Knowing that there is oil on spark plugs can be very scary because you will face some challenges while your car is running smoothly. Before you panic, know that the problem is not as bad as it sounds.
Many factors can cause oil on the spark plug. Some of them may be due to the spark plug o-ring or the valve cover leaking.
If so, they can be easily replaced. However, there are cases where the problem is more severe, especially if it comes out of the head gasket.
Oil is important in your car engine, but there are places where it should not get. So, if you notice that there is oil in your spark plug, you should take care of it before it grows.
What is the function of a spark plug?
If you do not already know, spark plugs play a very important role in your ignition system. Spark plugs cause your ignition to pick up.
The reason your car combustion chamber maintains the proper temperature is the result of spark plugs.
The combustion process is very delicate, so many things affect how it works. If the temperature of the combustion chamber is low a lot of energy is lost, which leads to less energy. If the temperature is too high, it is called pre-ignition.
Therefore every vehicle manufacturer checks the correct temperature range for each vehicle without normalizing everything with a single vehicle.
Therefore, it is important for you to know this, so you do not go with any other thermal range that is not intended for your car.
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What does having oil in the spark plug do to your engine?
When there is oil in your car spark plug, it is difficult to have a spark there, which means there is no combustion and ignition.
Even if the fuel pump is pumping the right fuel, it will find a way to avoid burning the cylinder.
What are the adverse effects of oil on the spark plug?
If your spark plug is coated with oil, your engine will not work in three ways:
- Complete failure to initialize;
- It’s hard to get started;
- Rough running.
We have already said that when your spark plug is soaked in oil, it affects the temperature of the combustion chamber and affects the way the engine works. The worst thing that can happen when your spark plugs are soaked in oil for too long is that it will destroy the catalyst converter. It can also wear the engine bearings as more gasoline accumulates in the oil pan.
Why is there oil in my spark plugs?
With the combustion system wired, it is only a mixture of fuel and air that should touch your spark plugs.
There is no restriction on the presence of oil in your spark plug. There are a few reasons why oil may get into your plugs. Here are 6 of them:
1. Leak or worn valve guides
The role of valve guides is to control the process by which the combustion chamber takes in air. The valves are always on to maintain the correct position as the engine is on and running. Therefore, when these guides start to leak or wear out, it will facilitate the spark plugs to the oil as it will facilitate the oil leak.
In most modern cars, you will find spark plugs somewhere around the exhaust and intake valves. Therefore, it is possible to see the oil in the spark plug because it is close to the valves due to oil leakage.
2. Broken piston
The reason your spark plugs have oil on them is because of a cracked or broken piston. This is a common occurrence when the piston heats up. This is because the engine is running, and the heat generated can lead to many cracks.
Such cracks pave the way for the oils to lead to the combustion chamber and inevitably to the spark plugs.
There are easy ways to tell if a piston is broken, namely, noise, noticeable power loss, and engine misfire while the car is running.
When not noticed, such a broken pistol can cause permanent damage to your vehicle. The longer you delay replacing it, the more money you will spend to fix the problem.
3. O-ring seal
These are located somewhere at the bottom of the spark plug. Their job is to prevent oil from getting to the spark plugs. Therefore, when this part is defective or not working, it creates a way for the oil to go through the valves and leak into the spark plugs. When this happens, you will start noticing that the engine is malfunctioning. This must be attended to to avoid leading to expensive engine problems immediately.
As a car owner, you should try to check if the seals are still intact to prevent such incidents.
4. Incorrect piston compression rings
When the piston compression rings are damaged, it can also lead to oil settling on your spark plugs. The compression rings are located at the top and bottom of the engine so that oil does not leak from the engine oil and into the combustion chamber.
The compression also rings the excess oil coming to the cylinder walls so that there is no one to go to the combustion chamber. Therefore, in the event that these rings are not in good working condition, the oil must pass through the piston and then into the combustion chamber and inadvertently into the spark plugs.
5. Valve cover gasket leak
Spark plugs are not the only thing on the cylinder head. The valve cover gasket can also be found there. Their job is to contain the engine oil and make sure it does not cross the cylinder head. If it works well, the oil will not come to the spark plugs.
As the temperature in the engine is often high, it can cause the valve cover to wear easily from the gasket and eventually cause its final damage. You can already tell what happens when this part does not work properly.
6. Flying head gasket
Some people do not care about the head gasket and often consider it a minor problem. This is another reason for the oil to get into the spark plug. Otherwise, it can lead to more serious engine problems. The head gasket is part of what is found in the combustion chamber above the cylinder head closure. It goes without saying that the result will be when the oil in the spark plug blows.
People had to spend huge amounts of money to solve problems arising from bad head gasket. So, if you identify the problem first, it will cost less to fix it.
How to fix the oil problem in the spark plug
The following process will help you to resolve the issue with the oil on the spark plug regardless of whether you are new or old driver.
1. Stop the engine
You must first turn off your car and then go to disconnect your car battery terminals. This will see that the engine is turned off and the power supply is off.
2. Remove the valve covers
The next step is to remove the valve cover. To do this, you get a screwdriver to open easily. Once you’re done with it, you can see the spark plugs and tunes.
Seals and gaskets are also exposed and give you a clear idea of what is defective and need to be fully worked on.
3. Clean the valve and head cover
You will need to clean the head and valve cover before installing new gaskets and seals. Trying to clean these parts will help remove old particles and leave a strong impression on the new parts you are installing.
When cleaning, use only plastic equipment so that the cylinder head or valve cover is not damaged during this process. While at it, make sure you are using the proper greaser.
4. Fix the new gasket and O-ring seal
Now that you are done with the steps listed above, it’s time to install the new O-ring seal and gasket. Some engines require you to apply the recommended silicone.
5. Fix new spark plugs
We have come to the final step, which is to remove the old spark plugs and replace them with new ones. Do not be tempted to clean and reuse old plugs, as they may contain some oil. Since spark plugs are already defective, it is best to replace them with new sets.
If you remove your spark plug and notice oil on it, start by investigating the cause. Cleaning your plug will not stop the accumulation of excess oil if the piston rings or worn valve stems fail.
Once you find out why this is happening and fix the problem, it’s time to clean your spark plug. Disconnect the spark plug wire, unplug and remove your plug. Then pay special attention to the tip that releases the sparks and carefully wash the whole thing.
You can use water and dish soap or a little carefully applied alcohol to cut off the oil.