Car Spark Plugs: Functions – How They Work and Its Types

The spark plug is a part of an engine that is very important to how it burns fuel. Spark plugs are tiny and comprise many parts, such as terminals, ceramic insulators, gaskets, insulator tips, etc.

The primary purpose of a car’s spark plugs is to help the mixture of gasoline and compressed air burn by making the piston move. So it makes sense that spark plugs are so crucial in a car.

Car Spark Plug Function

Although small in size, it turns out that car spark plugs have an essential function for a car. And here are some car spark plug functions that you need to know!

1. Helping the Gasoline Burning Process

The first thing a spark plug does is help burn gasoline or fuel. Gasoline that has been pushed together by the piston will flow to the spark plug, where it will be burned. The power that moves the car engine comes from the combustion of gasoline or fuel.

2. Electric Spark Generator

Spark plugs not only help fuel burn, but they can also make electricity with a certain amount of power. The spark plug generates electricity from the friction between the electrode and the ignition coil.

Sparks will come out of the spark plug gap when the parts rub against each other. So it makes sense that the gap between the spark plugs has much to do with how much spark power is used to burn gasoline.

When the car engine is turned on, and the spark plug is brought close to the metal, there will be a spark. The spark happens because the surface of the electric circuit gets hot.

3. Help Start the Car Engine

A car’s spark plugs do some of the abovementioned things and help start the engine. Without spark plugs, a car will be hard to start and won’t work as well as it could.

So, it is essential to check the condition of the car’s spark plugs often. If the spark plugs are dirty or broken for too long, they will hurt the way the engine works.

4. Maintain Car Engine Stability

The condition of the spark plug significantly affects how well or how well other parts of the car engine work. So, spark plugs should be changed often if they have a lot of dirt on the ends.

Using a suitable spark plug, the car’s engine can stay stable. On the other hand, if the car’s spark plugs are dirty, the combustion process will be messed up, which can make the engine stutter or even break.

5. As a Battery Reserve

Maybe many people don’t know that spark plugs can also be used as a battery backup, significantly when the car battery has been damaged.

This is because, at the center of the spark plug, there is an electrode connected to the cable to the ignition coil. Later the section will generate electricity.

How Car Spark Plugs Work

Spark plugs work in a broad sense by causing combustion and also an electric voltage. The spark plug is connected to the engine by an electric current that flows through the spark plug head.

The ignition coil makes this current. Later, there will be a difference in the electrode voltage on the side and the middle.

But in this case, there will be no current because a gas mixture of fuel and air in the gap acts as an insulator. As the voltage keeps going up, it changes the structure of the gas, which then ionizes and becomes a conductor, letting the current electron move through the gap.

When the voltage exceeds 20,000 volts, and the electron current has gone through the gap, the temperature will rise until it reaches 60,000 degrees Celsius. When this happens, sparks will fly, which will start the car engine’s combustion process.

Of course, the spark plug can’t be used as a backup battery all the time. If you keep trying to force it, the spark plug will be damaged quickly, and you’ll have to replace it.

Types of Car Spark Plugs

Car spark plugs are available in various types with different functions. Types of car spark plugs that need to be known include:

1. Standard Spark Plug

Car Spark Plugs

Ordinary or standard spark plugs are made of copper and are a type of car spark plug. Factory standard spark plugs are a type of regular spark plug.

Many people say that this spark plug doesn’t help speed up in any way. This is because the way it works has been changed to fit the general needs of vehicles or cars used every day.

Even so, regular spark plugs last longer and make a car’s engine run more steadily. This spark plug is highly recommended for only low- to medium-speed engines.

2. Platinum Spark Plug

Car Spark Plugs

Platinum spark plugs are a kind of spark plug for a car made of platinum. These hot spark plugs are also called semi-racing spark plugs because they are made to be sharper. Using these spark plugs isn’t much different from regular spark plugs, but the power is much more responsive at lower rpm.

Platinum spark plugs don’t last as long as other spark plugs. Most platinum spark plugs only last 3–4 years when used in a car daily. This is because the engine’s mechanism for speeding up is not stable.

Still, platinum spark plugs have the advantage of being able to stop the carbon process. This means that all the engine parts can work at their best.

3. Iridium Spark Plug

Car Spark Plugs

If spark plugs made of platinum are hot, then spark plugs made of iridium are cold. This spark plug is made for high-performance cars, so you shouldn’t use it in a vehicle you drive daily.

This spark plug has a faster rate of acceleration than the two types that came before it. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the tip of the electrode is tapered. This is done so that the sparks can spread out evenly.

Compared to other types of spark plugs, iridium spark plugs last longer. When a car’s mileage interval reaches 10,000 km, the spark plugs can be changed. This spark plug is excellent for sports cars designed to go fast.

Iridium spark plugs make a lot of power and don’t need a lot of electrical voltage to do it. Iridium spark plugs are, of course, more expensive than car spark plugs.

These are some things car owners need to know about how spark plugs work. If the car’s spark plug isn’t working right, you should replace it immediately to keep the engine running smoothly. It could be helpful.