How To Test And Clean Spark Plugs?

Spark plugs are one of the key components which are responsible for making your engine run smoothly which is why it is important to maintain them and keep them in good shape. A lot of people are hesitant when it comes to testing or cleaning the spark plugs but it is important for everyone to know how it is done. In this guide, we will explain in a simple manner how you can easily test whether your vehicle’s spark plugs are in a proper shape and also how you can clean the spark plugs.



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How to test Spark Plugs?


There are several symptoms that can give you a hint that your car’s spark plugs are due for a change, for example, engine misfiring, poor fuel economy, vehicle jerking while starting are all signs of a bad spark plug. However, to be fully sure, you need to examine the spark plug visually. Upon visual inspection, if you notice that the spark plug has a lot of brown-colored carbon buildup or it appears to be shiny at the tip then there’s a high chance that it needs to be replaced. Besides testing visually, you can use a specialized device called a multi-meter to check the resistance of the spark plug wires to see if it is functioning properly. If the resistance is higher than 15,000 ohms then it is probably faulty. Another device called a spark plug tested is easily available in the market for up to $10 and it is used to check if there is an electric current capable of generating a spark.

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How to clean the Spark Plugs?


On average, a spark plug gives about a good 20,000 to 30,000 miles depending on the vehicle and driving style. It is essential to replace the spark plug after a while but sometimes when you do not have an extra at your disposal, you can clean the current spark plug to extend its lifespan by an additional thousand miles or so.


Once you have located and removed the spark plug, first use a can of compressed air to remove any debris and particles that you see. Next, locate the tip of the plug and with a small amount of rubbing alcohol, gently clean the area and let it sit for a minute. If you have a plastic brush, use it to rub deeply to remove any particles then leave the spark plug to dry. It is not recommended to use an abrasive but if the debris is too hard to remove, use 220 grit sandpaper to gently scrub off the dirt.


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If you do not have enough technical knowledge, it is better to take your vehicle to an expert for cleaning your sparkplug. However, it is generally recommended that you replace the sparkplug after every 30,000 – 50,000 miles for a better drive.



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