The best spark plugs in the world won’t deliver if the sparkplug wires connecting them to your distributor cap aren’t up to par. Good spark plug wires are essential for reliable ignition performance. Bad ones will cause spark plug misfiring, hard starting (especially during rainy, cold or snowy weather), rough idle, hesitation when accelerating, poor fuel economy and increased hydrocarbon (HC) emissions. On 1995 and newer vehicles with OBD II Onboard Diagnostics, a bad wire-prompted misfiring may set a fault code and light up your “Check Engine” signal.
If you’ve got any of these problems going on with your ride, inspect the sparkplug wires and look for burns, cracked insulation, chaffing, visible arching and loose plugs or terminals. If you see any of those, it’s time for new wiring. Luckily, replacing your spark plug wires is fairly easy and typically requires no tools. But get it wrong and your hot rod won’t leave your garage until you fix it. To make sure you get it right the first time, E3 Spark Plugs offers step-by-step instructions on replacing your spark plug wires.
DO NOT be tempted to pop off all the wires at once. Even if your spark plug wires are numbered, it’s too easy to get them mixed up and connect your spark plugs to the distributor cap in the wrong order. Do this and you’ll have changed the firing order. Your car will run like a racehorse with a bum leg or might not run at all.
Also, don’t assume that new spark plug wires will be part of your 30,000-mile tune-up. Most shops don’t include this service because it bumps up the cost of your tune up. A new set of wires can cost anywhere from $20 to more than $100 depending on the type of vehicle and the quality of the wires. Don’t skimp here. Cheap spark plug wires won’t save you a dime in the long run.