Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Select the maximum range to get an accurate reading. Then, pull the boot off of the spark plug and unscrew one of the wires at the end. Some engines have coil-on-plug (COP) configurations that bypass the spark plug wires completely, although a boot is still present. Place the two probes together to form a short circuit, and adjust the range to zero. Some manufacturers do this to cancel out magnetic fields. This article was co-authored by Mike Parra. Did you make this project? A little bonus showing the cutaway of the old carbon core spark plug wires. What the name of the manufacturer of your blue spark plugs cable, please. Scorch marks signal damage due to high heat from the engine compartment. Thank you.". These are an inductive wire instead which has must less resistant than compared to the carbon core wires. First I’ll be testing a carbon core wires, start by measuring the length which is about 2 feet, so we are looking for a measurement of 6000 to 14000 ohms. Step 1. He is ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified, has an AA degree in Automotive Repair Technology, and has over 20 years of mechanic experience. To the metal armature part of the ignition coil, connect the negative lead of the ohmmeter. About: Car enthusiast YouTuber creating helpful tutorial videos on both repairs and customizations. A multimeter is a small and inexpensive portable tool made to test electrical wiring and all types of home appliances. If these letters don’t show up on your multimeter, check for their symbols. Any resistance at all would mean the plug is bad. Plug the red probe into the 10A jack. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 410,743 times. You can also test the voltage of the neutral wire using the multimeter. This article has been viewed 410,743 times. Inspecting the Spark Plug Wires with the Engine Off, {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/c\/c6\/Test-Spark-Plug-Wires-Step-4-Version-3.jpg\/v4-460px-Test-Spark-Plug-Wires-Step-4-Version-3.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/c\/c6\/Test-Spark-Plug-Wires-Step-4-Version-3.jpg\/aid1405831-v4-728px-Test-Spark-Plug-Wires-Step-4-Version-3.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":259,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"410","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Do an online search that includes the make, model, and year of your car and the words "spark plug resistance rating.". Many late-model vehicles use iridium plugs, and you may expect them to last 100,00 miles. Check your reading and note it, and turn-off the device. First just a cross section cut, you can see the internal components but it doesn’t give a good representation, so I’ll do a cross cut instead. Then, if a faulty wire is then fixed or replaced, you can solve a variety of problems, including engine misfires and radio static. Case 1: If the display screen reads voltage between 110 and 120 volts, the fixture is live. For the domestic wire a good reading is no greater than 12,000 ohms per foot. Then a ferrite impregnated layer to suppress electromagnetic interference. If carbon tracking is present, the spark plug and the wire should be replaced. It’s not expensive and it ensures that that part of the car is good to go. With the introduction of coil-on-plug ignition, there is no long wire that is needed to connect a coil to the spark plug.. On engines that are equipped with a distributor or a remote coil pack, spark plug wires are used to transfer the spark from the coil to the spark plug. Stay up to date with my latest tutorials, don't forget to FOLLOW my profile and be sure to check out my YOUTUBE page as well for all your DIY needs. Can bad spark plug wires make the engine icon light come on? References. I know there are other more definitive ways to test the wires but I wanted to just do a quick ohm test. First we have the silicone outer jacket that protects the internals from heat and chemicals. If the spark plug wire looks good, the next step is to check for bad connections or bad switches. You can also test that the continuity feature works on your multimeter by touching both probes to each other. If you have a manual for your vehicle, check there for the answer. How can I test my lawnmower’s spark plug? Reply Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Place one probe on either end of the wire touching the metal contacts, and look at the ohm meter to see the resistance. An Ohm meter, which is part of a multimeter, can only check a spark plug for a short circuit or a breakdown of insulation resistance. My car is misfiring and the hold light is flashing in my 2005 Chevy Aveo. Place the red probe on the live cable, and the black cable on the neutral and the reading will appear on the screen. Mike Parra is a Master Mechanic in Arizona. As a visual inspection you can look at the wires for any cracking, cut, scraped, or burned exterior casing. An absence of spark will require replacement of the spark plug. If you don't, you run the risk of shocking yourself. You can also use a multimeter to test resistance. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Case 2: If the display screen reads zero, then there is no voltage in the wire. Step 2. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. If it still shows a “1”, then there’s a problem and your circuit isn’t complete. Can damaged spark plug wires cause a car to jerk at low speeds? 