Spark plugs help ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber of an engine from the electric current from the ignition system. A worn-out spark plug can cause the engine to misfire and not accelerate properly. Simply cleaning spark plugs using a piece of sandpaper can get the engine working at its maximum potential again. However, If the spark plugs are completely damaged, you need to learn how to fit new spark plugs in your car. With that being said, you need to know exactly when and how a plug needs to be cleaned and fitted. Read on to find out how to clean and fit spark plugs in a car.
Signs of Fault in the Spark Plugs
Before you learn how to clean and fir spark plugs, you have to look for signs indicating a problem with spark plugs. Some of these signs are mentioned below:
- You experience a decrease in the acceleration of your car.
- If you notice a sudden poor fuel economy.
- Your car’s engine begins to misfire, accompanied by a whirring noise.
- You have trouble starting your car.
- The engine starts rough idling when you are driving.
Removing the Spark Plugs
Follow the following steps to remove the spark plugs one by one from the ignition system:
- Start by cutting the fuel supply to your car’s engine. Either disconnect the fuel pump or the fuse to prevent the fuel from entering the engine. For the fuel already present in the engine, you’ll have to let your car run until all the fuel burns off.
- You now have to locate the spark plugs by following the high-tension leads.
- Now, use a ratchet to free a spark plug from the spark plug socket. Do not pull the leads, as the excessive force might damage the core of the lead or the connectors attached to the spark plugs.
- Using a torque wrench, you now have to disconnect the spark plug from the connector outlet by turning it anticlockwise. You can lubricate the plug with a few drops of oil to loosen it if it does not come out easily.
- You can now visually inspect the spark plug or test the spark plug.
Testing the Spark Plugs
Once you have spotted the signs, you must now check the spark plugs. Testing the spark plugs will help you determine if a spark plug is faulty or not. You can test a spark plug either by a multimeter or a grounding test.
The Multimeter Test
- Once the high-tension lead is disconnected from the coil or the distributor, you can remove the spark plug from the connector.
- Now set the multimeter on the Ohm’s feature. Measure the resistance of the spark plugs by placing the multimeter’s probes on both the ends of a spark plug.
- A good spark plug should be somewhere around 4000 Ohms to 8000 Ohms.
The Grounding Test
- You have to insert the spark plug back into the connector of the high-tension lead.
- Now to ground, the spark plug holds the spark plug next to the engine block.
- Have someone start the car’s engine and observe the spark that comes out of the spark plug.
- A good spark plug will produce a blue spark. If the spark is weak or gives off an orange tinge, there is an issue with the spark plug.
Cleaning the Spark Plugs
If the spark plugs are dirty, you can reuse them by cleaning their surfaces. Cleaning the spark plugs is a very easy task that requires minimal materials.
- Dielectric grease
- Air hose
Now follow the steps mentioned below to clean the spark plugs:
- Using sandpaper, clean the surface between the electrode and the spark plug arm.
- Clean the insulator and electrodes thoroughly to remove any debris from the grooves of the spark plug.
- Use an air hose to remove any particles of the debris or sandpaper that might have stuck to the spark plug.
- Now, apply the dielectric grease to the spark plug to smoothen its surface.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the spark plugs.
Fitting the Spark Plugs
Once the spark plugs have been thoroughly clean, you can now fit them back in their place. Follow the following steps to fit the spark plugs in the car:
- Setting the gap on the spark plugs is very important. To set the gap, you can see your car’s owner’s manual and set it with a gapping tool according to the specifications mentioned.
- Now, put the spark plug in the socket and gently turn it clockwise first by hand to secure it in place, then use a torque wrench to tighten it in the socket. Be careful not to overtighten the plug; otherwise, you might damage its porcelain body.
- Push the boot or connector at the end of the high-tension lead on the exposed terminal of the spark plug.
- Put the spark plug back in place in the engine.
- Fit other spark plugs in a similar manner one by one.
- Reconnect the fuel pump and start the car.
If you continue experiencing issues with the ignition, you should change old spark plugs with a new set of spark plugs. However, if the problem persists, there might be other reasons why your car isn’t properly starting. You can take additional measures to address the issue.
- You can test the battery to see if it has the right amps. If the battery is depleted, you can get a new battery or try reviving the old one by using a car battery charger for a certain period of time.
- Check the high-tension circuit for any electrical leakage from the ignition system.
- You can also check the leads and connections of the battery to ensure that they are not damaged, and proper current is being supplied to the ignition system.
Once you have looked for all possible issues, turn on your car, and you will notice the difference right away. Take your car for a test drive so you can be absolutely certain that there are no problems in the ignition and engine performance. Knowing how to clean and fit spark plugs is a very simple procedure that ensures your engine works efficiently without seeking professional assistance. A properly functioning engine enables you to drive your car smoothly.