You’ve heard of the phrase “running on all cylinders”, and how we feel like a cup of coffee in order to be like that on a cold morning? Cars are like that. With engines of three, four, six, and eight, and the occasional twelve, the cylinders are the parts of the car where the bang happens in a good way.
A normal petrol engine relies on “suck, squeeze, bang, blow”. Suck is the drawing in of the fuel vapour. Squeeze is the upwards movement of the connecting rod (conrod) and piston towards the spark plug. The bang is the spark plug igniting the fuel vapour with the blow being the exhaust valves opening to allow the hot gases from the bang to escape.
The spark plug is a device that relies on a few things to work properly but, in essence, is an electronically powered thing that’s connected via a special cable to the car’s ignition system. Older cars used distributors, but now an ignition pack or coil provides the jolt.
What happens if something isn’t right? Let’s take a V6 engine. Simply an engine block with a vee shape, allowing three cylinders per side, a computer controls the spark that fires in each cylinder in order to keep things nice and balanced as it spins around between 1,000rpm and 6,000rpm.
However, if a spark plug has reached the end of its viable life then it won’t fire well, if at all. As a result the engine will feel unbalanced and the fuel simply gets pushed out of the exhaust unburned. The engine loses power, fuel economy decreases which hits the wallet.
Other causes could be the piston, the small block of metal that sits on top of the conrod, having a physical problem. The piston has rings that run around it in a manner designed to minimise or stop oil getting into the combustion chamber where the spark plug is. If the rings are failing or if the top of the piston is failing, ignition again will fail to be efficient and your car won’t be “running on all cylinders”.
If you feel that your car is out of balance in the engine, give your local EuroMechanica workshop a call sooner rather than later. We can have a look and a listen and advise what needs to be done to save you big money if we can! Get in touch by clicking the Book Now button at the top of this page, or call to book an appointment today!