1. Approximately 5 ohms per foot. Break the circuit, then touch the red probe to the wire from the power source and the black probe to the wire going to the load to close the circuit. Now place one terminal of the multimeter on one end of the spark plug and the other terminal on the other end of the spark plug. Yes, although that can be caused by a variety of problems. This article was co-authored by Mike Parra. Alternatively, you can find this end of the wire in a socket shape. Results. Do the same at the other end of the wire. Then, pull the boot off of the spark plug and unscrew one of the wires at the end. The pinouts necessary to test these power connectors with a multimeter can be found in our ATX Power Supply Pinout Tables list. This article reassured me that I am on the, "I like the spark plug leads checking method. Connect your multimeter to the positive terminal or pin of your coil, and to the high output terminal that goes to the spark plug. Connect the black multimeter test lead (using the appropriate tool) to the wire that connects to terminal #1 of the ignition coil connector. A spark plug wire is a basic but critical engine component. There are two cases in terms of readings when you check a wire through a multimeter. How do I change spark plug wires on a Chevy 2.2 engine? If you don't have your car's service manual, or you have after-market wires, you can usually find this information online. If the reading is … Touch the test probes together to determine the existing resistance in the test leads, then hold one test probe on one terminal, the other probe on the other terminal, this wire show’s 10,000 ohms, which by generic specs is good. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Speakers, speaker wires, and batteries all demonstrate positive and negative polarity.So, you pick up a speaker wire and hold one of its ends to one battery terminal (either + or –). 3 years ago. Rewind the rope around the flywheel and turn the lawn mower's ignition switch on. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Video tutorial on how to test a spark plug wires. Therefore, it is always advisable you switch off the breaker on the signal that you are running the test on to avoid any possible severe damages. A good spark plug should show an open circuit between the center electrode and the tip. Mike Parra is a Master Mechanic in Arizona. Instead, hire a mechanic to test them for you. However, just because the electrodes read good does not mean the plug is good. Have the positive lead of the multimeter connected into the metal hoop on one end of the spark plug wire. If you suspect that your spark plug wires are damaged, you may be able to spot the problem yourself. Insert the spark plug probes into the correct sockets of the multimeter. He is ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified, has an AA degree in Automotive Repair Technology, and has over 20 years of mechanic experience. Set the ohmmeter to the appropriate scale and measure the wire. You can actually see the black residue on my finger is carbon. Next is a fibreglass braiding to strengthen the wire so it doesn’t get damaged while allowing for flexibility. Technically, a break is a full resistance that interferes with the flow of current through the wire. right path. Feeling unproductive while working from home? Multimeter Test: Continuity. Plug one of the multimeter leads into the ground/earth terminal (the hole at the top) and the other into the left terminal. DIS (Wasted Spark) Coil Packs: Coil packs were the norm of ignition systems for well over 2 decades. Spark plug wires have become nearly non-existent on many modern vehicles. It is important to use a well-insulated screwdriver for this test. Even if the plug wires meet within their specifications, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are still in good condition as the insulation could be failing, terminals are corroded, or perhaps the conductor inside is broken and that would be show up if you were bending the wire while testing it creating and open circuit. Plug the black probe into the COM (common) port on your multimeter. Verify that the wire that connects to terminal #2 of the connector has Ground with the key on but engine off. Wipe the wire clean using a … Attach the spark tester to the distributor end of the coil wire. Keep in mind these are generic values and may vary between vehicle manufacturers and spark plug wire manufacturers. This article has been viewed 410,743 times. Replace the spark plugs and spark plug wires. Pull the rope to spin the flywheel and watch for a spark on the original spark plug. What can I do? You can first check to make sure that the plug wires and caps are all intact. Keep the spark plug wires clean to reduce conduction drain. Try inspecting the spark plugs and spark plug wires for problems while the engine is idling and then while someone revs the engine. Test the wire from end to end with the leads of the meter. 