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What Does A Spark Plug Misfire Feel Like – What You Need To Know!

What Does A Spark Plug Misfire Feel Like

How to clean spark plugs

When looking at the most common ways to clean spark plugs, there are a few methods that most owners will choose to use when getting all dirt and debris out of their internal engine system. These three methods include removing the spark plugs, cleaning the plugs with abrasives, and reinstalling clean spark plugs. 

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Removing the Spark Plugs


The first method you can use to clean your spark plugs to prevent any dirt and beris build-up is removing the spark plugs. The step you need to complete before officially starting this cleaning process is to disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Locate the battery either in your engine bay or in the trunk. It will look like a plastic box with 2 terminals, so make sure you find the negative terminal. Loosen the bolt holding the cable on the terminal and then slide off the terminal. 



  • Locate the Spark Plugs


Find the spark plug wires connection point with the spark plugs. There will be one plug and one1 cable for each cylinder in the engine. If you can’t find your spark plugs in your vehicle, you should look at the owner’s manual or vehicle-specific repair manual to find out where the spark plugs are located. Finding the spark plugs can prevent knowing what a spark plug misfire feels like. 


  • Remove Debris from Spark Plugs


Once you have found where the spark plugs are screwed in, you can then clean the dirt and debris out of the area to stop it from moving into the engine cylinders. If any dirt or contaminants fall into the cylinder, it could cause serious engine damage and potentially cause engine replacement.


  • Disconnect the Spark Plug Wire


In order to keep the cables organized, clean the spark plugs one at a time. If you remove them at one time, it can confuse you as to which cable goes into which cylinder. Grip the spark plug cable and then pull it away and off the plug. Make sure you do not pull high on the wire, or you could separate the inside of the cable from its connector in the plug when you learn how to clean a spark plug.


  • Unscrew the Spark Plug


Place the spark plug socket to the end of an extension and connect it to the ratchet, popping the extension and socket off of the wrench and unscrewing it by hand. These steps can prevent you from answering the question of “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”

Using Abrasives


  • Sandpaper the Electrode


At the end of the spark plug, find the metal that extends from the plug – the electrode. If the electrode does not look like metal, make sure you keep sanding it to prevent any damage.


  • File Down the Dirt on the Electrode


If sandpaper does not do the trick, the spark plug might have to be replaced. However, if you need to give it a quick fix right away to keep driving your car properly, you can use a small file to slide into the gap between the plug and the electrode, moving out back and forth to clean the metal. This can help prevent finding out the answer to the question of “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Scrub the Threads


The chances are there is a big build-up of oil and grime in the threads of your spark plug, making re-installing them time-consuming and difficult. Scrub the threads with the wire brush from a perpendicular angle to the plug to remove the gunk, then scrubbing from other angles to prevent any potential of the spark plugs misfiring. 


  • Spray Brake Cleaner


Brake cleaner is sold in spray cans and can easily clean the grime off of the electrodes and spark plugs. After this, it evaporates rapidly so the pairs can dry quickly. Cleaning your spark plugs and electrodes can prevent any build-up and reduce the chances of you having to answer, “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Repeat for Each Spark Plug


Once that first spark plug is clean, reinstall it and reconnect the spark plug wire that goes with it. Then you need to repeat the process with each spark plug to prevent any spark plug misfiring completely.

Reinstall the clean spark plugs 


The last method that you can do to learn how to clean spark plugs to prevent misfiring is just to reinstall the clean spark plugs. 


  • Insert a Gap Tool


Check the service manual to find the spark plug measurement and then insert a gap tool into the space between the spark plug body and the electrode. Use a tool to measure the gap and then pry the electrode further from the body to increase the gap or press it closer.


  • Place Plug Into The Spark Plug Socket


The spark plug socket has a rubber grommet that will hold the plug in place as you lower it down to the engine. 


  • Insert the Spark Plug


One the second step is complete, insert the spark plug and turn it clockwise to seat it. Make sure you don’t cross-thread your spark plugs, which can occur from over-tightening. Preventing over-tightening can also prevent you from answering, “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Tighten the Spark Plug


Once the spark plug is positioned correctly, connect a ratchet to the extension, and finish tightening it. Make sure the spark plug is secure and don’t put too much force on the wrench, preventing over-torquing of the spark plug


  • Reconnect the Wires


Grip the plug wire by the boot near the end and press down firmly to expose the end of the spark plug sticking out of the engine. 

Signs that Can Indicate Faulty Spark Plugs


As we know by now, spark plugs are a key part of the engine and the function of the engine in your car. By keeping your engine and spark plugs healthy and clean, you can ensure that the ignition timing produces the right amount of energy to fuel the car. If the ignition timing is off, the engine will not be able to run and use the fuel and air mixture to move the vehicle. 


