Learn About Spark Knock

It’s never a good sign when your car engine starts making new noises. Spark knock is a common metallic knocking noise that emanates from the engine. If you hear this familiar sound, it might not be caused by something serious. There are some easy fixes for spark knock, as well as some more complicated causes.

What is Spark Knock?

Spark knock, or engine knocking, is a knocking or pinging noise in your car’s engine. You may notice it right after ignition, or when your engine is accelerating. You may also notice it if you’re towing a heavy load, traveling up a steep hill, or any time your engine is working harder. Spark knock occurs inside the combustion chamber, when the combustion process isn’t occurring at the correct time in the cycle, or when there are additional combustions outside of the correct area. The noise is caused by fuel detonating. The result is a metallic pinging, rattling, or knocking noise.

What Causes Spark Knock?

Spark knock can be caused by a variety of problems within your engine. A likely cause is an overheated engine. An engine that is running too hot can cause the fuel to detonate, which leads to the knocking noise. Another possible cause is too high of a cylinder pressure. This might be fixed by simply shifting to a higher gear; it may be a more serious problem that requires a mechanic. Using the wrong fuel can also result in spark knock. Cheaper fuels do not resist detonation; switching to a higher grade may solve the problem. Other common causes include a faulty exhaust gas re-circulation valve, a bad knock sensor, or the wrong spark plugs. Some of these problems are more serious than others. If you’re not sure what’s causing your spark knock, it’s a good idea to go to a mechanic.

How do You Get Rid of Spark Knock?

Spark knock is not good for your engine over the long run. It can cause components to wear too quickly and fail. This damage can be costly to repair. The easiest thing you can do to try to stop spark knock is to use higher-octane fuel. You can also make sure the correct spark plugs are installed. In addition, make sure that your engine is running normally in all other aspects. You may need to add some coolant to the engine or change a filter to ensure the engine isn’t running too hot. Your best course of action is to have your mechanic do a full examination of your car to determine and fix any issues.

What is Pre-Ignition?

Pre-ignition is a similar problem to spark knock. It also causes a similar noise. Pre-ignition occurs when the fuel ignites before the spark. This is usually caused by hot spots in the combustion chamber, or the wrong spark plugs. Pre-ignition can also cause serious damage to your car.

How do You Get Rid of Pre-Ignition?

Pre-ignition may be fixed by changing your spark plugs. It can also be caused by sharp edges in the combustion chamber; these can be easily fixed with a grinder. Pre-ignition may also be caused by any of the causes of spark knock listed above. The best course of action is to make sure your engine is running at the correct temperature and that there aren’t any other underlying issues.

If you’re hearing new noises in your engine, you should head straight to the mechanic. Both spark knock and pre-ignition can cause serious damage to your engine. It’s better to figure out the cause of that noise right away than wait until you have bigger problems. Go to the mechanic armed with the knowledge above so you know what questions to ask.