Posts Tagged ‘spark plug’


Why Does My Engine Light Blink?


The “check engine” light has been on my dashboard for several weeks now.  When it rains, the light seems to blink unless I give it more gas.  My gas mileage has also shot through the roof.  Do you know what could be causing this?

Linus T., OR


In my experience, when the engine light is blinking like that, it usually signals a misfire.  The higher consumption of gas also makes me think you might be misfiring.  A misfire happens when a cylinder either isn’t getting a spark, or is getting bad compression.

Your first step should be to check your spark plugs, since it’s an easy fix.  If that doesn’t work out, I would suspect the ignition coil.

- Ken the Car Guy


What’s The Difference Between Diesel And Gas Engines?


Aside from using different types of fuel, what is the real difference between diesel and gas engines?

-Eric Y., WA


The main difference between the two types of engines is the method of combustion.  Gas engines use spark plugs to ignite the precombined mixture of air and gasoline.

Diesel engines on the other hand, don’t have spark plugs at all.  Instead, they rely on compression to generate enough heat to cause combustion.  Another difference is that the fuel in diesel engines is not premixed as it is in a carburetor in gas engines.  Instead, the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders while the cylinder is under compression.  This caused the vaporized fuel to burn immediately.

- Ken the Car Guy


How Do I Start A Stored Car?


My dad’s car has been in storage for the past 3 years.  I puled it out the other day and tried to get it to start, but nothing happened.  It turns over, but won’t start.  As far as I know, it was working when it was put away.  Where do I start?

-Charlie B., AZ


In this situation, it’s hard to tell exactly what the the problem is, but there are a few things to try.  If there was gas left in the tank when it was stored, it may have evaporated in the tank and carburetor, leaving a gummy residue that can stop the carb from working properly.  Even if the carb isn’t the immediate problem, you’ll want to clean it out anyway, so I’d start there.  Simply disconnect it and flush it out with tons of carb cleaner.

After reconnecting the carb, if the engine still won’t fire, I’d check the compression and spark plugs.  Spark plugs are cheap, so you can begin by replacing the old ones.  To test the compression, turn over the engine by hand with a wrench.  If there’s resistance at regular intervals your compression is good.  If not, the engine will need some professional work.

- Ken the Car Guy


How Can I Test My Spark Plugs?


A friend recommended I test the spark plugs on my Corolla since the engine won’t run properly.  What can I do to test them?

-Stan B., AZ


To test your spark plugs, start by removing them from the engine and taking a look at the tip.  The gap between the body of the plug and the arm needs to be  specific distance in order for the plug to spark.

To test this gap, you’ll need to take a look in your car manual.  Look to see how big the space should be, then head to an auto store and you should be able to find a tool for measuring spark plug gaps.

If your gap is too big or too small, bend the arm until it is the correct distance, clean off the contacts with a wire brush, and your plugs should be good to go.

- Ken the Car Guy