Keep in mind; however, the spark plugs are not meant to last forever. In some cases, the spark plugs in your vehicle might even fail before the intended lifespan is up, meaning that you have to look into the spark plug replacement and keep an eye out for the signs of what a spark plug misfire feels like. 


Typically, spark plugs need to be replaced every 30k miles, usually included in most routine maintenance at local mechanic shops and for your specific vehicle. To prevent a more expensive replacement, you need to know the signs of faulty spark plugs in your car that can answer the question of “what does  spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Engine Misfiring


An engine misfire usually occurs for only a split second in your car and then will regain operating at a normal performance level. However, this can significantly hurt your engine if you do not fix the engine misfire’s problem. Failing spark plugs can cause the car engine to misfire, reducing your horsepower, acceleration, and control of your vehicle.


Just one singular spark plug that is faulty or damaged can cause your entire engine to misfire, resulting in a lack of performance and safety. If the air and fuel mixture begins to develop an improper ratio, this can result in the engine running poorly. If the engine does not combust at the right time, the caf will not run, and the catalytic converter will be damaged during use. This can answer the question of “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Trouble Starting the Car


Faulty spark plugs can cause your car to have issues with starting at the right time or starting after a long period of time being off. Damaged spark plugs will not produce the necessary power of sparks or the correct timing of sparks, which is required to start the engine and keep it running while driving. This starting trouble results in the engine stalling, which is dangerous while driving.


In addition, failing spark plugs or damaged plugs can cause the battery to drain much quicker than usual, meaning the electrical components of your car will not work correctly. If you notice your car is not starting when you turn the key in the ignition and the battery is draining quicker than usual, you might have the answer to “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Increased Fuel Consumption


If your fuel is decreasing much quicker than usual and you realize that the fuel efficiency is significantly declined, this is a sign of damaged spark plugs. Normal spark plugs will produce the necessary spark to ignite the fuel and air mixture at the proper ratio within the internal combustion engine. However, if the ratio is not correct or the fuel consumption is too high, the ignition will leave behind residue and contaminated emissions.


Malfunctioning spark plugs can increase emissions, leading to a potential failure of the emission test and increased fuel consumption due to the internal combustion process not being completed on time, leading you to answer the question of “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”


  • Lack of Acceleration


The lack of acceleration and power in your car is another noticeable sign that you have faulty spark plugs in your car that have the potential to misfire. The lack of acceleration means that your engine is unable to ignite and will struggle to increase the power when the driver presses on the gas pedal.


Damaged spark plugs that are not working correctly can cause a lack of acceleration and require an immediate replacement in order to keep the engine working at a high level. 


  • Rough Idling


Rough or uneven idling and vibrations felt within the car are another vital sign that shows you might have faulty spark plugs that can misfire. The engine will be running at a lower RPM during idling, but if the spark plugs are damaged, this will produce a higher RPM while idling and increased vibrations that can be felt through the steering wheel and on the floor of the car. Uneven idling is a key sign of “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?”

Frequency of replacing spark plugs 


In order to determine if you need to replace your spark plugs, there are certain intervals for changing your spark plugs. Usually, spark plugs replacement is required at around 30,000 miles. If you do not replace your spark plugs at regular intervals, you could be setting yourself up for further engine problems that are very expensive. Engine repairs and replacements left untreated can cause the spark plugs to misfire, lack of proper acceleration, and uneven and rough idling. 


  • How to Test The Spark Plug



In order to figure out if the spark plug is really misfiring or to diagnose the issue of the problem, you need to check the ignition procedure and the ignition timing. In most cases, the problem with the engine and spark plug misfiring problem is caused by a failing or damaged ignition. If you have an older vehicle that contains a distributor ignition, this will be the first place to check.


However, if you have a newer car with various ignition coils, unplug the coils one at a time to see if one is damaged or contains excess debris and contaminants. Sometimes, the answer to “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?” can be answered by the high voltage ignition coils working improperly. When you unplug one ignition coil to see if that is the source of your issues, you can find out which cylinder is damaged.


Even if you do not have a newer car, you can use the same ignition coil procedure with older cars by unplugging various ignition cables until you find out which cylinder is damaged or faulty. When you have ignition cables, make sure you use the right tools and only perform this procedure when your car is already off. 


Now that you know which cylinder the car is not using properly, you can try to remove the ignition coil or cables between the cylinders to prevent the problem from transferring to another cylinder and further damaging the engine. In this case, you need to replace the ignition coil to prevent premature firing or misfiring of the spark plug. 



When asking yourself “what does a spark plug misfire feel like?” you can find out the most common causes, symptoms, and reasons for this happening in your car – all of this data can provide you with the tools to quickly and efficiently fix your vehicle!

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