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Spark plug wires are the arteries of your hot rod; Providing a path for electrons to flow to the spark plug and creating a spark across the plug gap to initiate the combustion process and power stroke. If this path is ever interrupted, a misfire will occur, robbing your engine of power and creating driveability issues that will drive you crazy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a distributor or coil-per-cylinder ignition system, plug wires have a lot of external forces working against them. They live in a brutal environment of extreme heat, they’re whipped around from underhood air currents, have oils spilled on them and during tune-ups, they get yanked and pulled around. All of this while carrying thousands of volts to the plugs.
PLUG WIRE MAINTENANCE
Plug wires have their work cut out for them. When there are no problems, the wires are forgotten and may go without being inspected or replaced over time. Depending on your application and what ignition system you are using, the plug wires should be considered a routine maintenance item. This is especially true of the coil wire as it works up to eight times more than the other wires.
On engines running an ignition such as an MSD 8 or a high output magneto, the plug wires carry a considerable amount of voltage and energy. Just like any other part of a race car, the wires will wear. Resistance could go up, cracks or breaks in the conductor could occur, and the terminals will wear from being pulled off and on during pit thrashes. How often you change your wires depends on how often the car is raced. In extreme conditions, you’ll want to inspect the wires every couple of events. For bracket cars and sportsman racing, maybe replace the entire wire set once throughout the year.