Without spark plugs, or properly functioning ones, the air-fuel mixture in your vehicle would not ignite. If that spark does not occur in your engine, there is no power. It’s important to know the warning signs of worn-out spark plugs.

The spark plug is a part under your hood that receives wear and tear from day one. Mechanics often refer to the spark plug as “the business end of the ignition system.” Without your spark plugs firing properly, your ignition system is seriously at risk of failing to run properly.

When is it time to change your worn-out spark plugs and what are some warning signs that they need replacing?

Wear and tear

Spark plugs are four-fifths worn out at the 80,000-mile mark. However, before hitting that number, you should have them inspected. Their advice is to have them looked at around every 30,000 miles. If you are getting your oil changed at that mark, it is always good to have a mechanic take a look at your spark plugs then.

Hard to start

One of the most obvious signs of dying spark plugs is when your car has difficulty starting. If your spark plugs are not producing the spark needed to fire the engine, this can be the reason your car is not starting. Many times a dead battery is wrongly assumed as the problem. However, it could be a spark plug issue.

A need for speed

If your vehicle has difficulty accelerating, it may be due to your faulty spark plugs. Experts warn that delayed reactions and a lack of response is a warning sign that your spark plugs may need to be replaced. Your vehicle’s sluggishness could be its way of telling you to look under the hood.

Poor fuel economy

Motoringabout.com says your vehicle’s fuel economy “decreases by up to 30% due to incomplete combustion.” If you are stopping at the gas pump more than normal, yet still driving the same number of miles, have your mechanic check your spark plugs. It may be time to get a new set.

Surging, jerking, and pulling engines

If a vehicle’s engine is working inefficiently due to bad spark plugs, it will cause the car, truck, or SUV to jerk, start and stop, or surge. When a vehicle surges unexpectedly due to misfiring spark plugs, you put yourself in danger during times of high traffic.

Misfiring engine

When your vehicle’s engine misfires, it simply means that it stumbles and then must catch up with itself. How often this occurs depends on the problem with the spark plugs. Experts at Pep Boys explains that “misfiring will cause increased exhaust emissions, reduced fuel economy and reduced engine power.”

The excess raw fuel that enters your exhaust can overheat and severely damage your catalytic converter. Getting your spark plugs replaced at the first signs of misfiring can prevent you from spending far more on having a new catalytic converter installed. The average cost for a new catalytic converter and labor is between $763 and $1,279.

Rough idle

One final sign of bad spark plugs is a rough idle. When stationary, a vehicle will idle and your engine will produce about 1000rpm. If your spark plugs are worn out, your vehicle will not idle in a constant, smooth way. Rather, the engine will be rough and jittery. You will also feel a vibration through your vehicle during its idle.

It all adds up

The national average for getting your spark plugs changed is between $192 and $267. Compared to fixing the other problems that may occur due to worn-out spark plugs, that is a drop in the bucket. Also, we consider this a moderately easy service to perform yourself.

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