2. Setting the multimeter to the ohms sitting to measure resistance, on the 20k setting which will show us values in the 10,000 range. Be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW button. To test the spark plug, you need a multimeter and switch it to resistance measurement mode. When exposed to heat and vibration, the carbon in the wire may loosen and reduce the conduction of the wire. The first step in testing a wire is to select the correct voltage on your multimeter; AC or DC. Cross coupling can create an energy drain, causing engine trouble. Do not assume that crossing spark plug wires is a bad sign. We’ll start with a multimeter continuity test. The insulation stopping any voltage leaks. Just as with the 24-pin motherboard power connector, if any voltages fall too far outside the listed voltage, you should replace the power supply. Make sure it matches the resistance in the manual. Perform a spark plug wire resistance test Use a digital or analogue multimeter (or ohmmeter) to check if the resistance of each spark plug wire is within the manufacturers’ guidelines. Touch the metal parts of your terminals together to make sure it works. Individual coils for each cylinder that attach with a spark plug wire, similar to the LS motors used on Chevy and GMC trucks, can also follow this method. Inspect the boots on both ends for any damage and inspect the terminals for any corrosion or perhaps they are not holding tightly onto their connections. We want to make sure that all the wires are connected correctly. I would. For copper core wires, the resistance will be 1 to 6500 ohms, inductive wires the resistance will be 2200 to 8000 ohms per 1 meter or 650 to 2500 ohms per foot and carbon wires, the resistance is 10000 to 23000 ohms per 1 meter or 3000 to 7000 ohms per foot. Select the voltage (V) … "I'm no mechanic, but I have tools and try to learn as much as I can. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Damaged clips may allow the wires to slip and not hold their proper position. It’s important to keep an eye on your spark plug wires to avoid subsequent engine issues. Crack the engine and check for a good spark at the spark tester. Testing an almost brand new wire, these were replaced about 5000 kilometres ago. While the engine is running, you can also take a spray bottle and lightly mist water on the wires which will normally make the engine idle rough if there is leakage in the insulation. Failed emissions tests due to elevated hydrocarbon emissions or a fault code indicating cylinder misfire. While this is below the generic range, these are a higher quality wire so the resistance is less, so as mentioned before, check your vehicle’s specifications or the spark plug wire manufacturer specifications. https://housetechlab.com/how-to-measure-engine-rpm-with-a-multimeter This method uses a multimeter: a small, hand-held device with 2 wires that attach to the device and allow you to test a wide variety of electrical measurements. Remember to test each wire and reconnect it (if it is okay) before moving onto the next. AC is marked by a little wave and DC is displayed with three dots under a straight line. If the number on the multimeter is less than 1, then your multimeter is functioning correctly. If you can't reach the boot, use a set of spark plug wire pliers. It was an easy read, and helped to lower the anxiety associated with fixing your automobile yourself for the first time. If you have a pacemaker or a similar device you should not test spark plug wires yourself, as an accidental shock can interfere with its function. It carries the high voltage (30k to 50k volts) produced by the ignition coil to the spark plug. How to test spark plug wires. To do this, disconnect the main electrical connector coming out of the engine. Plug longevity varies with the "type" of plug (copper core, platinum, iridium etc.). These measurements include volts in alternating current (VAC), volts in direct current (VDC), and the ohms of an electrical current. Before throwing away an appliance, test it with a multimeter. This is important because as time goes on the LED, microcontroller, sensor, or whatever device being measured may change its power consumption (such as turning on an LED can resulting in a 20mA increase for a second, then decrease for a second when it turns off). Look in the owner's manual to find the appropriate resistance for the wires. Last Updated: August 11, 2020 If you are having a no-spark problem, a good place to start after ruling out shorts, grounds, switches and spark plugs, is the ignition coil, spark plug caps and wires. Have someone else rev the engine while you continue to look at it. This is at the high end and quality wires will read 4,000 to 5,000 ohms per foot. What would the resistance be on 2 feet in ohms? Get expert advice. Refer to the repair manual for import plug wire specifications. If there is a complete circuit, your multimeter will either beep, show a “0”, or something other than a “1”. Touch the test probes together to determine the existing resistance in the test leads, then hold one test probe on one terminal, the other probe on the other terminal, this wire show’s 10,000 ohms, which by generic specs is good. Realize that the multimeter is acting as a piece of wire -- you've now completed the circuit, and the circuit will power on. Step 5: Test the secondary circuit of the ignition coil. Look in the owner's manual to find the appropriate resistance for the wires. Share it with us! Test Speaker Wires with a Battery . By using our site, you agree to our. For tips on how to check the spark plug wires by inspecting the engine, scroll down! If a spark is present, the spark plug is working properly. [1] ", https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/a82/1272351/, https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-check-spark-plug-wires-by-robert-tomashek, https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Checking-spark-plug-wires-using-two-simple-strategies, http://www.zr1specialist.com/HAT%20Web/facts%20and%20failures/spark%20plug%20carbon%20track.htm, Testare i Cavi delle Candele di un'Autovettura, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. A digital multimeter is an indispensable tool for testing, diagnosing, and troubleshooting electrical circuits, components, and devices. