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How to Gap Spark Plugs?



How to Gap Spark Plugs?

Gap Spark Plugs

Most vehicle owners in china must understand that the spark plug gap, the space between two electrodes on the spark plug tip is one of the critical components of the car. However, some of the drivers are unclear about how the gap affects the ignition system’s operation and the amount of effort required to start the engine.

It means if the gap is too wide, it will take more energy to ignite the air/fuel mixture. Though, over time, the gap will gradually increase even though how hard you try. Generally, a spark plug gap will last a long 70,000 miles which depends on the material, before the signs indicate that it needs to be replaced.

It is important to choose the right gapping tool when you replace your spark plugs. Those coin-style gaps won’t be always the best option. Although those tools are suitable for making copper/nickel spark plugs, many plug manufacturers are now turning to precious metals. Because precious metals, such as platinum, iridium, and ruthenium, are harder than copper/nickel, their center’s electrode designs are smaller, typically under 1 mm wide.

Despite their higher melting point and greater resistance to wear, without any doubt, these precious metal tips are more fragile, especially when gapping. Any lateral force applied to the small center electrode could break the tip. So, before you start using a coin gapper on your spark plug, always make sure to know how it works and why a precise gap matter so much.

You may also like to learn; How to Flush Your Car System?

What Is Spark Plug?

Within an internal combustion engine, spark plugs are parts that ignite the fuel/air mixture through a small spark between two electrodes. When the atomized fuel and air enter the engine cylinder, then at that time spark plus the top of the cylinder ignite combustion. The spark plugs are connected with the whole car’s electrical system through spark plug wires.

Different spark plugs use different materials, but nickel, iridium, copper, and platinum are among the most common. Additionally, the spark plugs are also covered by a small piece of ceramic as an insulator.

Check Pre-Gapped Plugs

Sometimes, pre-gapped spark plugs can cause some confusion or overconfidence. So, Somehow it is true that some of the spark plug manufacturers would claim that their plugs are pre-gapped, but it doesn’t mean that the plugs are specifically gapped for your vehicle. Pre-gapped means that the device is pre-measured to operate on a wide variety of engines. Therefore, always measure the spark plug gap to ensure maximum efficiency and longevity of your plug-in vehicle engine.

Why Does Gapping Matter?

The distance of the plug gap on the spark plug depends on the voltage and amperage produced by the ignition coil. You can easily determine the gap specification from the car manufacturer during engine design or you can find it on the vehicle’s owner manual or maybe under the hood from the emission sticker.

The gap must be accurate for an engine to run efficiently and effectively. Now let’s explain further that “what happens when plugs aren’t gapped properly?”?”

Without the proper gap between the spark plug and the cylinder, spark plugs begin to wear prematurely, causing ignition system stress and even cylinder misfires. An extended gap in the ignition system makes spark plug, ignition coil, and control module components work harder than they should, thus resulting in failures. There is also a possibility that sparks could be blown out in very turbulent combustion chambers. Furthermore, having a small gap will cause the air/fuel mixture not to fully ignite which will result in low power and higher tailpipe emissions.

Do Spark Plugs Always Have to Be Gapped?

Spark plug doesn’t need to always have to be gapped. The gap on the spark plugs was important in the past days, but now spark plugs are usually pre-gapped. When installing spark plugs, it is highly recommended that the gap be set to the recommended setting for the vehicle.

How Could You Do Gap a Spark Plug?

Step 1

Get a gap gauge.

Step 2

Firstly, clean your vehicle’s spark plug. If the spark plug is new then it won’t be much troublesome for you, but if you are currently checking the spark plug that is in the vehicle, then it might be dirty on the contact points. Cleaning a spark plug should never be done with abrasive materials.

Step 3

Check the gap on the spark plug. You can determine the measurement with your gap gauge or feeler gauge by putting the tool through the electrodes. Measure the distance and compare it with the recommended setting in the owner’s manual.

Step 4

If any adjustments are needed, make them. Using a gap gauge or feeler gauge, select the right measurement. If you couldn’t able to get the correct feeler gauge through the gap, widened the gap. But if the tool runs between the gap without touching the electrodes, the gap diameter is too widened and must be narrowed.

Utilizing a spark plug gap tool you can adjust the gap. If the gap is too wide, bend the ground electrode inward. If it is too narrow, bend it outward.

Make sure to be careful when you are making adjustments. Be sure not to bend the electrode more than a few fractions of an inch. Even though it is durable, but not designed to take a lot of pressure. Also, take good care not to hit the electrode. In case of damage to the electrode from excessive prying or snapping of the bottom electrode, a spark plug must be replaced. So, every driver needs to use the spark plug gap tool properly.

Step 5

Re-check the spark lug gap again. Repeat the process until the tool fits closely between the electrodes.

Consequences Of Incorrect Spark Plug Gap

In case, if the spark plug is set incorrectly, then the problem would be arises in engine issues. Some of you might experience loss of power, misfires, spark plug fouling, increased plug wear, or poor gas mileage. A gap that is too small may produce an insufficient spark to combust the fuel within the engine; a gap that is too wide can cause misfires at high speeds as the spark plug does not fire correctly.

Therefore, when the spark plug needs to be replaced, go out and not only pick up the correct plus but also the tools that will make gapping them easier. Additionally, if you decide to use a coin-style tool regardless of the plug type, just make sure not to damage the precious metal.

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