Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause Rattling?

Out of all the woes our universe can bestow upon us, car issues take the win as the most annoying, time-consuming predicament to be in. It can also be one of the most expensive, especially when you don’t know what is causing your car issues.

Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause Rattle

Can bad spark plugs cause a rattling noise? Yes, but thankfully it won’t be the end of the road for your car.

This article will discuss what bad spark plugs sound like and how to give your spark plugs the greatest life expectancy possible. We’ll also delve into how to safely replace your bad spark plugs.

What Does A Car Sound Like When Spark Plugs Are Bad?

Cars make all kinds of noises, but people have gotten quite adept at differentiating between the “good” and “bad” sounds. One of the weird ‘bad” sounds that crop up could be a popping noise from inside the hood. Another would be a rattling noise.

Either one of these sounds is a good indication that your spark plugs have gone bad due to either age or corrosion. While these sounds may simply be annoying, remember cars communicate their issues via sound.

Harmless at first, leaving these rattling or popping sounds of a bad spark plug alone can often lead to expensive repairs.

What Issues Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause?

Spark plugs ignite the air and gas in your cylinders, which causes the combustion that powers up your car. As you continue to drive, your spark plugs continue to ignite and keep your engine going.

Spark plugs relate directly to your engine’s health, so a faulty spark plug can cause many issues. Noticeable issues would include:

  • Slow acceleration. As you speed your car up, your bad spark plugs will find it difficult to continue igniting and help combust the air and gas in your engine.
  • Issues starting your car. Your bad spark plugs may have issues igniting initially and could result in several failed attempts to start your engine.
  • Misfiring engine. Your engine could misfire, often resulting in a loud popping noise, which has also been described as backfiring.
  • Rough idling. Bad spark plugs can cause a rattling sound and even make your car vibrate while at a standstill.
  • Destroyed engine. In severe cases, spark plugs can destroy an engine, resulting in thousands of dollars of costly repairs.

Your best bet will be to see a mechanic immediately once you begin hearing those telltale rattling noises or experiencing any of the issues mentioned above. Doing so will help you avoid any extra repairs and keep you from using an unreliable ride.

Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause Rattle

Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause Engine Noise?

Spark plugs cause the combustion between the air and gas in your car’s combustion chamber. Good spark plugs will make no noise as the reaction between the air and gas typically remains somewhat quiet.

On the other hand, bad spark plugs will have trouble igniting and causing this combustion reaction, meaning your engine could begin making a popping noise as the spark plugs struggle to ignite. Your engine may also make a rattling noise, or your car could begin to vibrate.

What Else Would Cause a Rattling Noise In The Car?

Here are a few of the most common causes of a rattling noise coming from your car.

Deteriorating Exhaust System

Sometimes your exhaust system can begin to corrode or rust, which may cause the muffler or tailpipe to rattle, creating a rattling noise much like the one discussed above.

A deteriorating exhaust system may not need to be completely overhauled to fix it. Sometimes, tightening or clamping loose parts will cease the rattling.

Failing Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters can sometimes fail due to a misfiring spark plug. Other common reasons they fail include overheating and the excessive use of leaded gas, which corrodes the converter, causing a rattling noise.

Catalytic converters can be expensive to replace, so it’s crucial to allow a professional like a mechanic to make that final call.

Bad Wheel Bearing Or Loose Lug Nut

A bad wheel bearing or loose lug nut can cause your wheel to loosen and rattle in place. You can sometimes mistake this rattling sound for a bad spark plug, but a good way to tell the difference is to listen to where the sound is coming from.

If you hear it by the engine, it’s the spark plug. If the sound seems to come from the side of the car by the wheel, you’ll know it could be a wheel bearing or lug nut.

Low Oil Pressure

Sometimes, low oil pressure causes the engine to rattle when you leave the car idling. The oil will be thinner and can’t coat very well, causing your engine to get very hot. The solution for fixing low oil pressure will be costly as it requires a whole engine overhaul.

What Causes Spark Plugs To Go Bad Fast?

Spark plugs go bad for a variety of reasons. These include a building up of carbon and oil, dirty air filters, and idling your engine for too long. Dirty fuel injectors and rich fuel can also decrease the life expectancy of your spark plugs.

Changing Your Spark Plugs

We all understand the very basics of car trouble. When the check engine light comes on, we know to check our engine. Flat tires require changing, and if you brake too hard, you can destroy the brake pads, which would need replacing.

When it comes to changing your spark plugs, it’s best to consult with an experienced mechanic. While spark plugs do not have the amount of voltage needed to hurt a person, a mistake while changing your spark plugs could lead to some very expensive consequences.

If you’re confident in your mechanical engineering skills, there is a safe way to change your spark plugs here. Just be sure to consult your car owner’s manual first before attempting any repairs.


Car troubles happen to the best of us. So while it may be tempting to let that rattling noise go, it’s essential to realize that letting bad spark plugs be could result in a complete overhaul of your engine.

If your car begins making weird noises, there’s no need to panic. Instead, observe the situation yourself and then decide on the best course of action. While a self-diagnosis can be helpful, it’s always best to consult with an experienced mechanic before attempting repairs yourself.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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