If your spark plug isn’t working correctly and has no visible damage, you may need to gap your spark plug. Spark plug gapping is an essential maintenance step to get the most out of your vehicle. This service can improve your fuel economy, increase the lifespan of your spark plug and be achieved at home in no time. Learn more about spark plug gapping tools and use a VIN lookup free to find the correct replacement plug for your vehicle.
Types of Gapping Tools
Spark plug gapping is achieved by a small, specialized tool. In order to measure and adjust the gap on your spark plug, it’s essential to have the right tool. Don’t start bending spark plug electrodes with pliers or other tools, or you’ll quickly damage your spark plug.
There are two basic types of spark plug gapping tools: Coin-style gauges and wire-type gauges. A coin-style is the most affordable and basic. It may not be quite as precise, but it gets the job done and is a cost-effective way to gap one or two spark plugs. For more accuracy and convenience, pick up a wire-type gap tool. There are many styles and sizes of tools, so shop around to find one that can accurately measure the gap you need.
Why Does a Spark Plug Need To Be Gapped?
If you’ve ever thrown out a spark plug that seems perfect good, it may have had a simple gap issue. A spark plug gap refers to the distance between a live electrode and a ground electrode. At the ideal distance, this gap creates an arc that can ignite your fuel/air mixture.
Search for spark plug replacements and you’ll discover two basic types: Pre-gapped and standard. Pre-gapped spark plugs already come with the manufacturer’s recommended gap. Many of them are fixed, so you won’t be able to alter the gap even with your specialized tool.
Standard spark plugs use a copper electrode that can easily be bent to increase or decrease the gap. Older models aren’t gapped at all, while newer ones come with a basic gap setting. Consult your owner’s manual to determine whether this gap is correct or needs adjustment.
Gapping Your Spark Plug
Even if you’ve purchased a pre-gapped spark plug, copper electrode plugs can alter over time. Continuous use can bend the electrode out of place, which can reduce fuel economy and eventually cause your spark plug to fail altogether.
Use your spark plug gap tool to carefully measure the exact distance between the electrodes. Your tool should also have adjustment tools to increase or decrease the distance. Continue to adjust the gap until you arrive at a happy distance for your vehicle.
Learn More About Spark Plug Maintenance
Now that you know what a spark plug gap tool is, what happens when plugs aren’t gapped properly? Learn the answer to this and other questions about your spark plugs by visiting a trusted auto parts store website or nearby location. Find all the information and parts you need to maintain your spark plugs and restore your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.