Spark Plugs Car: Why Is It Important For Your Car?
16 March, 2021
Spark plugs are the most important component in a car ignition system. Generally, a spark plug is required to start a car’s engine. Needless to say, if it’s not available or broken, your car won’t be able to start. Therefore, spark plugs need to be maintained regularly so that problems don’t arise and your car can always start seamlessly every time you need it to.
Understanding Spark Plugs
The spark plugs in a car have the main function of burning a mixture of gasoline and compressed air through the piston movement. Without spark plugs, there won’t be combustion in the engine room and the components related to the motion system won’t perform their functions. Hence, as mentioned above, spark plugs are one of the vital components of a car.
On top of that, spark plugs also have a function to draw unnecessary heat energy from the combustion chamber and then send it to the cooling system in the car.
Having a very small size, the spark plug turns out to have a very complex arrangement of components. Below is the arrangement of the components on the spark plug.
It is located at the shoot, made of iron, and functions as a connector for the spark plug and the ignition system.
- Ceramic Insulators
It is located at the tip of the spark plug after the terminal, made of ceramic, and functions as an electrical insulator while supporting the mechanics of the electrode core.
The socket is determined from the hex size for attaching the spark plug to the car.
- Insulator Tip
The end of the insulator is the location for combustion, so it is made of a material that can withstand high temperatures. Its resistance reaches 60,000 volts and 650 degrees Celsius.
Has the main function so that the compression from the combustion chamber does not come out of the spark plug gap.
- Metal Case
Also called a jacket, has the main function of locking the spark plug to the cylinder head and as a conductor of heat.
- Center Electrode
Also known as spark plug heads, they are made of metal, nickel, iron, and copper. It has the main function of delivering electrical energy and connecting to the terminal.
This is a part that has direct contact with the car.
Type of spark plug
As a vital part of ignition, spark plugs have an important role in producing sparks or spark on the car spark plug electrodes in the combustion chamber. Its purpose is to mix and burn air and fuel.
The sparks produced by these spark plugs come from the electric energy of a car battery. Therefore, if the spark plug has a problem, it won’t be able to produce sparks and the car will not be able to start and will break down instead.
Taking that into account, you must know the type of spark plug that matches the character of the car used. Different types of spark plugs also have different ways to use. The first step to pick a suitable spark plug for your car’s engine is by understanding its different types.
The following are types of spark plugs that are currently available in the market, don't make the wrong choice:
Standard Spark Plugs
This type of spark plug is standard commonly used and is recommended by several car manufacturers in Indonesia. The advantage of this type of spark plug is a long service life and produces a stable car stationary. Standard spark plugs are optimal for low and medium engine speeds.
Platinum Spark plugs
This one is often referred to as semi racing spark plugs because the tip of the electrode is taper when compared to standard spark plugs. Platinum spark plugs are not too different from standard spark plugs, it's just that these spark plugs can provide more responsive power at low engine speed but shorter service life than standard spark plugs.
Iridium Spark plugs
Iridium spark plugs are racing spark plugs that run cool. The advantage of this type is that it can produce aggressive and high engine power at medium and high revolutions so that it is easier to reach top speed. This spark plug is not very suitable for daily use because it will cause the car’s stationary to be unstable. When iridium spark plugs are used in cars with standard engines and low compression, the service life of these spark plugs is very short.
How Does It Work?
The ignition coil generates high voltage electricity and flows through the spark plug head, which creates a difference in electric voltage on the sides and middle of the electrode. In this condition, however, there is no current flowing because there is an insulator in the gap that comes from the gas mixture of fuel and air.
The increasing voltage will change the gas structure and will ionize and change the gas into a conductor so that the current of electrons can pass through the gap. When the voltage exceeds 20,000 volts and the current of electrons continues to pass through the gap, the temperature will increase to 60,000 degrees Celsius.
At this time a spark will appear which will start all the combustion processes.
Signs of Troubled Car Spark Plug
Now that you’re informed of the function and the way spark plugs work, you must understand why a troubled car spark plug causes the car engine to stop working properly. The sparks produced by the spark plug will not be perfect and will interfere with combustion. In more severe cases, the spark plugs will not be able to create sparks and the engine will break down.
Circumstances like this will certainly cause an uncomfortable driving experience. In general, the life of a spark plug is around 45,000 km or it can be shorter depending on the type of spark plug used.
To avoid getting caught in an uncomfortable situation, it’s a good idea to pay attention to some signs that the spark plug is starting to have a problem.
When the Car is Idle
- Engine speed feels unusual and less smooth.
- There is an unusual vibration in the cabin.
- The gas feels heavier than usual.
When the Car is Running
- Car acceleration is somewhat hampered
- The car feels choked up and sometimes feels the engine surge
- Fuel consumption is more wasteful than usual
- The insulator turns a wet yellow-brown or green color
- There is a yellow coating on the spark plug
When the car dies
- The spark plug changes color
- Brownish is a sign that the spark plug is worn
- Yellow or reddish is a sign that the car is overheating
- Dark is a sign of incomplete engine combustion
To be able to use a spark plug more optimally, not only should you pay attention to the type of spark plug used, but we also urge you to take into account the following tips when choosing a spark plug.
1. The size of the spark plug
Ensure that the size, diameter, thread length, and length of the insulator are following the machine specifications and intended use. Do not use spark plugs of different sizes as they will cause serious engine problems ranging from overheating car to piston damage.
2. Spark plug heat number
Adjust the spark plug heat number with the car specifications. A spark plug that is too cold will result in carbon deposits (carbon fouling) on the spark plug. Conversely, a spark plug that is too hot will cause overheating.
The price of the spark plug depends on the type of spark plug used for your car's needs. Standard spark plugs generally range from Rp 10,000 to Rp 20,000. Standard cars for everyday use may install this type of spark plug.
If you want better acceleration, you can use platinum or semi racing spark plugs with a price range of Rp 20,000 - Rp 50,000. However, you should pay attention to the shorter service life than standard spark plugs.
Iridium spark plugs are for those who want to achieve the maximum performance of your car. This type of spark plug has a price in the range of Rp 50,000 - Rp 150,000. The use of iridium spark plugs that is suitable for the engine specifications can optimize the performance of your car.