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If you’ve ever had trouble starting your car, your first instinct was probably to pop open the trunk and grab your jumper cables. But not all starting problems are caused by a faulty battery. In fact, worn out or defective spark plugs are often the culprit. And while most drivers have some basic knowledge of car batteries, spark plugs are usually a little more mysterious.
So how long do spark plugs last? And how do you know how often to change spark plugs? Let’s cover some fast facts about this critical component in your vehicle.
What do spark plugs do? Maybe the most important task of all: they help the engine start. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the air/fuel mixture within the engine’s combustion chamber. So even if you have a well-oiled engine and a full tank of gas, you can’t use either of them without good spark plugs.
In modern vehicles, the dashboard is your best friend—with a series of warning lights that will let you know instantly when a problem occurs. That goes for spark plug issues, too. When a spark plug, spark plug wire or coil pack begins to fail, the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL), also called the Check Engine Light, may illuminate. In some cases, the light will even start flashing. This means that potentially catastrophic misfires are taking place, and you need to bring the vehicle in for service immediately.
Wondering how to tell if a spark plug is misfiring? Even before the MIL comes on, you may start to notice the signs of failing spark plugs. Defective spark plug symptoms can include problems with idling, acceleration, and fuel economy. Let’s look at a few in detail:
So, if good spark plugs are the key to avoiding these issues, how long do spark plugs last, exactly? The general rule of thumb about how often to change spark plugs is that they should be replaced after about 100,000 miles of driving. Your vehicle manufacturer likely recommends a specific interval, so review the suggested maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to see how often to change spark plugs in your make and model. Or consult the trained technicians at your local Jiffy Lube®, who can evaluate your vehicle and suggest a schedule based on manufacturer recommendations.
If the MIL comes on or you’re noticing the issues associated with faulty spark plugs, don’t hesitate to have your car serviced. Ignoring these telltale signs can cause major damage to your engine, which could require costly repairs. Instead, bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube® today. Your technician will be well-educated in the inner workings of your engine and can perform an inspection to evaluate your spark plugs and other vital components. Plus, they’ll complete any replacements or repairs as outlined by your vehicle manufacturer, helping ensure that your car is working exactly how it was designed.
Hopefully, spark plugs now feel a little less mysterious. And now that you know how often to change spark plugs, you can look forward to a smooth start every time you get in your vehicle.
If your car is losing performance, find out how you can benefit from a complete inspection and tune-up at your local Jiffy Lube®.
Having battery problems, too? Learn when to check your car battery and how to know if it needs to be replaced.
Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit jiffylube.com for specific services offered.