How to Stop Spark Plug Wires from Arcing

The arcing of spark plug wires is a condition that many people notice in their vehicles several times, and they begin to look for ways on how to stop spark plug wires from arcing.

Spark plug wires arcing usually happens when the wires of the spark plug are cracked, faulty, or have gone loose.

When your spark plug wires are in any of these conditions, it can make the metals spark electricity when they come in contact with each other, thereby exposing the engine of your vehicle to fail or other problems that may be too costly to handle.

It is essential to know the best way to stop the arcing of spark plug wires as it will help your vehicle’s engine always work and remain in good condition. The reason is that spark plug and their wires are essential for the smooth running of your vehicle’s engine.

Spark Plug Arcing Symptoms

Some symptoms help you tell if your spark plug is arcing or not. Such symptoms of spark plug arcing include:

Rise in Fuel Consumption: when a spark plug is bad, one of the most familiar noticeable symptoms is a rise in your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

Such a bad spark plug can develop gaps and transfer fragments to the area of combustion, thereby making the engine’s moving parts to be contaminated.

Engine Rough Idle: another common spark plug arcing symptom is rough idle. Your spark plug’s wires help transmit currents of electricity from the electrical system to the spark plugs in your vehicle’s engine during ignition.

If your spark plug wires are arcing, they may obstruct the smooth flow of electric current that should get to the spark plugs. Such obstruction may result in rough engine idle.

Engine Knock: arcing spark plug can lead to a severe case of engine knocking. When an engine knocks, other parts may become destroyed too. Such elements include the cylinder head valves that can melt and the piston head that may become perforated.

Other components that may damage are the piston compression rings, the cylinder, which can become perforated due to constant pressure in the combustion chamber. The lubrication system may also get contaminated with debris and cause other parts to stop functioning.

Engine Misfire: engine misfiring occurs when there is partial fuel burning. A blinking check engine light is always an indication of this symptom, and it can cause problems such as power loss, abnormal engine sounds that come up once in a while, carbon deposits around the spark, and engine knock.

Loss of Acceleration Power: an arcing spark plug can contribute to your vehicle’s loss of acceleration power. One of the consequences of this symptom is that the vehicle’s fuel consumption is high. It uses up more fuel than usual.

Engine Backfire: engine backfire shows a lack of balance between the fuel and the air. This imbalance in the fuel-to-air ratio will cause the explosion of unused fuel particles in the exhaust system.

This situation needs to be fixed quickly to prevent the catalytic converter from damaging.

Hard Start: hard start is also a spark plug arcing symptom that means your car takes a long time to ignite. It shows that the spark plug is finding it difficult to spark the ignition.

Urgent attention should be given to fix hard start as it can lead to complex ignition problems if it continues.

How to Stop Spark Plug Wires from Arcing

Having seen the symptoms of spark plug arcing, you already know if your spark plug wires are arcing. Now, we have to know how to stop it, and the ways you can stop spark plug wires from arcing are listed below.

Conduct a Routine Check of the Spark Plug Wires and the Entire Engine: one vital way to stop spark plug wires from arcing is performing a routine check of the vehicle’s engine and wires. This frequent check on the spark plugs enables you to know that your car is functioning well.

You also have to check your spark plug wires at each check for wear-outs and ensure you fix them immediately you notice any problem. Failure to do this routine checkup on your vehicle’s engine can make your spark plug wires arc.

Find the Disconnecting Point of the Shift Linkage and Repair them: a disconnection of the shift linkage of the spark plug is one of the things that cause spark plug wires arcing. The disconnection is caused by an electrical current that does not flow evenly.

Therefore, determining this point of disconnection and fixing it is a way to stop the wires from arcing. It will also help if you ensure that the wires don’t arc at ground planes such as intake gasket, exhaust manifold, engine bracket, etc.

An arc-fault detection device can help you check the loose wire connections in electric arcs. When you have determined the loose connections, you should carefully fix them by taking actions such as replacing the wires or other necessary parts.

Change the Arcing Ignition Coils: the work of ignition coils is to send high voltage sparks to the spark plugs. The high voltage sparks cause the combustion gases to ignite in the engine’s cylinder. But, on the other hand, a weak coil can cause spark plug arcing.

The arcing occurs because the high voltage cannot turn and cannot escape to external sources or grounds that don’t support the surfaces of coil ignition. So, changing the weak ignition coils and the spark plug wires connected to them will stop spark plug wires from arcing.

Change the Entire Spark Plug Wires with New Wires: worn-out wires and plug wire sparking will usually cause plug wires to arc. This can happen because of malfunctioning wires that create arcing between the ground block of the engine and the wires.

The best option in such a case is to change all the malfunctioning spark plug wires with new ones, and this is easy as the wires are not expensive. Once you have replaced all the faulty wires with new ones, the wire arcing will stop, and your vehicle will function optimally.

