Engine! How to detect what is wrong with your engine
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Engine! Your spark plug can tell you a lot about the performance of your engine.
Before you take advice from that mechanic hook line and sinker you might want to do some background check
How do I read a spark plug?
In general, a light tan/gray color tells you that the spark plug is operating at optimum temperature and that the engine is in good condition. Dark coloring, such as heavy black wet or dry deposits, can indicate an overly rich condition, too cold a heat range spark plug, a possible vacuum leak, low compression, overly retarded timing or too large a plug gap.
If the deposits are wet, it can be an indication of a breached head gasket, poor oil control from ring or valve train problems or an extremely rich condition—depending on the nature of the liquid present at the firing tip.
Signs of fouling or excessive heat must be traced quickly to prevent further deterioration of performance and possible engine damage.
An engine’s condition can be judged by the appearance of the spark plug’s firing end. If the firing end of a spark plug is brown or light gray, the condition can be judged to be good and the spark plug is functioning optimally.
Dry and Wet Fouling
is often caused by an overly rich condition, and the problem may lie with your air cleaner (clogged) or carburetor. Other possible causes could be low compression, vacuum leak, overly retarded timing, or improper spark plug heat range.
When a spark plug overheats, deposits that have accumulated on the insulator tip melt and give the insulator tip a glazed or glossy appearance.
A worn spark plug not only wastes fuel but also strains the whole ignition system because the expanded gap (due to erosion) requires higher voltages.
The accumulation of deposits on the firing end is influenced by oil leakage, fuel quality and the engine’s operating duration.
Lead fouling can cause your engine to misfire only at high-rpm and under hard acceleration. This condition commonly occurs when gasoline contains too much lead; however, lead fouling is not common.
Breakage is usually caused by thermal expansion and thermal shock due to sudden heating or cooling.
Abnormal electrode erosion is caused by the effects of corrosion, oxidation and reaction with lead—all resulting in abnormal gap growth.
Melting is caused by overheating. Mostly, the electrode surface is rather lustrous and uneven.
Erosion, Corrosion and Oxidation
The material of the electrodes has oxidized, and when the oxidation is heavy, it will be green on the surface. The surface of the electrodes is also fretted and rough.
For best results, taking your car to a trusted mechanic for his evaluation my be in your best interest to get to the root of the problem before wearing yourself out trying to address the issue through a costly trial-and-error process – which could result in new problems if not properly handled by someone with proper knowledge and experience.