You simply remove the HT lead and plug the device in-line, so it connects to the end of the HT lead and the base of the spark plug.
Operate the engine as usual, and the tester will illuminate if it is receiving a strong electrical input. If no light is illuminated further diagnostic work is needed.
First swap the plug, then the HT lead. If you get no joj, then work back down the ignition system until you find the fault. You can test a plug for a spark by 'earthing it'. To do this removing the plug, but reconnect the HT lead — hold the HT rubber boot with insulted pliers and almost touch the engine block with the spark plug.
Get someone to attempt to start the engine and you should see a strong blue spark jump from the plug to the engine. If this is a weak spark it may not be sufficient to overcome the immense cylinder pressures — which is why an in-line tester is a more reliable method of diagnosis. A spark plug generates huge voltages anywhere between , volts! Measuring the voltage is not really necessary as a visual check will confirm whether it is sparking strongly or not — either using the earthing method or a spark plug tester.
In short — yes. But you'll generally feel the car misfiring lumpy engine note, and lack of power as it brings on the engine management light. Reading the fault codes will help you pinpoint the cause.
Save big on car maintenance costs by changing spark plugs yourself!
It's not uncommon for the coil-on-plug units to fail causing the car to misfire, and the dash light to come on. Go to front page. Search results Search Haynes. Year Year Make Make. Model Model.
How to: Check your Spark Plugs | Basil Family Dealerships
About the author Dan is an experienced motoring journalist who has more than 20 years of experience. Next, to check the spark plug lead, you can check it by ohming it checking the resistance of the wire. A conventional plug wire has a resistance of 10, to 15, ohms per foot of length: if it's measurably higher, the wire probably is bad. An absolutely failed wire will have a hairline break somewhere, and the resistance will be infinity. Also, if you have a known good spark plug good tan color , you can swap it into the position of the possible bad plug and see if it miss follows the possible spark plug or if the known good spark plug is now not firing.
Something else to consider when testing the spark plug outside of the combustion chamber your described method is that the spark doesn't travel as well under pressure as you'd see during compression inside the combustion chamber as it does under no pressure in normal atmosphere as you'd see outside the combustion chamber. Just because you see spark when testing as you did, does not prove the spark plug isn't having issues during normal running operation.
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