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The spark plugs in your vehicle’s engine are the key to top performance, good fuel economy and smooth running. A spark plug is a relatively simple device, but over the years they have been improved and now are state-of-the-art. Modern spark plugs can last up to five times as long as they did years ago. Modern spark plugs should last at least 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Some plugs can last over 75,000 miles.
The engine in your vehicle turns liquid gasoline into power. Each cylinder in your engine consists of a piston that moves up and down in the cylinder, a fuel system that mixes gasoline with air, and a mechanism to start the burning of the fuel in the cylinders. When the fuel burns, it expands and the pressure generated by the expanding fuel is what moves the pistons, and rotates the crankshaft which powers your car. When you are at highway speed, the normal engine speed is between 1,500 and 2,000 revolutions per minute. Every other revolution is a “Power Stroke”, which needs the spark plug to fire. Think of Spark Plugs as miniature lightning bolts that start the burning process in the cylinder. The spark is tiny, but they generate between 15,000 to as much as 35,000 volts.
Two major factors cause spark plugs to require service or replacement. Wear of the electrodes and build-up of carbon or other deposits on the tips. When this happens, the spark will not be hot enough to start the fuel burning in the cylinder. When this happens, there is a “Misfire” in the engine and the engine loses power and runs rough. Also, every Misfire is wasted fuel that is unburned and flows out the exhaust pipe. If the condition is severe enough the exhaust can overheat and possibly cause a fire. The “Spark” travels only about 25 thousandths of an inch, the thickness of a gift box cover, so it has a lot to do in a very short distance.
Allowing impurities to build up in the vehicle increases strain. It’s as simple as that. You want to avoid stalling on fuel system services for this very reason. That said, this is not something you need every month. On average, vehicles should have a fuel system service every 36 months or every 45,000 miles. That’s enough to keep things clean and stay ahead of worn fuel system parts.
Years ago, spark plugs were removed and cleaned once or sometimes twice a year. Today’s engines are more efficient and do not build up as much carbon deposits that older cars did. Spark plugs used to be made with copper electrodes, but modern plugs use Platinum or Platinum iridium which tolerates high voltages temperatures much better and lasts much longer. Despite their improved design and better materials, spark plugs do need replacement at the intervals listed in your owners manual.
Modern spark plugs are usually replaced rather than cleaned. A service checkup may be performed at 20,000-mile intervals to check the gap and overall condition of the plug. The plugs may not need replacing, but inspecting the plugs regularly is a necessary service. Complete spark plug replacement means removing all the plugs, replacing them with new parts, and a complete check of the ignition system. Be cautious of very low priced tune-ups and plugs. There is a very wide range in price and quality of spark plugs, and a bargain that will not last as long as a factory original will cost more in the long run. If your vehicle has more than 20,000 miles, contact your Honda Dealer and have the service manager advise you if service is needed. In the Sioux Falls SD region, Vern Eide Honda is an excellent choice for any type of service you may require.
Vern Eide Honda, South Louise Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD, USA