What Does Oil On Spark Plugs Mean? And What Causes Oil To Leak On Spark Plugs?

Old Spark Plugs

An oil leakage on the spark plugs is caused by several reasons such as a failing gasket/ O-ring. In this article, I will look into the function the spark plugs play, and the hindrance brought about by the oil leakage.

Spark plugs are responsible for transmitting electric current to the combustion chamber from the ignition system. An oil leak could prevent efficient flow of electric current.

Spark plugs are equipped with metal shells and an electrode covered in porcelain for insulation purposes; therefore, an oil leak in this area could be quite disastrous.

There are several ways in which you can fix this problem some of which you can do without anyone's assistance. However, fixing is only required if there are clear symptoms of the leakage. In this article, we will go through several signs that may signal an oil leak.

The major cause oil spilling on spark plugs is usually wearing out of gaskets. In such a case, you will have to replace them with new ones. It will cost you but save you from further damage that may lead to a great loss.

How A Spark Plug Works

The Spark Plugs

The spark plug ignites the fuel situated in the combustion chamber. The ignition process occurs when the spark plug positioned at the top of the cylinder head draws in both fuel and air.

The piston then moves in an upward direction thereby compressing the fuel and air drawn in by the spark plug. The piston thereby creates power for your vehicle when forced back. 

In case your car is a four-cylinder, it also comes along with four spark plugs. The oil leakage that affects your spark plugs is the one meant for your engine. The main reason why oil is used in engines is to lubricate the engine's moving parts. 

Lubrication is needed since a lot of heat is generated by the moving engine parts. The friction brings about wear and tear thereby making the use of a lubricant essential. The oil lubricant is responsible for minimizing the heat effect as well as dissipating the already generated heat.

Reasons That Cause Oil Leakage On Spark Plugs

1. Faulty Piston Compression Rings

Piston Compression Rings

Piston compression rings are well situated at its top and bottom, with the car's engine. The compression rings are responsible for preventing oil from getting into the combustion chamber. The compression rings assist in getting rid of excess oil on the engine's cylinder walls.

In case the compression rings fail, the oil can easily make its way on to the spark plugs thereby causing unexpected problems. It is recommended you make sure that the compression rings on the piston are fully efficient. 

2. Defective Piston

A defective piston

A defective piston could be incapable of housing the compression rings at its top and bottom thereby creating room for possible oil leakage onto the spark plugs. Apart from that, heat can bring about failure in the operations of a piston.

If there is excessive heat, a crack forms on the piston thereby rendering it vulnerable to an oil leakage. This problem is quite serious therefore needs immediate attention once detected. Once the piston develops a hole or a crack, the only solution left is a replacement rather than repair.

3. Worn Out Valve Guides

The valve guides are responsible for regulation of the air intake. They do so by ensuring the valves are in place when the engine is running. Such a problem can only be solved by replacement of the worn-out valve guides.

Failure to replace the worn-out valve guides makes the spark plugs vulnerable to oil leakage. The worn-out valve guides could lead to very serious engine problems; therefore, their replacement is something that needs immediate attention. 

4. Defective 0-Ring Seals

Old Spark Plugs

These types of seals are situated at the bottom of the spark plugs. A defective seal can let in oil thereby causing damage to the engine. This problem could lead to serious loss; therefore, it is upon you to ensure that you replace or repair the faulty 0-Ring seals.

However, if this happens, you will be required to change both the 0-Ring seals and the spark plugs. It is an issue that that should be dealt with immediately. Dealing with it in time ensures that you don’t have to worry about your spark plugs getting affected by oil leakage.

5. Leaking Valve Cover Gaskets

Leaking Valve Cover Gaskets

The valve cover is made of metal and well situated on the engine, to prevent oil leakage into the engine. The gaskets are placed in between the valve cover and the engine. These gaskets get faulty over time thereby exposing the engine to oil leakage.

The gaskets are majorly affected by high temperatures which make them brittle thereby letting in oil. The leakage then ends up on the spark plugs making them faulty. Such a problem calls for an immediate change of the valve cover gaskets. Ignoring this could lead to further damage.


Spark Plugs On the Table

It is very important to maintain your spark plugs by ensuring that no oil leakage occurs. You should replace worn out valve cover gaskets to prevent oil from leaking. An oil leakage could lead to serious problems in the engine.

However, before you replace any component, you should first rule out the possibility of other problems. This is necessary since oil leakage could be as a result of various reasons. Enlisted above are the major concern issues that could leave in loses if ignored.

Spark plugs need thorough attention just like other vehicle parts. Neglecting them could lead to their replacement, cost you would have saved yourself by simply being more careful in preventing an oil leak or spillage.

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