Proper maintenance can make a world of difference in the long-term performance and cost-to-own of your Audi. While most new cars today are engineered to stand up to a bit rougher handling than in years past, there are many benefits of proper preventive maintenance. Car care is simple with dedicated service contracts but knowing your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will let you plan ahead and be an informed car owner.
Changing your spark plugs is hardly the only preventive maintenance task on a thorough checklist. That doesn’t make doing so any less important. In fact, here are two great reasons why it pays to stay on top of this one item of preventive car care:
- New spark plugs keep your engine at peak performance and efficiency. Frequent misfires lead to increased and more harmful exhaust emissions and reduced gas mileage.
- With winter settling in over the Northeast, new spark plugs can greatly improve cold starts. Worn or dirty spark plugs need higher voltage to start your engine, which puts undue wear on your battery and starter.
How Do I Know My Spark Plugs Need to Be Replaced?
The nice thing is, your car will let you know when it’s time to replace the spark plugs. As with anything car-related, of course, if the goal is to prolong the life of your car, then the time to take action is before you notice the symptoms.
If any of these four items are something you notice whenever you get behind the wheel, then you know what to do:
- Poor fuel economy: This is the most common symptom, and can indicate any number of potential issues. Worn spark plugs are one of the most common offenders, and cause your mileage to worsen because your car’s engine isn’t receiving the right heat-generating spark at the right moment to ensure full fuel combustion.
- Reduced performance: Right alongside poor fuel economy, reduced performance can be an indicator of plenty of problems, with worn spark plugs a common and easily diagnosed offender. Worn spark plugs mean that acceleration can be sluggish and gear changes can feel like they take an eternity.
- Hard vehicle starts: Getting your car to turn over on a cold New England winter day can be hard enough; getting it do so with worn spark plugs leading the charge can be like running up an icy hill—it’s possible, sure, but it’s not going to be easy.
- Engine knocking noises: Misfiring spark plugs will let you know they’re there by the unusual noises that result from incomplete or improper fuel combustion. Pistons are really moving, and a mistimed or misfiring spark plug can cause constant rattling and knocking sounds.
What Are Other Preventive Car Care Items?
If preventive maintenance is so effective when it comes to spark plugs, where else could a similar approach save your Audi from unnecessary wear and tear?