How to Troubleshoot Your Spark Plugs

A motor vehicle requires spark plugs if it makes use of an internal combustion engine to work. As their name suggests, they're the ones that help create the sparks needed to combust fuel into energy that makes the car move.

They don't blast the sparks themselves but instead transmit the electrical signals to the combustion chamber that produces the sparks. The sparks then kindle and ignite the air-fuel mixture in the chamber, resulting in combustion that ultimately moves your vehicle forward.

Without the plugs, the engine might not start altogether because the fuel won't burn as efficiently. With that said, here's how you should go about checking your spark plugs to see if they're working fine or not.

How to Check The Health of Your Spark Plugs

  • Pre-Ignition Checkups: How do you check if your spark plugs are firing without igniting them? Look at them. There might be a problem if their side electrode is burnt. Otherwise, they're probably running fine. A burnt side electrode usually comes about if the plug fires too quickly and doesn't give enough time for fuel to be transmitted into the air-fuel mixture of the combustion chamber. This condition requires quick attention and acknowledgement before the plugs themselves fail altogether, thus necessitating their replacement.
  • Look into the Side Electrode and Plug Tip: If your plug tip or side electrode has turned black, then that means they're running with too much fuel. This should also indicate bad wiring or leaky injectors. At any rate, it's a spark-plug-related problem. The cleaning process and burning rate has been compromised due to the combustion procedure not running at a natural pace, resulting in these symptoms.
  • Examine the Spark Plug Wiring: Use a digital multimeter in order to measure the resistance of the spark plug. From there, you should be able to surmise if they're working properly or not. Each foot of a wire you can get your hands on should have a resistance of 10,000 ohms to 15,000 ohms. If you're getting a resistance reading that's beyond that range, you may be dealing with bad wiring. Even a hairline crack or rupture somewhere can cause total spark plug failure that shoots the resistance from infinity and beyond.
  • Check the Sparks Themselves: Aside from checking the condition of the spark plugs, you should also check the spark plugs themselves. You can tell by the color of the sparks whether the plugs are working or not. Take off the spark plug but keep plugged to the cable. From there, ground it onto the frame then start your motor. If it's yielding a blue spark then it's working. If it's instead yielding a yellow spark or no spark at all then it's time for you to get a spark replacement.

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