How Many Spark Plugs are in a V6 Engine?

May 10, 2018 | Guides

How many spark plugs in a v6 engine? sounds like the easiest question ever. In essence, a quick internet search will just say “6.” However, there is more to it than just that. The answer might be surprising to some.

spark plugs

The reason for that is that it actually depends on certain aspects of the car. It depends on the model of your vehicle and the engine type. After all, there are car engines that use different types of technology for their ignition process. So, asking is not a bad question.

Of course, in most cases, a V6 engine will have exactly six spark plugs. But, we should never discard the twin spark engines. So, let’s take a closer look.

The Twin-Spark Engine

This is also a very simple question to answer. Namely, these engines simply have two sparks per cylinder. So, to get the number of sparks, simply double the number of cylinders. If the engine is V6, it will use 12 spark plugs. Naturally, if it is a V8, you will need 16, and so forth.

alfa romeo twin spark engine

At this point, you are probably wondering what the point of a twin-spark (TS) engine is. So, let’s delve a bit deeper into that, and start by explaining what a twin-spark engine is.

History of the Twin-Spark Engine

The first twin-spark engine that came out was made by the Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo. The whole point of this engine was to improve the racing performance of automobiles. However, the surprising part is the year it was created. Believe it or not, this technology came to be in 1914. Yes, it has been over a century since Alfa Romeo began making these engines.

twin spark

Essentially, having two spark plugs in a cylinder can help a car’s performance. Namely, it will ensure a smoother, cleaner ride. Not to mention that it will cut down on your fuel consumption.

Better Than a Regular Engine?

Well, this question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. These engines have some advantages. For example, they will give you a cleaner burn. They will spend less fuel, and they will give you a smoother ride. But, they are not perfect.

Namely, the design is a lot more complicated, and any repairs can cost you more. Not to mention that having double the plugs potentially means having to do double the maintenance. And the car mechanic will be more than happy to charge you more for the work.

For this reason, even Alfa Romeo is switching back to regular technology with a single spark, especially since the advantages are not as noticeable as they were. Newer generations of engines are improving with each passing year, and price efficiency takes over.

Checking Spark Plugs in a V6 Engine

First things first, if you don’t know how many spark plugs your car needs, open your user manual. If you don’t have one (for whatever reason), you can also call the nearest dealership and ask them.

If you want to check the number of spark plugs in your car manually, you will have to take a look. To do this, pop open the hood and remove the engine cover (for some models). That will allow you to inspect your engine bay. Just count the number of high-tension wires that connect to the engine. The spark plug wires will usually be either black or red.

v6 spark plugs

Follow the wires, and you will see exactly where the spark plugs are. If you are purchasing a used car, it is not a bad idea to inspect the spark plugs. Sometimes, people won’t do the necessary fixes before they sell their car. And having faulty spark plugs can ruin your day.

If there is a faulty spark plug, it might stop your car from starting. And, if it doesn’t, the car still won’t give you a smooth ride. The acceleration will feel off, and the car will keep shaking. So, it is definitely in your best interest to make sure the spark plugs are good.

Of course, there is a schedule you should keep in regards to the spark plug replacement. Regular spark plugs should last you between 30 and 50 thousand miles. On the other hand, long-life platinum or iridium-tipped spark plug can last for 120,000 miles. Just make sure to check the owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

spark plug diagram

There are also several signs you can notice while driving that point towards the need to change your spark plugs. And you can usually notice the issues a faulty spark plug causes if you pay attention. Namely, a defective spark plug can cause difficulties while starting up the engine or trying to accelerate. It can also increase the fuel consumption, cause your engine to shake while on idle, and even cause violent jerks while driving. If you notice any of these, do make sure to take your car to the mechanic as soon as you can.

Final Thoughts

If you want to know how many spark plugs your car needs, the easiest way to check is to consult your manual. A regular V6 will require six spark plugs, while a twin-spark engine will need 12.

And, don’t forget that proper car maintenance includes replacing the spark plugs every now and then.

Richard Reed

Writer for TheVehicleLab.com

The Vehicle Lab

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