Why You Need to Change the Wires When Replacing Spark Plugs

When looking over the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals, you’ll likely see plenty about when to change the spark plugs – but what doesn’t get mentioned are the spark plug wires. Since they are responsible for delivering power to the plugs, the wires need to stay in great shape to do their job effectively. Otherwise, you could end up with many different problems, ranging from a malfunctioning radio to a rough idle. Wondering how that works? Here’s what you need to know.

Bad Spark Plug Wires = EM and RF Interference

Depending on your car’s build, spark plug wires typically run from the distributor to the spark plugs. They feature conductive material at the center shielded by heat-resistant insulation along the outside. In addition, it has a tiny spring inside the boot that helps decrease the risk of RF interference as your car runs.

Why You Need to Change the Wires When Replacing Spark Plugs at Ace Performance Automotive in Gilbert Az. ; closeup image of spark plug and wire unhinged

Despite its heat resistance, the shielding material does wear down over time, as does the spring inside the boot. When that happens, the power can essentially leak out, resulting in electro-magnetic (EM) and radiofrequency (RF) interference.  

Common Problems Caused by Old Spark Plug Wires

Electro-magnetic interference can get in the way of the proper operation of your car’s onboard computer and all its sensors. Your car may lose power or start to misfire, which can lead to the premature failure of vital components. Plus, without your engine management system working correctly, your car may stall out while driving and put you in a truly dangerous situation.

Radiofrequency interference, on the other hand, is not a safety issue, but it does prove frustrating. When it occurs, you might notice your radio making a loud ticking sound, for example, or otherwise malfunction as you try to listen to your favorite stations.

Spark plug wires can also fail internally, which often results in a rough idle, poor acceleration, and bad gas mileage. Eventually, your car may fail to startup altogether, leaving you stranded until you find the problem and replace the wires.

When to Change Your Spark Plugs and Wires

Like all maintenance services, the ideal interval for changing your spark plugs and wires depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most cars need them done at 30,000 to 60,000 miles, while others are good until 100,000 miles. The most important thing to remember is to change the wires when you do the spark plugs.

If you’re not sure when to change the spark plugs and wires, just ask your Gilbert AZ auto tech when to come in. They can also let you know when to complete other vehicle maintenance services, so you can keep up on the care of your car.

Call APA Total Car Care for All Your Vehicle Maintenance Needs

If you need your spark plugs and wires replaced or any other vehicle maintenance services, just dial 480-539-6872 or fill out our online form to reach our team at APA Total Car Care. We will help you find a convenient time to bring your car into our Gilbert AZ auto repair shop. Our team can then perform a full inspection, complete your maintenance services, and let you know if your car needs anything else to stay in great condition. Make sure to ask about our rewards program during your visit!

APA Total Car Care Work

We recently had a vehicle come in to our shop for a tune up. Upon further inspection of the spark plugs we noticed the bad spark plug wires.

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