The Mini Cooper is one of the most popular automobiles out there today. People love the sporty drive it provides that one cannot get from any other compact vehicle. However, even when owning a great car like a Mini, it can still have car issues, including failing spark plugs.
If your vehicle does not have spark plugs that function properly, it will not run. You will have noticeable issues even when one spark plug is on the fritz.
The Importance of the Spark Plugs
When someone hears the term spark plugs, they may not get the impression that they serve an essential purpose in a vehicle’s engine. They are small and relatively inexpensive. However, spark plugs are vital to your vehicle. The spark plugs are aptly named as they provide the spark to ignite the air/fuel mixture that is part of the internal combustion principle that gives a car power. No working spark plugs equals no spark. No spark, no power to the engine.
What causes a spark plug to fail?
Typically, general wear and tear is a significant issue for spark plugs. Spark plugs are used every time you drive your Mini. Most of the time, they fail because they are simply getting older and have served their purpose. Typically spark plugs last for about 20,000-30,000 miles. They are an item that needs regular replacement. This is part of maintaining a MINI and being a responsible car owner.
Besides the passage of time, there are a few things that could also cause your spark plugs to become faulty:
- Damage from overheating: An improperly-timed engine can cause overheating of your spark plugs.
- Gas to oxygen ratio: Another cause can be if your engine is getting an incorrect fuel-to-air ratio. This will make the electrode wear faster.
- Oil contamination: If oil seeps into the spark plugs, they could also break faster.
- Carbon buildup: Finally, a buildup of carbon on the spark plug’s tip will cause it to fail prematurely. Many factors can contribute to this, including a clogged air filter.
Signs of a Faulty Spark Plug
If you are concerned that your spark plugs are failing, you want to look out for the following signs of issues:
- Check engine light: Although your check engine or service engine light can become illuminated for many different reasons, this could also indicate a problem with the spark plugs. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what this warning means without hooking your car up to diagnostic equipment. If the light comes on, you should make an appointment with your mechanic.
- Difficulty starting your Mini: Your spark plugs are essential to the action of starting your car each and every time you get behind the wheel. However, you may notice that it does not reliably start on the first try.
- Ignition misfire: This could be a variety of things, including rough idles, problems with acceleration, or even a jerky ride at times. Suppose your spark plugs are not working correctly. In that case, the fuel will not be properly ignited, and you will notice that your car is not running or reacting like it usually does.
- Rough idling: When you are stopped at a traffic sign or a traffic light, your car may idle rougher than usual. This may only happen once in a while at first. Pay attention to this early sign of trouble and car your car technician to get an appointment.
- Difficulty with acceleration: The lean fuel-to-air mixture that causes a variety of ignition failures will also cause issues with acceleration. This can make it very difficult to keep up with traffic, and driving on the freeway could be dangerous. If you are having this issue, it is imperative to take your Mini to a professional for diagnosis and repair right away.
- Low fuel efficiency: There is a delicate balance between all parts of your car working correctly to create fuel efficiency. For example, without the spark plugs working perfectly, your miles per gallon rate will suffer.
Negative Consequences of a Faulty Spark Plug
Faulty spark plugs could cause long-term damage and cost you a lot more money than the initial repair. Running your engine with defective parts could cause significant engine damage. This could result in either requiring more extensive repairs or even reducing your engine life by tens to hundreds of thousands of miles.
Let the Experts at Hagan’s Motor Pool Help You
Hagan’s Motor Pool serves customers in Alton, Barrington, Berwick, Dover, and Rochester, NH. Our skilled technicians specialize in European cars and are here to help you. We will diagnose your Mini and provide service and repairs to get your vehicle back to working at its optimal performance. Call us today to set an appointment.