If you own a Mini, you might have experienced glow plug failure. Glow plugs are essential components in diesel engines, and when they fail, it can cause a range of issues. In this article, we’ll discuss what a glow plug does, how and why it fails, and what to do when it fails.
What is a glow plug?
A glow plug is a device that is used in diesel engines to help with cold starting. Diesel engines rely on heat to ignite the fuel, and this heat is generated by compressing the air in the cylinders. When the engine is cold, the air in the cylinders is also cold, which makes it harder to generate enough heat to ignite the fuel.
This is where the glow plug comes in. A glow plug is a heating element that is placed in the cylinder head, and when the engine is started, it heats up the air in the cylinder, making it easier to ignite the fuel. Once the engine is running, the glow plug is no longer needed, and it shuts off automatically.
How and why do glow plugs fail?
Glow plugs are subject to wear and tear, just like any other component in your engine. Over time, they can become worn, corroded, or damaged, which can cause them to fail. Glow plugs can fail for a range of reasons, including:
- Age: Glow plugs have a limited lifespan, and they will eventually wear out over time. Depending on the make and model of your car, you may need to replace your glow plugs every 100,000 miles or so.
- Corrosion: Glow plugs are exposed to high temperatures and corrosive gasses, which can cause them to corrode over time. Corrosion can cause the glow plug to become less effective, and eventually, it may stop working altogether.
- Fouling: Fouling is a buildup of carbon deposits on the glow plug. This buildup can insulate the heating element, making it less effective at heating up the air in the cylinder.
- Electrical problems: Glow plugs are electrical devices, and they can fail due to a range of electrical issues. For example, a faulty connection, a blown fuse, or a broken wire can all cause your glow plugs to stop working.
What To Do When Your Glow Plug Fails
If your glow plug fails, you’ll likely notice a few symptoms. The most common symptom is difficulty starting your engine, especially when it’s cold. You may also notice a rough idle, reduced power, or an increase in exhaust emissions. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to have your car checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
Replacing a glow plug is a relatively simple process, but it does require some mechanical knowledge. If you’re comfortable working on your car, you may be able to replace your glow plugs yourself. However, if you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s best to take your car to a trained mechanic.
When replacing your glow plugs, it’s essential to use high-quality parts. Cheap, low-quality glow plugs may be cheaper, but they are often less effective and have a shorter lifespan than higher quality parts. Always choose a reputable brand, and make sure you choose the correct type of glow plug for your car.
In addition to replacing your glow plugs, it’s also essential to address any underlying issues that may have caused your glow plugs to fail in the first place. For example, if your glow plugs failed due to corrosion, it’s crucial to determine why your glow plugs became corroded in the first place. Addressing the root cause of the problem will help prevent your glow plugs from failing again in the future.
Bavarium Autoworks is Here to Help
Bavarium Autoworks makes it easy for Mini drivers in or around Mountain View, CA to get the glow plug inspection or repair they need. We are a dedicated service shop specializing in European vehicles, including Minis. Our technicians have experience diagnosing, repairing and servicing all European makes and models, so no matter what you drive you can find the help you need at Bavarium Autoworks. Not only that, but our reach extends beyond Mountain View: we serve drivers from surrounding areas like Cupertino, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara and Saratoga too! So if your Mini needs a little TLC, call us today to see what we can do.