Understanding and Taking Care of Spark Plugs

When it comes to automotive components, size certainly does not determine importance. Spark plugs may be a small part, but they play a big role in the ability of your BMW to function. Let’s get acquainted with them so that you can spot problems and deal with them properly!

What Do Spark Plugs Do?

For how small they are, spark plugs are pretty tireless workers in the complex system of chemical and electromechanical reactions that keep your BMW running. Essentially, they provide the bursts of electricity that lead to combustion of the air-fuel mixer in your cylinders. The cylinders in a reciprocating engine need this combustion to happen thousands of times per minute to keep that crankshaft going. As a matter of necessity, spark plugs are powerful components designed to hold up to extreme heat and pressure while they receive electricity from their respective coils. However, like any part, they don’t last forever.

What Do They Affect?

The tiny explosions that take place during each combustion cycle may seem like a small element in the overall system of an engine, but the role of a spark plug is so fundamental that its performance affects many larger factors. Timing and precision are everything in the engine of a vehicle. The spark plug needs to cover a highly precise distance in order to zap the air-fuel mixture, and this also needs to happen at a highly precise moment. If the spark plug isn’t functioning as it should, then early ignition, misfires, and other issues can contribute to poor fuel economy, accelerated wear and tear to engine components, and other pesky problems.

Replacement Time

As always, everything boils down to a matter of attentiveness and maintenance. The longer you allow a spark plug to go without being replaced, the harder you’re pushing the limits of your engine. So how do you know when it’s time? Sound and feel are two big factors. Rattling, knocking, and difficult starts or acceleration are things to watch out for. Buildup of deposits on the plugs over time means that you should stay informed as to the quality and longevity of the brand you’ve chosen. Follow the recommendations of a certified BMW technician, and when you notice something’s off, don’t hesitate to take it in!

Do your spark plugs need replacing? No matter what your BMW needs, whether it’s a small part of a big concern, the Motorwerkes team is here to help. Give Calgary’s most dedicated BMW specialists a call at (403) 453-0269 to make an appointment or ask a question today!