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How the Spark Plugs Work in Your Toyota

If you could look inside each of your engine’s cylinders, you would see a small L shaped piece of metal just barely protruding into the cylinder. That is the electrode of a spark plug. Don’t let its size fool you, because it plays a key role in getting your engine to start and run.

What exactly is a spark plug, though, and how does it work? We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about spark plugs.

What is a Spark Plug?

OEM toyota spark plug

A spark plug’s whole purpose is to ignite the fuel/air mixture to begin the combustion process. It’s a small tube-shaped plug situated inside a cylinder, and it’s composed of an electrode and resistor inside a porcelain housing. There’s one spark plug in each cylinder.

How do Spark Plugs Ignite the Fuel?

When you turn the ignition key to the “start” position, the ECU triggers the ignition coils to send high voltage current to each spark plug. Then the spark plug creates a spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture. This process creates enough energy to power the engine.

All of this happens in a matter of milliseconds every time you start your car.

Do Spark Plugs Go Bad?

Yes, spark plugs eventually go bad. They can last as little as 20,000 miles or as long as 100,000 miles. It all depends on the type of spark plugs you use, as well as the fuel quality, engine timing, and the health of the ignition system. You can read more information about how long spark plugs last here.

Seeing that Toyotas last practically forever, you’ll have to replace your spark plugs quite a few times during your car’s lifespan.

Are Spark Plugs Easy to Replace?

Replace toyota spark plug

Good news: spark plugs are easy to replace. All you have to do is to order OEM spark plugs online and then replace them yourself at home. Here are some resources to get you started:

Written by Jason Lancaster