How Often Should I Have My Spark Plugs Replaced?

Spark plugs are engine components that are typically hidden underneath the engine's cover. Therefore, spark plugs tend to be forgotten about or unknown by many drivers. Spark plugs, however, are very important and need to be routinely changed for a vehicle to run properly. There are several things that you should know about the spark plugs that are in your vehicle's engine and several ways that you can determine if your vehicle's spark plugs need to be changed.

How Spark Plugs Work
Spark plugs provide sparks to an engine. In fact, spark plugs produce thousands of sparks within a single minute of a vehicle's engine running. This spark is important for an engine and allows the engine to provide power.
When a driver turns the ignition of their vehicle on, the ignition system goes through a quick process that ultimately causes the spark plugs of the vehicle's engine to ignite the fuel and air that have entered the engine's cylinders. Located right above each cylinder of an engine, spark plugs are responsible for producing sparks that are able to ignite the mixture of gasoline and air that is injected into the engine's cylinders. When this mixture is ignited, the force from the explosion forces the cylinder's piston to move downwards in the cylinder. The piston's movement, in turn, allows the crankshaft of the engine to rotate. This process is continually repeated in a rapid cycle as the vehicle's engine is running.
Common Spark Plug Problems
Modern engines, as a result of their computers, are great at detecting problems and identifying when there are issues that need to be addressed within the engine. When your vehicle's spark plugs are beginning to fail, you may see a check engine light on the vehicle's dashboard. You will not be able to immediately determine what the issue is by seeing the check engine light alone, but when you have your vehicle scanned, the code will mention that the engine's spark plugs are faulty and need to be changed. Do not drive your vehicle far if you see its check engine light turn on, as check engine lights turn on for a variety of vehicle problems, including problems that can cause the vehicle to immediately fail.

Your vehicle's engine will run roughly when it's spark plugs are failing. This is due to misfiring, an issue where sparks are being produced at the wrong times or not being produced at all. You will be able to hear the engine misfiring and you will also feel the engine's rough running condition.
An engine will not have all of its normal power when its spark plugs are failing. Therefore, you will notice that your vehicle is accelerating slower when the engine's spark plugs are worn out. This may be less noticeable for you depending on the condition of the vehicle's spark plugs and how often you drive your vehicle.
The fuel economy of your vehicle will decrease significantly when its spark plugs need to be changed. This is due to the fact that the engine will attempt to compensate for the missing sparks by adding more fuel to the air-fuel mixtures in its cylinders. Over time, while forcing you to visit the gas station more often, this excess fuel will begin to leave deposits on the engine's spark plugs and other components of your vehicle.
When the spark plugs of your vehicle have completely failed, the vehicle's engine will not start or will shut off after running roughly. When spark plugs completely fail, they cannot produce sparks because the gaps between their electrodes have gotten too wide, preventing electricity from being created between the electrodes. The metal electrodes themselves can break off when a spark plug is too worn. 
Spark Plug Maintenance Schedule
Spark plugs should be replaced before they have the opportunity to completely fail. It is common practice for drivers to have the spark plugs in their vehicles' engines replaced once every 30,000 miles. However, there are many different types of spark plugs that are available on the market, each offering different lifespans. Additionally, your vehicle may have one spark plug for each of its cylinders or two per cylinder, depending on its engine's design. To determine what routine will work the best for your vehicle, refer to the vehicle's owner's manual.
The spark plugs that are in your vehicle's engine are small but vital parts for your vehicle. Without properly functioning spark plugs, your vehicle will be unable to travel far, if at all. There are many different spark plugs that are available on the market. If you would like to learn more about the spark plugs that are in your vehicle or would like servicing for your vehicle, contact us at C&S Car Company. We will be glad to provide the information and services that you need to keep your vehicle running smoothly on the road.