Spark Your Engines | What are Spark Plugs, and what do they do?

We are only going to discuss gasoline engines. Mainly because diesel-powered vehicles do not employ spark plugs. A spark plug is a device for delivering electrical current from the ignition system to the ignition engine's combustion chamber to ignite the compressed fuel/air mixture by an electric spark while containing the engine's combustion pressure. 

The spark plug has a threaded metal shell electrically isolated by a ceramic insulator from the central electrode. The central electrode, which may contain a resistor, is connected by a heavily insulated wire to the ignition coil or magnet output terminal. The spark plug's metal housing is screwed into the engine's cylinder head and thus electrically ground. The central electrode protrudes through the porcelain insulator into the combustion chamber, forming one or more spark gaps between the central electrode's inner end and usually one or more bumps or structures attached to the inner end of the threaded shell and identified by side, earth, or ground electrodes.

How does a Spark Plug work?

To turn the fuel in your car from a source of potential energy into a source of kinetic energy, your engine needs to find a way to release it, and it does so through the process of combustion. 

The engine cycle is what makes the process happen. Your valves will fill your cylinder with a mixture of air and fuel that is highly explosive when combined during your engine cycle. As the piston in your engine moves upward, it compresses this mixture until it is in a minimal space, creating even more potential energy. At the height of this compression, your engine ignites this mixture with a small spark, creating an explosion that forces the piston back down, turning the crankshaft in your engine and creating the power that makes your car move forward.

Generally, your spark plugs are made of extremely durable material and are capable of withstanding millions and millions of explosions before they are worn out or need to be replaced. But it is true that over time, explosions and corrosion lead to smaller or weaker sparks, leading to reduced efficiency in your engine, and could lead to other issues, including misfire or failure to fire.

Benefits of a Performance Spark Plug

  • If a worn-out spark plug powers your engine, it will not run as efficiently as intended. If you replace these faulty plugs with a set of fresh plugs, your engine will run smoothly and require less effort to keep the combustion process going. This will result in increased fuel efficiency over the long term. 
  • If you notice that your ride isn't as peppy as it usually is when you step onto the gas pedal, you may need to replace your spark plugs. Healthy spark plugs maximize the process of combustion in your engine, giving you smooth, responsive acceleration. 
  • Fully functioning spark plugs provide sufficient ignition to stimulate the combustion process of your engine. When spark plugs become defective, they cause your engine to run rougher than usual, resulting in symptoms such as a rough idle. Replacing tired plugs with a set of new plugs will ease your idleness.

Iridium Spark Plugs

The best spark plugs on the market feature iridium construction. Iridium spark plugs give you even better gas mileage, performance, reliability, and durability than double-platinum plugs. These plugs are priced higher than the copper and platinum options due to the advanced material and innovative technology integrated into the iridium spark plugs. Iridium spark plugs are perfect for use on high-performance engines.

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