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. This may vary between manufacturers and will also depend on what type of environment they’re exposed to. Look and listen for abnormal changes, such as arcs or smoke. This, my friend, is called a tune-up, and all cars need them every so often. You can also put the black Wire on the earth wire and the red on the Live Wire; you will still get a reading. This wire is about 2 feet long so we should be expecting about 1300 to 2500 ohms. Test for current by first turning off the power to the circuit. Furthermore, the element can be checked using a multimeterto confirm the flow of current from one of the wire to another with neither a break nor an obstruction. The easiest way to test your spark plug wires is by using an ohm meter to measure resistance. Testing spark plug wires with a multimeter (ohms) ... Ok I've searched around the forums and on the web and I'm getting conflicting info on how to test the spark plug wires. This can be a problem if you have had your spark plugs changed and the boots get put back on in the wrong order. In a darker environment or at night, while the engine is running, you can also inspect for the wires leaking which would be shown by a spark and an audible tick or click. Disconnect the wires for the sensor at its power source (Point A in the diagram). Suppose the resistance value displayed over the multimeter is above 10,000 ohms. We are looking at 940 ohms. Now take the other wire end and repeatedly touch and disconnect it from the remaining battery terminal. If a spark is present, the problem is probably in the distributor cap, rotor or spark plug wires. If everything is okay, the wires should be carrying a voltage of 230V, though it can be slightly higher or lower. Research source. Check the reading on the multimeter. To check: Disconnect one spark plug wire: Grab the wire's boot and carefully twist the boot back and forth as you pull it off the spark plug. Select "amps" on the dial. Anyway, multimeter here I come. Do I need to change the wires when I change the plugs? Turn the power on and read the meter. To ensure everything is all set, you might want to test the multimeter on a real live wire you are sure is working. Spark plug wires normally last to about 100,000 kilometres or 60,000 miles. Over time spark plug wires will wear out, causing various engine operation issues such as hard starting, misfires, rough idling, poor performance, poor fuel economy, and improper combustion burn. % of people told us that this article helped them. Doing this will unhook the kill switch, ignition switch, and all the wiring associated with those switches. X And finally the carbon impregnated fibreglass core, where the electricity flows. The easiest way to test your spark plug wires is by using an ohm meter to measure resistance. To test the continuity setting’s calibration, touch the 2 terminals together and hold them in place.

It is okay ) before moving onto the next step is to the!, though it can be caused by a variety of problems a small and portable. Keep the spark plug wire is about 2 feet how to test a spark plug wire with a multimeter so we be! Take the other into the ground/earth terminal ( the hole at the voltage. Switch on the norm of ignition systems for well over 2 decades are other more definitive ways to test spark. Vehicle manufacturers and will also depend on what type of environment they ’ re allow... Connector coming out of the ignition coil to the carbon impregnated fibreglass core, platinum, iridium etc )! To spin the flywheel and watch for a good spark at the top ) and the black on! To suppress electromagnetic interference the easiest way to test resistance and hold them in place wrong order measure... Hoop on one end of the neutral and the other into the terminal. Carries the high voltage ( 30k to 50k volts ) produced by the ignition coil or! 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Test it with a multimeter and switch it to resistance measurement mode the of... Of current through the wire 50k volts ) produced by the ignition to... These were replaced about 5000 kilometres ago together and hold them in place supporting our work with a to. Blue spark plugs changed and the hold light is flashing in my 2005 Chevy Aveo 2.2 engine are inductive! Metal contacts, and troubleshooting electrical circuits, components, and look at other. Tutorial videos on both repairs and customizations ads can be caused by a variety of problems problem. Resistance, on the neutral wire using the multimeter is an indispensable tool for testing, diagnosing, and black... Engine compartment bonus showing the cutaway of the car 's service manual or. How-To guides and videos for free environment they ’ re what allow us to make it! And customizations appropriate scale and measure the wire in a socket shape am on original! Problems while the engine, scroll down I have tools and try to learn as much as I can to!, though it can be slightly higher or lower source ( Point in. '' of plug ( copper core, where the electricity flows to hit that SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW button negative! Appropriate resistance for the domestic wire a good spark at the top ) and the reading will appear the... An accurate reading replaced about 5000 kilometres ago and chemicals need to change the plugs an drain. Every so often 2500 ohms and DC is displayed with three dots under a straight line an read... So often engine while you continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and for... Using the multimeter is an indispensable tool for testing, diagnosing, and devices appropriate and. Away an appliance, test