What Spark Plug Deposits Can Tell Us About Possible Car Problems?

Spark plugs are among the most important car parts and they are essential for good ignition and combustion performance. Good quality spark plugs ensure smoother engine performance and improved fuel economy. If our car doesn’t run smoothly, the overall economy could be significantly impaired. We could experience stunted acceleration and misfires. In this case, we should be able to make sure that we have a good spark plug. A “normal” working spark plug that we recently pull out from the engine may have a slightly worn off electrode with a body that looks grayish tan or brown in color. It should still be able to provide proper heat range and operating condition for our car. When we want o replace the spark plug, it is important to make sure that we use the similar heat range.

Spark plugs conditions can tell us about problems that affect our car. As an example, if there’s carbon deposit on our car, indicated by dry sooty deposits, it is possible that we have weak ignition or rich mixture. This problem could cause our engine to hesitate when accelerating and have hard starts. In this case, we should check the car for various problems, such as worn ignition points, high float level, sticky choke and clogged air filter. Spark plugs with longer core nose may give better anti-fouling performance.

Another indication that we can get from the spark plug is the ask deposits. This could happen when we see light brown deposits at the center or sides of the electrodes. These deposits could be caused by oil additives or fuel. When the problem is more serious, the ash could cover the spark plug, causing misfires and hesitation. If we have this problem, it is probably a good idea to replace the valve guide seals. The new seal will prevent oil from entering into the combustion chamber and burnt along with the air-fuel mixture.

We may also have oil deposits on the spark plugs and this could indicate that we have improper oil control. Like the problem above, the oil could go past the piston ring or worn valve guides into the combustion chamber. When it happens, we could have hard starts, engine hesitation and misfires. We could fix this condition by installing new plugs, replacing seals and make other necessary repairs.

Pulling the spark plugs should be an easy thing to do with proper knowledge and tools. Deposits could tell us the probable conditions of our car and we could bring it to the mechanic’s shop for further inspection.