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Spark/ Glow Ignition

Spark/ Glow Ignition

Starting problems and irregular running on vehicle engines can often be traced to the ignition system, and all engines will run either a spark or glow ignition depending on their fuel type. Much confusion exists with regards to how both systems operate, and many people assuming they are identical.

Petrol engines run a spark ignition with a separate spark plug for each cylinder. This electrode creates a spark within the cylinder that ignites the fuel/air mixture and provides motive force. Spark plugs degrade over time and will need to be replaced.

The plug must be the correct type for the engine, and great care must be taken when replacing spark plugs as the thread on the cylinder head is very prone to damage. Cross-threading the spark plug can result in the costly replacement of cylinder parts.

Diesel engines use glow plugs to warm up the cylinders prior to cold starting. The fuel/air mixture in diesel engines will auto-ignite under compression, so the glow plugs are only used to aid start-up. Faulty glow plugs may cause starting problems, and should be replaced according to the manufacturer's specification.

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