It’s Not Lit: 5 Common Symptoms of Bad Spark Plugs

Is your car or truck not performing quite up to speed?

An automobile is not unlike the human body. And just like with the human body, there could be any number of reasons your automobile isn’t running as well as it could.

The good news is, your sluggish auto could be simply showing symptoms of bad spark plugs. It may even cause the check engine light to come on.

And as car repairs go, replacing bad spark plugs is usually an easy fix. Read on to find out more.

What Are the Symptoms of Bad Spark Plugs?

Generally, you should be able to get around 80,000 miles on a set of working spark plugs before they need to be replaced.

But if you notice any of the following five symptoms, be sure to get your spark plugs checked with your next engine tune-up.

1. Difficulty Starting Car in the Morning

Your engine needs a spark to get started. It’s your car’s version of caffeine in the morning.

But if your spark plugs are dirty and/or the wires are damaged, the spark has a much harder time getting to the engine.

Furthermore, damaged plugs could be draining power from your battery. And eventually, your car may not start at all.

2. Engine Has a Rough Idle

When your car is running, but in a stationary position, your engine typically idles around 1000rpm. And it should be giving off a smooth and steady sound. This is what it meant by listening to an engine “purr.”

If your spark plugs aren’t performing as they should, your engine will produce larger vibrations through the car. And that purr will be replaced by a rough and jittery sound.

A rough idle should be taken seriously and not addressing it could result in costly repairs down the road.

3. Misfiring Engine

You’ll know if your engine is misfiring because your vehicle will halt for a fraction of a second and then continue its usual movement.

This is a result of one or more cylinders not firing correctly. And as with the rough idle, you’ll want to have a qualified technician in your area check it out.

4. Increased Fuel Consumption

If you’ve noticed you’re heading to the gas station more often, it could be the result of bad spark plugs.

Operating your vehicle with worn out spark plugs can increase fuel consumption because they can’t effectively burn the fuel that goes into the engine.

In fact, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30%.

That all equals a lot more clams you’re shelling out at the pump.

5. Lack of Acceleration

Even if you have only four cylinders under the hood, it’s still pretty easy to tell if your car isn’t accelerating properly.

When you put your foot to the accelerator, it’ll feel sluggish – like it doesn’t really want to move forward. Or it’ll feel as if it’s really dragging to get going.

A simple spark plug change could restore that zip.

Keep Your Engine Purring

If you notice your vehicle exhibiting any of the above symptoms of bad spark plugs, get it checked as soon as possible.

As we said, it’s an easy fix. But putting off this simple repair could result in engine damage. So take it in.

And keep checking back with our blog for more informative and helpful articles about auto repair.

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