The main purpose of the spark plug is to create the essential spark that will start the ignition of your vehicle. If the spark plug overheats, it will start to wear out and this will essentially damage the plug and keep it from starting the combustion process. You must take care of the spark plugs in your vehicle if you want it to be operating at the optimal level.
Are Spark Plugs Supposed To Get Hot?
Spark plugs are supposed to get hot. If your spark plugs do not get hot, you will not be able to get the ignition spark that will power your vehicle. In fact, the spark plug should have an optimal firing end temperature of around 500 degrees Celsius when they are in working order and your vehicle is doing what it is supposed to be doing.
However, some spark plugs do overheat and there are a few things that would affect the temperature and cause them to overheat, which reduces the efficiency of the plug and the spark created.
What Causes A Spark Plug To Overheat?
1. Spark Plug Heat Range Too Hot
If the heat range exceeds 800 degrees Celsius, the spark plugs would overheat and this would cause pre-ignition to often take place. The electrodes would often wear too quickly and this could lead to significant issues in the combustion chamber.
2. Insufficient Coolant
If the vehicle does not have sufficient coolant, it would cause the surface temperature of the engine to start overheating. One of the main problems with surface temperature overheating is that it would translate over to spark plugs. The solution would be to make sure that your vehicle does have sufficient coolant present.
3. Fuel Mixture Burn At Higher Temperatures
Fuel is not always consistent and you might occasionally use a richer fuel mixture for better performance. The problem is that a richer fuel mixture would burn at much higher temperatures and this could lead to excessive heating of the engine. And the excessive heating of the engine could lead to a higher surface temperature and cause the spark plugs to overheat.
4. Engine Oil Leaks
One of the main reasons for oil in your vehicle is to support the lubrication efforts of the vehicle. However, when you don’t have enough oil in your vehicle due to worn piston rings or cylinder walls, you could find that the vehicle automatically overheats. The overheating would affect not only the engine but also the spark plugs. It could lead to potential overheating of the spark plugs or it could go in the opposite direction where the spark plugs can get wet and simply don’t want to work.
5. Excessive Turbo Pressures
One of the main things that often lead to heat being generated in the engine has to do with pressure. The turbo is one of the components, which you can adjust and you can easily change the turbo pressures depending on the performance that you are looking for in your vehicle. If the pressures are too high, it would cause excessive heat, which would lead to significant overheating.
6. Bad Fuel Quality
Most fuel companies try to give you the best quality fuel, which would aid in performance and also protect your vehicle. However, bad fuel quality can often lead to excessive issues in your engine. Not only does it damage certain components of the engine, but it would inevitably cause the vehicle to overheat and damage the spark plugs.
7. Insufficient Plug Tightening
You always need to make sure that your spark plugs are set up correctly in your vehicle. If the spark plugs are not tightened correctly, it could cause additional additives in the engine to enter and this would cause some issues with your vehicle. You must make sure the plugs are sufficiently tight to ensure the best overall performance.
What Happens If The Spark Plug Is Too Hot?
If you notice that your spark plugs are too hot, you will find that pre-ignition is one of the key issues that often occur. Pre-ignition is when the air/fuel mixture is ignited before the timed event. The timed event refers to when you are starting your vehicle to get it on the road. You might find that you have a few misfires as well before the car starts.
If the spark plug is too hot and you start the vehicle, it would cause the electrodes on the inside of the spark plug to stop working the way they should and this could cause some additional damage to the spark plugs. Additionally, it would ultimately lead to excessive wear and damage, which would often occur on the inside of the engine.
The pre-ignition would also cause an expansion in the cylinder temperatures and engine pressures. The effect could be catastrophic and might lead to flooding of the engine when oil components begin to fail and occasionally cause some form of flooding into the various cylinders.
As you can see, the overheating of your spark plug might not have a direct effect on your vehicle, but some of the knock-on effects would certainly disrupt and often hurt some of the other components. While it is cheap to replace a spark plug, you can easily look at thousands of dollars when you are replacing the engine components.
How To Fix An Overheating Spark Plug?
The first thing you should do is diagnose whether it is the spark plug overheating, which is causing the problem. This could be one of the most frustrating things for you to deal with. The best way to go about fixing it is to find out what the root cause is. If it is the fuel/air mixture, you might need to adjust this, which is the same for the other components like the turbo pressures.
Once you have fixed some of these issues, I would recommend either removing and replacing the spark plugs or giving them a thorough cleaning before you start using them once again.