Apply Electric Grease: you can stop spark plug wire arcing by applying a die electric grease, mainly if a lack of connection causes the spark. The way to do this is by removing the wires of the spark plug that connects to the distributor cap.

Place the die electric grease on the terminals, replace the spark plug wires and let the die electric grease sit for about sixty minutes to seal appropriately. Doing this will avoid the shorting of wires from the distributor cap and make the engines run well.

How to Keep Spark Plug Wires from Arcing

If you are careful about keeping spark plug wires and avoid arcing, you can take the actions below to achieve it. These are preventative maintenance measures that help you to examine your car and avoid sparks coming from spark plug wires. Such practices and measures include:

Carefully Inspection of the Spark Plug Wires

Always make out time to examine the wires of your spark plug in a place that has enough light and brightness for a better view. Inspect the plug wires for impressions, small cuts, and anything that may show harm.

Spray Water on the Wires

You can spray water at the points of the boot and spark plug connection. Detach the spark plug if the mist causes the engine to go off, and then check the boot for carbon tracking. Once you notice carbon tracking, ensure you change the spark plug quickly.

Check the Routes of your Spark Plug Again

Wrong wire routing will deplete your vehicle’s power. It is best to go through your vehicle’s manual again and ensure that all the wires go through the correct route and are in the right ports.

Get a Spark Plug Tester

A spark plug tester will help you do a proper check to avoid misfire because a spark miss or misfire causes black smoke to appear from your vehicle’s exhaust. It also reduces your engine’s power. A simple guide on how to test spark plug wires for plug misfire include:

Separate the spark plug from its plug lead and attach the spark plug lead to your spark plug tester. Next is to connect the spark plug to the plug tester to connect the spark plug to the lead. Finally, run your engine and pay attention to erratic timing gaps.

Always Clean your Spark Plug

Ensure to clean your spark plug regularly to make sure that fragments don’t enter the combustion chamber. A wire brush or spray is the best for removing debris and not abrasives. You have to detach the spark plug from its lead before cleaning. Ensure you use a spark plug socket wrench to pull the plug.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Many questions have been asked concerning spark plugs and wires, as many people want to know how to stop spark plug wires from arcing. Here are some questions that people have asked repeatedly concerning arcing spark plug wires.

What is wrong with the crossing of spark plug wires?

Crossing spark plug wires cause a  wrong matching of air compression and fuel timing in the spark delivery as they will not align. This wrong alignment between these parts will likely cause your engine not to run or run roughly if it ever runs, resulting in more electrical danger.

Other things that could happen when spark plug wires cross include the breakdown of plug wire insulation, energy leak, cross-firing from one plug to another, and spark reduction at critical times, which causes a miss. It may not be easy but, you should try to avoid your spark plug wires from crossing.

Is it bad for spark plug wires to touch?

Spark plug wires touching should not be a problem if the spark plugs and wires are in good condition. The reason is that they fire at different times, and there is a reasonable distance between the wires. But, you may want to insert plastic ties to introduce some space.

However, do not allow plug wires to touch your engine’s base metal as this can lead to misfiring and other electrical issues. Such electrical problems can lead to a bad engine which in turn negatively affects your vehicle. It is best to make a space of about ½” between your plug wires.

Can you use electrical tape on spark plug wires?

It is not advisable to use electrical tape on spark plug wires unless in emergency and only for a few days before you do the proper repair. The reason is that when spark plug wires are exposed, they are dangerous and can become hazardous if they are touched to remove or plugin.

The best approach to spark plug wire arcing is to do a lasting repair, such as replacing all the wires to stop arcing and preventing electrical hazards. Electrical tape spark plug wires are a weak fix as the electrical tape can be pierced easily, leading to fire risk.

Why is my coil arcing?

Coils undergo issues such as corrosion, overheating, and cause leaks as they do the work of sending spark to the plugs for the ignition of combustion gases in a vehicle’s engine. Coil case leaks usually cause coil arcing as a result of outside sparks and grounds against its surface.

Coil case leaks happen when the oil case that houses a coil breaks due to overheating from the coil. This breakage causes oil to leak, leading to so much oil in the carburetor resulting in low vehicle function. Always check your coil for any sign of oil leak and change the coil to prevent arcing.

Final Words

The role of spark plug wires in keeping your vehicle’s engine running well cannot be overemphasized. It is necessary to maintain them to avoid arcing by running a regular check to look out for faults or wear out because such checks will be much cheaper than when the engine develops problems.

It would be best if you changed all spark plugs and wires during replacement to avoid engine stop. Following these tips on how to stop spark plug wires from arcing will help you prevent the electrical leaking that leads to wire arcing and also ensure your vehicle’s engine is running well and in good condition.


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