What is the purpose of spark plugs

spark plug

The spark plug is an essential part of the gasoline engine. It ensures that the mixture of gasoline and air provided by the carburetor or injection system is ignited. In contrast to the diesel engine, which is a self-igniter, the gasoline engine would not work without spark plugs.

How the spark plug works

Every cylinder in a vehicle has one spark plug, sometimes two. The spark plug consists of a thread in which there is a ceramic insulator with a metal core. The ground electrode is attached to the thread, while the center electrode is located inside the metal core. Separated by the ceramic insulator, the spark must now jump from the ground to the center electrode. Only then is the heat generated enough to ignite the fuel mixture. The ignition creates an explosion pressure in the chamber, which provides the basis for driving the engine.

The spark plug - so small and yet so important

The spark plug ignites the mixture between 500 and 3,500 times per minute. That alone is a lot of stress, plus the constant extreme heat and the spark jump. This also represents a kind of self-cleaning at the same time, because the high heat causes any residues to be burned off at the same time, but even the most robust candle has its limits here. As a rule, spark plugs last about 60,000 km, iridium plugs even up to 90,000 km. Thanks to their simple and compact design, they can also be exchanged without any problems. It should only be ensured that the spark plugs exactly meet the specifications in the manual, as some of them are very specific. For example, the heat value indicates how well heat can be transported away from the engine, and this is specifically adapted to the vehicle.