How Long Can You Drive With Bad Spark Plugs? [Symptoms and Fixes]

If your spark plugs are unclean, clogged, or damaged, your engine’s performance may suffer. You’re likely wondering how long can you drive with bad spark plugs. In terms of mileage, the answer is often 80,000 miles.

So, always check your spark plugs as part of your engine tune-up. After all, these tiny spark plugs are responsible for a significant amount of work.

Watch out for these spark plug symptoms to learn why it’s crucial to keep this part of your car in good functioning order.

Bad Spark Plugs Symptoms  

Spark plugs in your engine should be clean with no damage to the electrodes. This spark plug will make your engine run at its best.

If your spark plugs aren’t clean, your engine may not function well. An oil, petrol, or carbon-covered spark plug is a bad one. One that has blistered because of too much heat is also bad.

A car with bad spark plugs can show the following signs and symptoms.

Sudden Drop in Fuel Economy

If it seems like you’re making more journeys to the petrol station, that is already a symptom of a bad spark plug. Spark plugs that are filthy or clogged might cause a dramatic decline in fuel economy.

Lack of Car Acceleration

If your car has lost its speed and strength, it may be due to faulty spark plugs. A fouled or filthy spark plug might cause your automobile to run sluggish. So, it’s vital to keep it clean as much as possible.

Trouble Starting Your Vehicle

Are you having difficulties starting your car? Bad spark plugs could be the cause rather than a dead battery or a low gas tank.

If you don’t have a spark to start the combustion process, you won’t be able to get anywhere.

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Car Engine Misfire

Bad spark plugs may be why an engine misfires rather than running smoothly. It can directly impact the engine’s performance if the combustion process is disrupted.

Sound Rough While Idling

Engines with well-functioning spark plugs produce a consistent, even tone. While idle, a fouled spark plug makes your engine seem sluggish. You may also notice some vibrations in the car.

Replacing Bad Spark Plug in Your Car: Here’s how

YouTube video

Chris will demonstrate how to replace your spark plugs and wires in your automobile or truck in this video. It will show you when your spark plugs need to be replaced.

This video also explains how to choose the greatest and most appropriate spark plug for your engine and how to gap it properly.

The YouTuber will also show you how to use the various gapping tools. This video will also go over several tips and tactics for easily removing and installing spark plugs and wires.

You’ll also learn whether anti-seize and dielectric grease are appropriate.

This video guide will cover every aspect of spark plug and wire replacement in one video. So, certainly, you’ll find every second of watching it very helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can you still drive with bad spark plugs?

It’s better not to drive with a blown spark plug. You’re probably not going to be able to get it out since the heat has welded it in place.

In that case, you’ll need to remove the coil and inductor wires from the blown spark plug so that it’s deactivated and won’t damage the engine.

Disconnect the spark plug wires, disconnect the electrical current to that spark plug, and take your vehicle to the mechanic shop.

Can misfire damage the engine?

Driving with a cylinder misfire might cause various problems for your engine. It will eventually destroy the pistons and cylinders. The catalytic converter will be the first to suffer when your engine misfires.

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Unburned fuel will enter the catalytic converters as a result, and as your engine struggles to run, the heat generated will rapidly build, causing the converters to fail.

What happens if you don’t change bad spark plugs?

If spark plugs are not replaced, they will degrade over time, causing various engine problems. The following are some of the specific issues:

  • Lower levels of fuel economy
  • Inadequate acceleration
  • Unstable idling or stopping
  • Engine running less smoothly or not running at all

Spark plugs are recommended to be replaced before their performance deteriorates.

Can faulty spark plugs stop the car while driving?

The spark plugs ignite the combustion that powers an automobile’s engine in a gasoline-powered vehicle. Your car may come to a halt if something prevents the spark plugs from doing their job properly.

After all, worn-out spark plugs won’t generate enough spark to ignite the gasoline combination. You may have a short time to drive to the local car repair shop to have the plugs replaced.

They will start to deliver weak sparks before their maximum mileage, so the ride will not be smooth.

How to start your car with a bad spark plug?

So, how will you start your automobile if your spark plugs are bad? Here are all of the solutions that will help you solve the problem.

1. Make A Gap In Your Spark Plugs

The distance between the center and the ground electrode is the gap. Gapping the spark plug is required for proper electron transmission from the combustion cylinder.

