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In order for your spark plugs to fire the spark and ignite the fuel/air mixture, it needs the high voltage charge. The spark plug cables are high tension leads that can carry a 22,000 volt charge with no issues. When one of these cables starts to malfunction, it can hinder the engines running.
A spark plug cable is a heavily insulated wire to stop rogue sparks or magnetisation. It travels from the ignition coil or distributor to the spark plug. It carries the 12V charge, that has been converted into a 22,000V charge, to the spark plug.
In cars that have an ignition coil or distributor, the spark charge needs to be safely carried to the plug. A 22-30,000 volt charge is not something you want going astray. An arc can set a car on fire and that’s generally not a great idea.
If there’s a crack in one of the wires then you’ll need it replaced. If you can see any areas around the wires that are clearly burned or damaged, the wire will need replacing. If the engine is clearly running rich, then it can indicate the cable is not carrying the spark.
The mechanic will remove the spark plug connector from the spark plug. They will then disconnect the other end from the ignition coil and inspect both ends for damage. The new cable will be measured and cut to size. The fittings on both ends will be connected to the cable and then connected to the plug and coil. The car will then be tested and returned to the customer.
The cables are expensive due to their heavy duty nature and the labor required to make them work. Costs start around $125 and go over $550 for more than one.
Only if they wear down and break. Typically they won’t fail under 140,000km and when they need replacing you should replace them.
It can be if it arcs around your engine bay and sets the car on fire. It can also lead to the car not running as it should. It’s not something to ignore and you should get a mechanic to replace them as needed.
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