The multi-talented Spark Plug
Everyone has heard of a spark plug, but what do they do?
Contrary to popular belief, it is the air inside your vehicle’s engine that does all the work. How can this be? Well, a small amount of gasoline is mixed with the air inside of a cylinder, and is then burned. This releases heat energy, which expands the air, pushing a piston downward. Ultimately, this force spins your wheels.
THE SPARK PLUG
So where does the spark plug fit in? Quite literally, at the top! Spark plugs are installed at the top of the cylinder, and are used to ignite the air and fuel mixture at precisely the right moment. If the timing is off, your engine might not perform as intended. This could mean increased emissions, decreased power or even physical damage over time.
A HARSH ENVIRONMENT
The tip of a spark plug has a rough life. For instance, the end of a spark plug must stay between 500˚C - 850˚C to remain clean. When a spark plug fires, it actually ionizes the gases between the points of its electrode, just like lightning striking the ground. It does this 15 - 25 times a second when cruising on the highway. It can take 25,000 Volts to make this happen - 200 times your household voltage!
Every time your spark plug fires, a small amount of material wears away. As this happens, the gap between the electrodes slowly widens. Your vehicle is designed to compensate for some wear, but ultimately, this gap continues to grow. Ensuring that this tolerance is maintained is the only way to guarantee consistent performance. Fortunately, your Maintenance Minder system will let you know when you need to replace your spark plugs. So before you are let down with poor performance, put the spark back in your vehicle’s engine!