Engine Maintenance

How to Inspect Your Spark Plug Wires (and Why It's Important)


Bookmark and Share

One of the most common reasons why your car will run badly or fail to start can begin with a problem in your spark plug wires. The spark plug wires are part of the main starting motion of your vehicle and if a spark plug wire is defective it will affect how your car starts or continues its journey. Spark plug wires are more often referred to as the high tension leads or HT leads. They are a non-moving component in your engine and therefore are not subject to the same wear and tear as other more active parts. Inspecting your spark plug wires during your monthly vehicle inspection will help to define any faults.

1 - Where to Start

You will notice that under the hood of your car there are quite a few wires, leads and pipelines. Recognizing your spark plug wires is quite easy. They are the black leads which connect between your engine block and the distributor cap. The distributor cap is a cylindrical cap which fits on to the distributor. The wires that come from the distributor are part of the starting process of your vehicle. You will notice that some wires are longer than others and they sort of twist around each other. It is always recommended that you make a mark on each of the spark plug wires so that they can be identified when they are removed. They must go back in the same order in which they were originally placed.

2 – Avoiding Starting Problems

If you are experiencing starting problems or running issues with your vehicle it is important to check the spark plug wires first. It may not be a problem with a wire being defective, but it could have come loose. Inside the wires are metallic conductors which attach to the spark plug tips. If the wire is loose it will not make a clean connection and your engine will fail to fire correctly or start and misfire. If you intend to change your spark plug wires you should make sure you get the part number from them and buy the exactly correct counterparts when you purchase a new spark plug wire set.

3 – Preventing Misfiring

Badly fitted or defective spark plug wires can affect many aspects of your engine performance, including your gas mileage. If you have experienced recent reductions in your fuel economy the spark plug wires are probably the first thing you should check. It is vitally imperative that you maintain good connections with your spark plug wires. If they come loose or cause problems it will interrupt your journey. If you have an arching spark plug wire, it can cause misfiring and shorting out.

4 - Why Should You Check Your Wires

You should check your wires for the reasons mentioned above. It is prudent to make sure that your car remains in good health. Inspection is also vital to your cars emissions. If you live in a place where emissions or smog testing is part of your cars legal obligation checks, your spark plug leads can cause you to fail the test if they are working incorrectly. Their poor behavior can hamper your exhaust system and damage your catalytic converter, which in turn will cause your emissions to rise.

Bookmark and Share