I’m confused about when I should get my spark plugs replaced. What’s the deal?
Answer from Cordova Auto Centers:
Well it can be confusing for San Antonio motorists because there are several types of spark plugs and some last longer than others. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when your spark plugs should be changed.
Here’s a little background from Cordova Auto Centers. Spark plugs are in the combustion chamber of your engine. They send a little spark between two electrodes at the end of the spark plug which ignites the gasoline. This little spark goes off thousands of times a minute. Over the miles, the electrodes on standard grade spark plugs wear away increasing the gap between them. When that happens, the spark isn’t as strong and the fuel doesn’t burn as well.
As I mentioned above, there are several types or grades of spark plugs. The standard grade is copper core. They are great for quick starts and may last 12,000 to 13,000 miles.
Single platinum spark plugs use platinum on one of the electrodes. These typically last 30,000 to 60,000 miles and have improved ignitability and performance. Double platinum plugs use platinum on both electrodes. This virtually eliminates gap erosion. They may last 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
Then there are the plugs that use iridium in their electrodes. These often last over 100,000 miles. They are very durable and give premium performance and improved fuel efficiency.
Now it’s essential that San Antonio motorists always use at least the grade of spark plug that originally came on their vehicle. This makes sure that your spark plugs are up to delivering the performance and fuel economy your vehicle was designed for. Of course, you may upgrade your spark plugs for better durability and performance. Talk with you friendly Cordova Auto Centers tech about how you want your vehicle to perform and let him help you decide on the spark plug that best suits your needs.
In San Antonio TX, the days when you changed your spark plugs every couple of years has ended. Back in the day, spark plugs really did wear out that often. A couple of things are different now…
First, spark plugs are made of better materials that last longer and they’re designed better. The second reason why spark plugs used to have to be changed in family cars and other autos was that they were fouled up with carbon deposits. The deposits built up when fuel wasn’t burned completely. With modern engine management controls that just doesn’t happen as often.
Engine control computers precisely time when fuel is injected into the engine and when spark plugs fire. Unless something’s wrong, spark plugs just don’t foul like they used to.
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 used around San Antonio 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’ll be interesting to see where future developments take us. One last thought: it’s critically 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 to work properly within those temperatures. Your San Antonio TX service advisor at Cordova Auto Center will be able to get the right plugs for your vehicle. And he’ll be able to advise you on when you should replace your spark plugs as well.
Cordova Auto Centers
12715 Nacogdocher Road
San Antonio, TX 78217