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Fix that Spark Plug, How to Handle Oil on Spark Plugs Threads

Fix that Spark Plug, How to Handle Oil on Spark Plugs Threads

Spark plugs supply the spark to get you started on the road. The little things that are put off today could cause the greatest of tomorrow’s troubles. Say you are on the road, hurrying for work and an unprecedented event happens where your car is not able to start well or not even able to move at all, what would you do? Reading spark plugs have been a great characteristic of mechanics everywhere. Looking through and being able to read what these plugs may mean (depending on how they look when we see them) do not really need a professional or a veteran. All one needs is effort to search for information. These plugs are undeniably indispensable parts of the ignition system. Without them, the vehicle will not be able to start or even perform in its optimum performance. One of the many questions car owners ask concerning the well-being of their vehicle is about the oil on the spark plug threads. 

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There are still many things that cannot be examined by the naked eye but a little tweaking here and there may just do the trick to save you more bucks that you could then spend for something else.


First things first, you have to understand as the driver that spark plugs not only play a huge role in the ignition system but these plugs are also responsible for the maintenance of the temperatures in the combustion chamber. Simply speaking, these little power reservoirs not only supply the amount of power sufficient to start the engine but they also are the ones handling the power that keeps the engine going. The combustion process is a meticulous process that relies so much on the temperature. If the temperature supplied from the ignition system is too low, then the vehicle you will be using will not be able to perform as well as it should. The worst part would be if the car then does not move at all.


In addition, the other way around the above mentioned scenario is not desirable as well. If the temperature from the ignition system is too high, it will produce a pre-ignition which occurs when the fuel of the engine suddenly ignites and the spark plugs have not yet fired. Normally, spark plugs are durable. They were made for the heat. And though small, they serve their purpose well. But there will also be times that the longevity of the plugs will be threatened as oil gathers in the plugs and threads. This worries most drivers as an oily plug may mean trouble for the engine that may cost bigger in the long run if not solved immediately.


One fascinating word is spark. When we hear this word, what do we think about? You may think of a sudden flash or a quick pressure or anything that starts and that is exactly what the spark plug does. No spark would automatically mean then there would be no ignition (no start), and without this there would also be no combustion. And you may wonder what is wrong. And that is completely understandable. If you go ahead and take the time to read your plugs and find oil deposits in them, you can move forward to diagnosing the problem.


Why is there oil on the threads of my spark plugs?

You might have gotten some time to check on your car this weekend, or you may be one of those who makes regular check-ups on the vehicle a point (which is good for you and for your car by the way). Whether you are one or the other or someone in between, you may notice something about the ignition starters, the plugs. So what causes oil to gather in the plugs? In most case scenarios, oil on the plugs are caused by another small part of the engine malfunctioning. This rather tiny component is called the toric joint, most commonly known as the O-ring. The O-ring functions as the seal that prevents the oil from leaking into the combustion chamber.  Although this oil problem is common to the older cars, newer cars are not the exception so it will save you a great deal of time and money to check your engine.

Although the problem with the oil in the plugs is pinpointed to the O-rings, there are also other factors why this is so. If worse comes to worse, this will reveal some more problems on other parts of the vehicle that need your attention. One of the things that may be going wrong inside your vehicle are the Piston compression rings. If these rings are cracked or are defective, the oil will undoubtedly leak inside the plug wells. This problem may be revealed when you smell smoke (for your information, it does not smell good).

One more thing that may be causing the oil problem are faulty valve guides. The valve guides in your engine were made to regulate the heat from the combustion process and to take it to the cooling system. The valve guides also help prevent oil from leaking. You may be thinking, what will this cost me if the valve guides are faulty? A friendly reminder: do not ignore this matter. Defective valve guides can foul the spark plugs. This may also lead to the oil gaining entrance into the combustion chamber which may in turn cause damage to the converter because of overheating.  In addition, this becomes more problematic as your vehicle begins to suffer engine misfires and idle time.


Should there be oil on spark plug threads?


To put it simply, no. If you saw a healthy engine with all its parts nice and looking well taken care of, you will probably see the large gap when you look into a plug with an oil problem. Then again, you do not have to be a mechanic to know that there is something wrong with a vehicle that is having this kind of problem. This issue may lead to other more troublesome concerns that may be difficult to address. Here are some of the problems to look out for if you need even more convincing that the spark plugs in your vehicle ought to be replaced sooner, not later.




