How Can Something So Small Be So Important? (VIDEO)

How Can Something So Small Be So Important? (VIDEO)

Too small of a gap can lead to a weak spark, and too large a gap can lead to misfires. Sponsored by Autolite.


How can something so small be so important?

Of course, I’m talking about the spark plug gap, a critical factor in engine performance.

For an engine to perform efficiently, the spark must occur at the right time to properly ignite the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder.

Too small of a gap can lead to a weak spark and incomplete combustion, and too large a gap can lead to misfires, especially at high rpm.

With too big a gap, turbulence in the combustion chamber can blow out the spark.  Typically, if you raise the engine compression or install a forced induction system, you will need to reduce the gap to prevent this from happening.

However, a larger gap requires higher voltage, which can be a performance benefit on some engines and is often a method utilized by engine tuners. But it usually requires a high-performance ignition system that can provide the higher voltage and additional energy to maintain the spark.

The spark plug gap is so pivotal to performance, that even a few thousandths of an inch can make a difference, and a misadjusted gap can also cause poor fuel economy and shorten the life of the plugs.

In addition to the gap, the condition of the center and ground electrodes is just as important. When they are new, they have very precisely formed edges which are designed to enhance the spark. As they wear and become rounded off, even if the gap is adjusted, the initial location of the spark will begin to change and potentially cause ignition issues.

Since severely worn spark plugs require higher voltage, it places additional demands on the ignition coils and can shorten their lifespan as well.

When replacing spark plugs, always check the manufacturer specification and make sure the gap on the new spark plug is properly adjusted, and even though most precious metal plugs come with a pre-adjusted gap, it is usually for the most common applications, but may not be correct for your specific application.

Don’t forget to use a wire-style feeler gauge when checking the gap on precious metal plugs, and only adjust the gap by gently bending the ground electrode so you don’t damage the precious metal tip.

Thanks for watching.

This video is sponsored by Autolite.

You May Also Like

What Causes the White Crystals in an SCR System?

This video covers how detergents and surfactants in Diesel DEF Medic Plus clean the DEF system. This video is sponsored by Rislone.

White crystals made of urea compounds can interfere with the operation of the DEF injector and SCR stack. These crystals can diminish the effectiveness of the catalyst reaction and cause DTCs for reduced efficiency and pressure differential. This video will cover how detergents and surfactants in Diesel DEF Medic Plus clean the DEF system. This video is sponsored by Rislone.

What Constitutes A Quality Wheel Hub Assembly?

Discover key factors to consider for quality hub assemblies and how they impact vehicle performance and longevity.

Needs Come First When Choosing Aftermarket Or OE

It’s essential to understand the differing needs of manufacturers, shops, technicians, and consumers.

Service Opportunities Still Exist With EVs

Like all ICE vehicles, you need the correct tools, parts and to follow the proper service procedures when servicing EVs. This video is sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Wheel Bearing Shortcuts

When you’re installing a wheel speed sensor on a hub unit, never ever remove it from the original unit. Sponsored by Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper.

Other Posts

Schaeffler and Sustainability with Jerry Conroy

Conroy shares insights into his career trajectory, the evolving landscape of the company’s aftermarket operations, and its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Flushing the Brake Fluid is Critical on Every Brake Repair

Making sure the brake fluid is the correct quality is critical. Sponsored by Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper.

Selecting the Right Oil for your Customers Engine

Learn how to educate customers on the importance of OEM specifications and premium lubrication for their vehicles’ maintenance needs.

At the Intersection of Tradition and Innovation with Grace Hovis

Grace Hovis’s journey in Hovis Auto & Truck Supply blends tradition with digital innovation in the automotive aftermarket industry.