Engine Misfiring? Here Are the Top 5 Spark Plug Testers to Help You With Your Diagnosis
After enjoying your go-kart or mini bike for some time now, it’s time to give the engine a good checkup or even a service. Fortunately, this is something you can do for yourself. No need to pay through the nose for a mechanic to do it for you. All you need are the right tools, one of which is a spark plug tester.
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What Is a Spark Plug Tester?
To answer that question, you’ll first of all need to know what a spark plug is and what it does in your engine.
Gasoline engines are combustion engines (you can look that one up). A spark plug is like a firelighter that ignites the combustion engine. By taking current from the ignition, the spark plug creates a spark that ignites the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber, thus firing up the engine.
Besides firing up the engine, spark plugs ensure that your engine runs smoothly.
What Happens if I Have Faulty Spark Plugs?
Spark plugs are vital to engine health. This is why you need a spark plug tester on hand. It will help you check your spark plugs regularly. Otherwise, if your spark plugs become faulty:
Engine won’t start. If your spark plugs are very bad, they won’t be able to deliver the much needed spark your engine needs to fire up. Your engine won’t start.
Engine will misfire. Especially during acceleration. Acceleration requires more power. More power requires more combustion, which in turn needs a spark. If your spark plugs are faulty, your engine will misfire instead of accelerating.
Poor engine performance. Poor spark plugs lead to lean burning in the combustion chamber. This means the engine won’t perform at its best. It won’t deliver the right amount of power.
Poor fuel economy. A poorly performing engine means fuel is not burning properly, leading to more fuel being used to provide power.
So you see, healthy spark plugs are necessary for you and your kids to continue enjoying your mini-bikes, go-karts, or whatever other engine powered toys you have.
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What Does a Faulty Spark Plug Look Like?
A faulty spark plug can be easy to spot if it shows tell-tale signs such as:
A white center. This shows that your engine is “lean burning”.
Carbon Build-up. This is a black sooty build up around the spark plug.
Oil build-up. Sometimes oil can seep through the piston rings and is burnt together with the fuel. This is common but it shouldn’t be consistent as it can damage the spark plugs.
But there are times a faulty spark won’t have any tell-tale signs. This is where a spark plug tester comes in.
The Importance of a Spark Plug Tester
As said above, not all faulty spark plugs show that they are faulty. With every spark a spark plug gives off, its lifespan is reduced. This reduction in life is not visible to the naked eye. A spark plug can help you determine approximately how much life a spark plug has left, helping you prepare in advance for replacement plugs. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.
The Top 5 Spark Plug Testers – Pick the One That Sparks Your Interest
If you’re in a conundrum as to which spark plug tester you should go for among the many choices available, we have sifted out 5 that you can choose from. These are in no particular order, so just pick the one you like. They all qualify to be in the “best spark plug tester” category.
1. OTC 6589 Electronic Ignition Spark Tester
This spark plug tester has garnered a lot of positive reviews on Amazon. All you have to do to test your spark plug is to clamp it, ground it and turn on the ignition. For those who are into counting sparks, a consistent ticking sound will keep you in the know of how many sparks a being produced.
2. RAMPRO In-Line Spark Plug Tester
To test your spark plug, connect the tester between the spark plug and the spark plug wire. If the spark plug is working, the light on the tester will light up.
3. Lisle 20610 Inline Spark Plug Tester
The Lisle spark plug tester is another simple tool for checking your spark plug. As with the RAMPRO, all you have to do is to connect the tester between the spark plug and the plug wire and check for a light.
4. T1A In-Line Spark Plug Tester
This tester is made specifically for small engines – lawnmowers, mini bikes, e.t.c. The T1A helps you check your plugs for inconsistent timing.
5. Thexton THE404 Spark Plug Tester
Another tester with rave reviews, the Thexton THE404, allows you to adjust the size of the spark and also has a safety shield to contain the spark.
Give Your Engine the Spark it Deserves
That’s about it concerning spark plugs, spark plug testers, and your engine. Now that you know why your engine has been misfiring, grab a spark plug tester, discover the faulty plug and replace it with a good one.