The spark plug wires in your vehicle are designed to be strong and last for a long period of time. However, you should always keep an eye on the condition of the wires to make sure that your vehicle is receiving the correct amount of spark that it needs for proper functioning.
The wires are insulated and this is where the problems can occur. The insulation will keep the spark inside the engine and not outside where it can cause problems. Cracks in the insulation of the spark plug wires are an indication that the wires should be changed. A crack or break in the insulation will cause the spark to arc onto another metal area under your hood. The spark from the plugs will arc to these other areas and keep it from the engine where it belongs.
The cylinder that has a bad spark plug wire will receive a weak spark or in some cases, no spark. This will affect the way that your vehicle runs and you will notice that your car is running a bit rougher than normal. It will also affect the amount of fuel that your car is using. In some extreme cases, fuel can get into the exhaust system and affect the pollution control devices like the catalytic converter. Your spark plug wires that are arcing under the hood of your car can also be a dangerous situation if there is fuel in its vicinity.
Performing your own vehicle maintenance is a good way to ensure that your spark plug wires are thoroughly inspected. When it is time to change the spark plugs during a routine tune up, you should make sure that you give the spark plug wires a good inspection. This will save you a great deal of trouble down the road.
While you are under the hood of your car, begin at the distributor cap and follow the wire all the way back to the spark plug. Look for cracks and damage in the insulation of the spark plug wires. Turn the wires over and bend them slightly to expose any cracks that might not be visible on a first inspection. The part of the spark plug wires on the distributor end should be inspected as well for cracks and tears. Take the wire off of the spark plug to give the wires a good inspection. There may also be a burnt look to the wires that indicate damage as well.Any damage that is found on your spark plug wires indicates that it is time to replace the wires. You will have to buy your wires in a set and they are usually pretty inexpensive to replace. Some wires may cost you more than others, but the savings that you will realize and the problems that are avoided make the higher cost on some wires very cost effective.
Performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, such as checking the spark plug wires, is an important part of making sure that your car is running as efficiently as possible. You can do most of these maintenance tasks on your own and save some money on auto repair bills. If you are not familiar with how to perform a tune up on your vehicle, there are many resources available to you online where you can learn how to give your car a tune up and take care of all the routine maintenance without having to set foot inside a repair shop.
Keeping your car running at its optimal performance will keep it running longer and also save you a great deal of money on fuel costs.