Reduced acceleration power, rough idling, and engine reluctance are early warning indications of an improperly gapped spark plug.

When the gap is too narrow or too large, it might create engine misfires, making it difficult to start your automobile.

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As a result, narrowing or enlarging the gap will play an important part in ensuring a steady energy supply to the operating engine.

To gap your spark plug, start by looking up the recommended distance between the electrodes in the owner’s manual.

2. Remove Any Oil Or Carbon Buildup

The sparking plug is in charge of transforming the compressed fuel mixture into the necessary power for your car’s engine to start. Generally, the spark plug electrodes are where the combustion takes place.

Over time, oil and carbon residue buildup on the sparking plug electrodes prevents your automobile from starting due to unequal electron transmission.

Poor fuel filters and excessive idling hours are two common causes of oil and carbon buildup on your car.

Additionally, oil and carbon residue cause black soot on your spark plug electrodes. Because the electrical currents are not transmitted properly, soot affects the efficiency of your car’s spark plugs.

To avoid this problem, first scraping the covered area with sandpaper or a wire brush will help clear the carbon dust. After washing, use a car cleaner to remove the debris and allow the spark plug dry before replacing it.

3. Examine Spark Plug Wire End

If your automobile doesn’t start, look at the end of the spark plug wire. The end of the sparking plug wire that links the terminal to the vehicle ignition coil is known as the sparking plug wire end. Your automobile won’t start if the spark plug wire isn’t properly connected.

4. Repair Or Replace Cracked Cylinder Head

Another approach to starting your automobile with damaged spark plugs is to seal the cracked cylinder.

For starters, a cylinder chamber is where fuel mixture compression generates sparks, which flow via plug electrodes.

The cylinder head may be faulty, resulting in lesser ignition power. Engine overheating, oil contamination, and misfiring are signs of a damaged cylinder head.

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You should purchase a sealer to protect the fractured area from fixing the defects created by the cracked cylinder.

Additionally, the sealer will close the pressure escape pathways, allowing for complete compression of the fuel mixture and sufficient power for your engine.

5. Spark Plug Preheating

Cold temperatures influence the electrodes of a fouled spark plug, preventing enough energy production from igniting the engine.

Because the electron currents are insufficiently provided, you will have difficulty starting your car.

When a car fails to start, several automobile owners have admitted that preheating the spark plug to ignite the engine helps.

Is driving a car with missing spark slugs safe?

In a single-cylinder car, a damaged or missing spark plug will not affect starting or running of the petrol engine. The chemical energy in fuel cannot be converted to heat by the car unless a spark plug is present.

So, yes, your automobile can still run with a missing spark plug, but the crank will be unstable.

Finally, if your vehicle has a diesel engine, the answer is definitely yes; diesel engines are designed to operate without a spark plug.

How often should you change your spark plugs?

In general, you should replace your spark plugs after approximately 80.000~100,000 miles of driving. Your owner’s manual should help you determine how often your vehicle’s manufacturer advises changing the spark plugs.

How often should you change your spark plugs

What causes bad spark plugs?

Visit your mechanic if you see any of these signs of a failed spark plug. Your mechanic will be able to examine if a bad spark plug is the root of your problem.

The following are the possible causes of bad spark plugs.

  • Improper spark plug gap
  • Oiled up the combustion chamber
  • Overheating
  • Buildup of carbon

What does a faulty spark plug sound like?

A broken spark plug might make a harsh sound when your engine idles. Your vehicle may also tremble as a result of the sound. It’s most likely a spark plug issue when a cylinder misfires only when the engine is running.

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Remember that it’s possible that your engine is running rough, even though it’s been given fresh gasoline, or that it’s completely silent.

Can spark plugs trigger the check engine light?

Your check engine light on your car may light up due to worn spark plugs, indicating there’s a problem. This event happens because faulty spark plugs might be causing your engine to misfire, resulting in the check engine light turning on.

The following are some other signs of faulty spark plugs:

  • Idling in a rough manner
  • Struggle in going faster
  • Higher level of exhaust emissions
  • Difficulty starting your car
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Generally poor vehicle performance

Wrap Up

Remember that when your automobile doesn’t start, it could be due to old or broken spark plugs. These tiny spark plugs have a remarkable job in making sure your vehicle moves.

So, it’s crucial to keep this component of your car in good condition. Stay safe on the road and have fun driving.

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