The Spark Plug & Turbos

Spark Plugs

171 years ago the first known spark plug was invented by Edmond Berger, historians say. Unfortunately, Berger failed to patent his spark plug invention, so documented history points to Sir Oliver Lodge of England, whose sons parlayed the “Lodge Igniter” into a profitable company founded in 1903.

Most engines have the same number of spark plugs as they do cylinders. So if you have a 4 cylinder engine you have four spark plugs. The exception is the HEMI & some ford engines which have 2 spark plugs per cylinder.

Spark plugs are not something that we tend to think about, perhaps we might even forget they exist because they have such a long lasting life.   The tiny spark plug is still a major part of the engine’s performance.  If you remember your junior high science then you recall how the spark plug operates.   The plug creates a spark to ignite the fuel and gas mixture that is in the combustion chamber.    The spark plug’s other job is to also transfer heat away from the combustion chamber.

When a spark plug is wearing out you may experience misfiring, jerking & you may see a decline in fuel economy. Spark plugs are also very susceptible to fouling from the gummy residue left in our gas, this will give the same symptoms. The reason why fuel economy may decline is that the fuel is not burning, just going out the tail pipe as wasted energy. This can happen more often with small short trips that don’t allow the spark plug time to get hot enough to burn off all the impurities.  When misfiring occurs too much gas is entering the exhaust system. This in turn creates higher heat levels and could lead to the meltdown of catalytic converter parts as it “afterburns” the left over fuel. The most cost effective maintenance of this system is the AutoTrust Supreme BG fuel and air induction system cleaning.

If you have a car with a turbocharged engine you will have to change your spark plugs quite a bit sooner than a car with a naturally aspirated engine. A couple of examples I found were the Chevy Cruze 1.4L turbo engine which requires the plugs be changed at 96,000 kms vs other engines at 156,000km. In the Ford Eco Boost turbo engine requires spark plugs be changed at 96,000km vs 120,000 in none turbo engines.

The reason for having to change the spark plugs sooner in a turbo charged engine is due to how much more heat they have to endure.   This will cause them to ultimately wear out sooner. Manufacturers are leaning towards turbo charged engines because they can get more power out of a smaller engine.   Smaller engines also mean better fuel economy which is a priority in today’s world.  A more economic engine that has been turbo charged does mean more preventative maintenance is required to keep it in great shape.  So as an automotive consumer that we all are, it’s good to know that if we buy a vehicle with a turbo we need to do a bit more preventive maintenance to keep our vehicle in tip top shape. Turbos get very hot, and will oxidize the oil, plugging up the system.

This is why your car care specialist at AutoTrust use BG MOA additive in all our engine oil services.

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