage
  • Trouble accelerating – A loss in power while stepping on the gas

Spark plugs are somewhat durable components and don’t need to be replaced too often, that said, the general recommendation is about every 30,000 to 90,000 miles. Each vehicle may differ on when they should be replaced. While this can be a fairly simple service and could be considered a do-it-yourself endeavor, take caution as each spark plug location varies by manufacturer. There may be obstructions such as large components or parts that may be difficult to remove without special tools to loosen them. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual or speak with a professional for details on when to replace the spark plugs for your specific vehicle.

It’s Not A Tune-Up

In the past, a vehicle would receive a tune-up that would include replacing spark plugs along with spark plug wires, the distributor, distributor cap, rotor and points, condenser, as well as setting the timing and adjusting the carburetor. These days, with the improved technology in today’s vehicles, the vehicle’s internal computer does most of the work. However, vehicle owners are still required to change spark plugs, sensors, and switches as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

A Noticeable Difference

Once your vehicle receives new spark plugs, you’ll notice how much better your car feels while driving. You may notice such improvements as:

  • Consistent and Optimal Combustion – Spark plugs that are in peak condition allow the combustion system to function at its highest potential.
  • Increased Fuel Economy – Misfiring spark plugs can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. New plugs that are replaced at regular intervals maximize fuel economy, saving you money.
  • Smooth, Dynamic Starts – Convulsing starts will be a thing of the past when new spark plugs are installed in your vehicle.
  • Better for the Environment – Ensuring all of the vehicle’s functions related to emissions are cared for often, especially spark plugs, means less harmful emissions and a reduction in air pollution.

Your vehicle’s spark plugs are imperative to your engine’s operation from starting, to moving, and performing optimally. Though it may be gradual at first, once spark plugs have reached their life expectancy and are worn, it will be easy to identify when it’s time for a replacement. Note that waiting too long to replace them could cause unnecessary damage to the engine. Once your vehicle begins showing signs of worn spark plugs, have them replaced at your friendly, neighborhood service center like Sun Devil Auto. We’ll have you back on the road quickly and you’ll notice a much smoother driving experience from the very start.