Complete Guide to Aftermarket Spark Plugs

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Complete Guide to Aftermarket Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are an integral part of an engine's ignition system since they deliver the electric current from the distributor to the combustion chamber, igniting the fuel and air mixture to produce kinetic energy. Over time, spark plugs wear out as a result of carrying the electric charge, which prevents the vehicle from operating correctly. Motorists need to check their spark plugs regularly and replace worn or faulty components using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or third-party aftermarket products.

 

How spark plugs work

Within a vehicle's ignition system, the distributor transfers high voltage from the coil to the cylinder by spinning a rotor within the cap. As the rotor spins, it passes a series of contacts, transmitting an electric pulse. The electric pulse moves from the contact, along a spark plug wire, to a spark plug. The electricity then jumps a gap between electrodes to ignite the fuel mixture in the cylinder.

Design

A spark plug has a metal threaded shell isolated from a central electrode by a porcelain insulator. One end of the electrode is connected to insulated wire, and when the plug's metal shell is screwed into the engine's cylinder head, the other end of the electrode protrudes into the combustion chamber. Some plugs have an outer jacket to resist cuts and high temperatures.

 

Spark plug wear

Spark plug wires and spark plugs are subject to a lot of wear and tear, and motorists should inspect them regularly. Abrasions from engine vibration, damage from extreme temperature, fatigue from the transfer of electric currents, and weakness caused by connecting and reconnecting the plugs all contribute to spark plug failure, according to Popular Mechanics, a website dedicated to vehicle maintenance. Fortunately, plugs and wires are relatively easy to replace, even for people with limited mechanical experience.

 

Aftermarket vs. OEM

All spark plugs fail eventually, and when they do, motorists need to decide whether to procure OEM or aftermarket replacements. Each option has its benefits.

OEM

OEM spark plugs match the plugs that the manufacturer of the vehicle installed, therefore guaranteeing a good fit and good quality. Motorists seeking OEM replacements should consult their vehicle's user manual, which lists the specifications, and then source the correct parts. Alternatively, it is possible to order OEM parts directly from a dealer, thereby guaranteeing the correct components.

Aftermarket

Aftermarket spark plugs provide motorists with greater choice. Rather than purchasing from a dealer, motorists have the option to shop with a variety of different companies producing compatible plugs. These plugs are often less expensive than the OEM alternatives, and some promise other advantages, such as improved fuel economy or increased performance. Motorists should research aftermarket plugs thoroughly to ensure that they are good-quality products suitable for the vehicle.

 

Buying considerations

A spark plug may seem like a simple item, and at first glance, all types may appear similar. When shopping for an aftermarket spark plug, motorists must consider several different factors and look for the products that match the specifications listed in the vehicle's owner manual.

Reach

A spark plug's reach is how far it protrudes into the combustion chamber when screwed into the cylinder head. If the reach is too short, the spark does not ignite the fuel mixture efficiently. If the reach is too long, it may damage the top of the piston or ignite the fuel mixture prematurely.

Heat range

Spark plugs need to retain enough heat to burn off carbon between firings without building up so much heat that it causes damage. If plugs are too cold, carbon develops, and bridges the gap between the electrodes, preventing the spark. When plugs are too hot, they melt and may cause misfires.

Resistor plug value

High-voltage electricity produces radio waves that cause interference. For this reason, spark plugs have a resistor to prevent interference with car electronics. Some high-performance aftermarket plugs have a lower resistance value, which may lead to radio static or malfunctioning GPS.

Spark plug gaps

The spark plug gap is the space between the centre electrode and the ground electrode. A large gap requires a high voltage, putting additional stress on the ignition system and causing rapid deterioration of spark plug wires and other components due to excessive heat.

 

How to buy spark plugs on eBay

Purchasing vehicle components for an ignition system is quick and easy on eBay. Whether you want aftermarket spark plugs or OEM spark plugs, you can find exactly what you need by using the search function. Start by entering a search criterion, and then apply filters based on price, condition, brand, location, and other preferences to focus the list of results for easier browsing. It is also possible to arrange your results by price or location, in ascending or descending order.

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