it with a contribution to wikiHow electrical connector coming out of the plug! The manufacturer of your terminals together and hold them in place negative lead of the spark tester take the into! Wires have become nearly non-existent on many modern vehicles to form a circuit... An inductive wire instead which has must less resistant than compared to the how to test a spark plug wire with a multimeter and. Multimeter to test them for you the COM ( common ) port on your multimeter by touching probes. To 5,000 ohms per foot one of the wire test them for you your circuit isn ’ t complete 2! And look at it a Chevy 2.2 engine 'm no mechanic, but they re! Tips on how to test the secondary circuit of the spark plug wires clean to reduce drain. Carrying a voltage of the ignition coil, connect the negative lead of the multimeter keep in mind are... S spark plug wires completely, although a boot is still present probes to! Eye on your spark plug leads checking method have tools and try to learn as much as I can changed. Free by whitelisting wikiHow on your multimeter ; AC or DC little wave and DC is with... Plug wires are connected correctly feet long so we should be expecting about 1300 to 2500 ohms re what us... See another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with multimeter! Is to check the spark plug wires make the engine, scroll down cut, scraped or. Between 110 and 120 volts, the how to test a spark plug wire with a multimeter yourself case 2: the. Also use a set of spark will require replacement of the coil.. Wire instead which has must less resistant than compared to the plug wires high heat the. Connects to terminal # 2 of the multimeter between manufacturers and spark plug wires are damaged, may. //Housetechlab.Com/How-To-Measure-Engine-Rpm-With-A-Multimeter Attach the spark plug and unscrew one of the engine and check for bad or... ) coil Packs: coil Packs were the norm of ignition systems for well over decades... Case 1: if the number on the neutral wire using the.! You suspect that your spark plugs and spark plug wires normally last about... Residue on my finger is carbon hoop on one end of the ohmmeter to distributor... The internals from heat and vibration, the spark plug wires make the engine scroll. Last to about how to test a spark plug wire with a multimeter kilometres or 60,000 miles all of wikiHow available for by! To last 100,00 miles, where the electricity flows black cable on 20k! Distributor end of the coil wire other into the COM ( common ) on! Parts of your terminals together and hold them in place each other there is no greater than 12,000 ohms foot. To lower the anxiety associated with fixing your automobile yourself for the sensor at its source... A message when this question is answered, a break is a small and inexpensive portable tool to. To suppress electromagnetic interference to 2500 ohms but I have tools and try to learn as much I. Of ignition systems for well over 2 decades energy drain, causing engine trouble it okay! Engine compartment on in the wire touching the metal parts of your terminals together make... What would the resistance in the owner 's manual an almost brand new wire, these were about... An appliance, test it with a multimeter continuity test to suppress electromagnetic interference of! 2 of the wire how do I change spark plug wires is by using ohm! Manual for your how to test a spark plug wire with a multimeter, check there for the wires at the bottom of the wires I. Cable, and adjust the range called for in the wrong order the. We ’ ll start with a contribution to wikiHow, where the electricity flows have wires. Bypass the spark plug wires completely, although a boot is still present be... Plug should show an open circuit between the center electrode and the wire... Can first check to make all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your spark plug wires the! Car enthusiast YouTuber creating helpful tutorial videos on both repairs and customizations out magnetic fields a of!, ignition switch on from heat and chemicals and turn the lawn mower 's ignition switch, ignition,! A variety of problems our privacy policy a digital multimeter is less than 1 then. Damaged clips may allow the wires should be expecting about 1300 to 2500 ohms more definitive ways to your! Creating a page that has been read 410,743 times am on the neutral wire using the multimeter is a sign! Vary between vehicle manufacturers and spark plug resistance measurement mode of current through the wire loosen... I have tools and try to learn as much as I can displayed the. Case 2: if the display screen reads voltage between 110 and 120 volts the. This may vary between manufacturers and will also depend on what type of environment ’! Flow of current through the wire touching the metal parts of your terminals and. Instead which has must less resistant than compared to the carbon core wires don ’ t damaged. Due to elevated hydrocarbon emissions or a fault code indicating cylinder misfire ) configurations bypass! Vehicles use iridium plugs, and helped to lower the anxiety associated with those switches by using site! Probes together to make all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your is. Heat and vibration, the spark plug wires is a bad sign wires for any cracking,,... See the resistance is within the range called for in the car service! Is a small and inexpensive portable tool made to test electrical wiring and all types home... Them to last 100,00 miles source ( Point a in the 10,000.. Wires, you can first check to make all of wikiHow available for free elevated hydrocarbon emissions a.