We all know that Spark Plugs are part of a magical process that creates explosions! Is there more to that? Yes, there is. Spark Plugs and Fuel work together to create combustion which is timely whilst generating as little waste as possible. The boffins back at the factory have already determined which spark plugs to use. Any changes to the tune will affect the overall effectiveness and yield, thereby requiring a re-evaluation of the spark plugs used.
Spark Plugs are very hot during operation and can easily ignite fuel thats being pumped into the combustion chamber. One term for this is Pre-Detonation. This is basically an uncontrolled explosion in the combustion chamber before the car actually wants it. It can be caused by a spark plug that is hot enough to ignite the fuel as it enters the chamber. When a spark plug is too hot, we call it a hot plug. An uncontrolled explosion anywhere else is already deadly. For it to happen in a combustion chamber, the weakest part of the assembly will give way – be it the rings, skirt or piston face.
The standard VAG spark plug servicing cycle is around 60Ks and will vary depending on the condition of the vehicle. During our safety inspection, we’ll drag them out for an inspection to ensure that it is working at its optimum, so no money is wasted on petrol and that leaves the engine unburnt. Spark Plugs that are not in good shape or in a good environment will lend itself to a car that vibrates ever so gently at odd intervals; Just like pop corn popping.
Colder Plugs prevent the Spark Plug itself from being the reason for Pre-Detonation. If you’ve got a different tune from Factory, you’ll want to make sure your plugs are the right heat range for the application. Doing so will ensure the healthiness of your vehicle.
We do caution people that going to a hotter spark plug can sometimes mask a serious symptom of another problem that can lead to engine damage. Be very careful with heat ranges. Seek professional guidance if you are unsure.
With modified engines (those engines that have increased their compression) more heat is a by-product of the added power that normally comes with increased compression. In short, select one heat range colder for every 75-100 hp you add, or when you significantly raise compression. Also remember to retard the timing a little and to increase fuel enrichment and octane. These tips are critical when adding forced induction (turbos, superchargers or nitrous kits), and failure to address all of these areas will virtually guarantee engine damage.
An engine that has poor oil control can sometimes mask the symptom temporarily by running a slightly hotter spark plug. While this is a “Band-Aid” approach, it is one of the only examples of when and why one would select
Come by Syncrowerkz to have a Spark Plug checkup.