Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Do Spark Plugs Last?

spark plugs

In order to operate, your engine needs fuel and air. However, those two things alone won’t make it run. It needs a way to ignite the fuel after mixing it with air from the intake. That’s what your car’s spark plugs do. They create an electrical spark (as the name implies) that ignites the fuel/air mixture and runs your engine.

Spark plugs have advanced quite a bit from what they were a few decades back. You’ll find a host of different types on the market, from dual and quad tips to iridium tips and many more. The primary reason that spark plugs need to be changed is due to wear and tear. As the spark plug fires, minute amounts of the electrode evaporate. Eventually, it’s too short to create the spark needed to ignite the fuel/air mix. The result is a rough running engine, skipping cylinders and other problems that cost you in performance and fuel economy.

In terms of lifespan, the use life you enjoy will depend in the type of plug used in the engine. Normal copper plugs only last about 20,000 miles. However, using platinum plugs can give you 60,000 miles of use. Other types can last up to 100,000 miles.

Of course, it can be very difficult to tell if your spark plugs are beginning to wear out. They’re installed in the engine, so checking the wear isn’t as simple as it is with other things, like your tires. However, there are several key signs that you can watch for that indicate your engine’s spark plugs are nearing the end of their life. These include:

  • Rough idling (which can also be a symptom of many other problems, but worn plugs should be eliminated as the cause)

  • Poor fuel economy (another multi-problem symptom, but spark plugs are a common reason)

  • Misfiring engine

  • Lack of power when accelerating

  • Engine surge (caused by too much air in the air/fuel mixture, often due to worn spark plugs)

If you suspect that your car is in need of new spark plugs, YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office to inspect the plugs, and replace them if needed. They can also inspect other ignition system components, including spark plug wires, coil packs and more to ensure that you can get back on the road quickly and safely.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Car I'm looking to buy is running on 3 cyliders instead of 4. What does it mean?

Hello. When one cylinder is not performing its job, it basically creates a drag or extra load on the engine. This can be a sign of major engine damage, or something as simple as a bad spark plug. Typically smaller...

Q: 93 ford explorer is bucking.

Hi there. Check the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and the ignition coils and see if they are working. Check for spark on all of the cylinders and see if the spark is good. If the spark is good, then...

Q: Car shakes and the check engine light is on

Hello. If you have misfire codes on all of these cylinders, then the problem is much more in-depth. Most of the time when this occurs on one side of the engine, it is because the timing belt is worn out...