Although oil in the plugs will not automatically lead to breakage or far-reaching engine damage, incessant handling of the vehicle with flawed spark plugs may in turn lead to engine misfires. Through the first part of this article, you have been educated on how the spark plugs play their significant role in the combustion process. It is safe to say that when you consider the great role of this tiny member of the vehicle’s internal system, you will realize that it tends to look bigger because it plays a big part in the overall experience and handling of the car. Engine misfires are most common when there is an oil problem in the spark plugs. Though not all misfires are caused by the oil found in the plug wells, still, checking into it will give you better insight on what is wrong and what to do about it since reading the spark plugs are easy and helpful.




Leaking oil inside the spark plugs may cause the damage of the head gasket. The valve cover gasket functions like the valve prevents the oil from leaking as well. It does that by covering the top part of the engine cylinder head and keeps the motor oil from leaking as it travels around the vehicle. A fault in the vehicle gasket is also connected to fuel efficiency as the loss of oil indicates that there is trouble in the valves. Although valve cover gaskets are typically durable (like the spark plugs) they are also not new in the heat department. Valve cover gaskets are usually made of plastic or cork. They serve their purpose to seal that the oil may not leak but this also costs the gaskets some wear and tear after a while since they are exposed to the heat. This will then lead to the other problems as the valve cover gasket fails to seal and the oil leaks. 




The catalyst has a simple job. It is the one in charge of reducing the emission of pollution from the engine while also improving its performance as it aids in speeding up the vehicle. The catalytic converter is a large metal box that is connected to the engine and to the heat system. Although they do not eliminate overall pollution, the catalytic converters are helpful in reducing the emission of harmful gasses. When there is a problem with the spark plug such as the oil leaking, it could result in the catalytic converter being destroyed. One reason is because it is closely situated with the ignition and combustion system. There is a great possibility of the catalytic converters overheating because of the oil leak which can then lead to the sluggish performance of the engine, and engine failure. 

How do you get oil out of a spark plug?


If you are one of the many who are looking for a fix with your oil issues in your spark plugs without having to call the mechanic, good news for you. There is a DIY (do-it-yourself) option for this type of issue. Unlike other vehicle problems, concerns with the spark plug can be fixed but also with deliberate effort and if the problem is not yet at its peak. As has been said for spark plugs, they are little power houses. They are durable and one should remember when undertaking troubleshooting or fixing a problem with the vehicle, upon finding out that the spark plug is what is causing the problem, does not mean that the spark plug must be replaced entirely. 


Fixing a vehicle depends widely on your troubleshooting. Once you get to the core of the problem, then you will be able to draw upon a solution and execute it. Ideally, when troubleshooting, you must check the valve cover gaskets, O-ring seals, piston compression rings, valve guides since these are the parts of the engine’s system that the mechanic usually examines. 


Start off with the basics. Remove all the spark plugs. Using a dry rag or any cloth, clean up the engine and focus on the spark plug holes. Keep the cloth pressed onto the hole to prevent the oil from spilling. Clean up the plugs. Wipe off the oil deposits. You can decide to get the cleaned plug working again or you can entirely change those parts and you will be good to go.


Can oil ruin spark plugs?


Oil in itself can do harm to the spark plugs and not just that, but to the other members of the engine’s system. Oil leakage can ruin the spark plugs and can impede the ignition process as the spark plug cannot supply the torque or power in order to start the engine. So if you may ask if oil can ruin the spark plugs, the answer would be a definite “Yes.”


Oil on the spark plug threads does not necessarily mean that it is over for your engine. There may be some imminent changes in the performance of your car, but that part is also something to be grateful for because then you know that there is some problem going on inside that you have to take care of. Do remember that in fixing car problems, it is easier to start earlier than later since almost all problems can be solved for good when they are fixed in the first stages of the dilemma’s detection. Troubleshooting your vehicle regularly can also help in maintaining your car’s value. See to it that you check your spark plug for accumulated oil or dirt on sides of the valve cover after changing oil. Also note that old and new cars experience this dilemma because old or new, all vehicles deserve to be well-taken care of.

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