Q: How Do Spark Plugs Work in an Engine?

asked by on

How do spark plugs work in an engine?

Spark plugs are used to ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chambers of every internal combustion engine.

To accomplish this, spark plugs have two electrodes between which a high voltage spark will jump. One electrode is located in the center of the plug and one electrode is attached to the side of the plug.

The high voltage comes from an ignition coil and contains anywhere from 5,000 volts to 40,000 volts. The high voltage is necessary to overcome the air turbulence, compression pressure, and the air gap of the spark plug during the combustion cycle. The spark jumps from one electrode to the other. This spark ignites the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. The combustion continues until all the fuel has been converted into heat and increased cylinder pressure. This is what creates the power inside of an engine.

Each spark plug fires one time for every two revolutions of the engine crankshaft.

If your vehicle is down on power or is getting less fuel economy, a fresh set of spark plugs may be in order. If you need help with this, schedule a visit with a certified technician who can check out the situation and replace your spark plugs if necessary.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. How Do Spark Plugs Work in an Engine?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Q: Glow plug

Hi there. With newer diesel engines and the advanced timing systems they have, the importance of fully functional glow plugs once the motor is lit is less important. However, as the weather gets colder, starting a diesel engine with the...

Q: I just replaced my intake manifold , and my car is still shaking and won't accelerate quite right what should I do?

It sounds like you have a misfire. This can be caused by many things: a vacuum leak, ignition component failure, fuel system issues, etc. With a misfire, typically the Check Engine Light comes on to indicate that a trouble...

Q: Car won't start. Electronics work, but loud screeching noise comes from fuse/battery boxes in the trunk when turn ignition key.

Hi and thanks for contacting You Mechanic. There could be a lot of issues that could relate to this topic, however, I have narrowed it down to 4 things to check. First check the battery and make sure that the...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...