Why you should replace BMWMINI spark plugs earlier than scheduled. BLOG ARTICLE: http://blog.bavauto.com/17568
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BMW DIY Video - Why You Should Change Your BMW or MINI Spark Plugs Before Recommended Interval
New spark plugs:
Metric Socket Set:
Spark Plug Sockets:
Maintenance intervals for today’s BMWs and MINIs rely heavily on what BMW calls CBS (Condition Based Service). The CBS program computes service and replacement intervals for various vehicle systems based on inputs from sensors, vehicle mileage and vehicle use. The CBS monitors various vehicle systems for service, such as; engine oil, brake pads, brake fluid, cabin micro-filters, spark plugs and overall vehicle inspection and service intervals. While the built-in service reminders (regardless of which version is in use on your BMW or MINI) can help assure that the vehicle receives at least some level of maintenance, these reminder intervals are typically longer than desired for an optimum vehicle life cycle. The reminders really should be viewed as the absolute minimum service intervals and certainly not the intervals for maximum systems longevity.
One good example of extended service intervals is the engine spark plugs. Current models run with spark plug replacement intervals at about 100,000 miles. The spark plugs actually wear as a part of their function in producing a spark. When the spark is produced, a small amount of metal from the electrode is removed (or, worn away). Over the millions of sparks produced in just 30,000 miles of driving, the electrodes will start to show physical wear. As the electrodes wear they become rounded and the gap increases. The increased gap is an obvious issue in reducing spark energy and consistency, but the rounded electrodes actually have more of a degrading effect on the spark than the slight gap increase. Add the two together and we start to see a general degradation in engine efficiency. We may even start to experience noticeable misfires.
While the spark plugs used today, as well as improved engine management, do allow longer service intervals than the BMW recommended 30,000 miles from the ‘80s, we have consistently found that the 100,000 mile recommendation is well past the optimum spark plug life cycle. While the plugs may still be operating acceptably, in general, they may be experiencing random misfires and reduced spark energy. This is due to the normal wear of the electrodes. We may see this degradation as a noticeable miss in the engine or generation of an engine management fault code (CHECK ENGINE or Service Engine Soon warning light).
So what can you, the BMW or MINI owner, do about this? Replace your BMW’s or MINI’s spark plugs at a shorter interval. With experience, we recommend replacement between 30,000 and 40,000 miles to ensure maximum fuel efficiency (fuel mileage) and engine performance. Check out the samples of spark plugs that we recently pulled from three different vehicles. Coincidentally, each of these sets of plugs had between 30,000 and 35,000 miles on them. All were exhibiting noticeable engine misfires. One of the two later vehicles also displayed individual cylinder misfire fault codes. Note that all of the plugs were burning well. In other words, no heavy carbon, oil or fuel additive build-up that would have caused the misfires. The plugs are just simply worn. New spark plugs cured the misfires and improved engine response on all three.
Check out the old vs. new spark plugs for these three vehicles, noting the fairly clean burning, but worn electrodes:
1995 M3, 145,000 miles:
Occasional misfires (bucking) under acceleration. No fault codes. Spark plugs had between 30,000 and 35,000 miles of use.
2012 MINI Cooper, 32,000 miles:
Quite apparent engine misfire and backfire noise through exhaust. Cylinder #4 misfire fault code. Spark plugs had 32,000 miles of use (original plugs).
2007 335i, 90,000 miles:
misfires under acceleration. No fault codes. Spark plugs had 31,000 miles of use (Walnut de-carbon blast performed 8,000 miles before).
All products noted in this video can be purchased in our online store, http://www.bavauto.com/, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are also welcome to e-mail us at [email protected] or call into our headquarters and speak to our knowledgeable advisors at (800) 535-2002 (Mon.-Thurs. 8AM to 9PM EST, Fri. 8AM to 7PM EST, and Sat. 9AM to 4PM EST
Tags: Why you should replace BMWMINI spark plugs earlier than scheduled, spark plug, BMW, MINI, replace, mileage, ignition mis, miss, ignition, misfire