Two Ways Your Spark Plug Wires Could Be Wrecking Your Performance

Your car’s engine could be in tip-top shape with all systems running perfectly, but if there’s a single problem in one of your spark plug wires, it could bring the whole engine to a screeching halt. Well, maybe not a screeching halt. But it will certainly have a negative effect on your engine’s performance. You simply won’t be getting as much out of it as you could be. Let’s take a look at some of the problems you might encounter with your spark plug wires.

One thing that can happen to spark plug wires is cracking. You probably know this, but your engine can generate a lot of heat. I mean a LOT of heat. Everything under your hood has to exist in this high temperature environment. Over time, some materials start to break down, even if they were designed for the heat. This includes the rubber used in your spark plug wire’s insulation and the boots on each end. If these materials become cracked, it could allow electrical current to leak from the wire. The result is that the spark plug wouldn’t fire hot enough to ignite the fuel in your engine. Cracked spark plug wires can cause misfires and knocking, while totally wrecking your fuel economy.

Increased resistance is another problem that can happen with spark plug wires. Again, the longer they are used, the more likely you are to face this problem. Resistance refers to the natural quality that materials have to impede the flow of electricity. Obviously, you want electricity to flow as freely as possible between your coil and your spark plugs. Good spark plug wires have low resistance when they are new, but the resistance can rise over time with use. Above a certain level, the spark from the coil may not make it to the spark plug, again leading to misfires.

To diagnose either of these issues, you need to remove your spark plug wires. Cracking can be found by a visual inspection. Check the resistance with a digital multimeter. If you find cracks or high resistance in any wire, replace all of them.

1 comment to Two Ways Your Spark Plug Wires Could Be Wrecking Your Performance

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