If you are having troubles with your car and you’ve narrowed it down to your spark plugs, you might think it will cost you a serious amount of money, both on parts and labor. Honestly though, it may not be as much as you think. If you are willing to do it yourself, it is a task that you are very capable of doing. All you need is a little guidance and you will be changing spark plugs like a pro.
To replace spark plugs, you’ll need: a 3/8 ratchet, a 3/8 swivel socket, extensions for your ratchet, a spark plug socket, a spark plug gap gauge, a compressed air canister, and eye protection. Of course, you’ll also need the right spark plugs before you start working, as you would not want to be working on your car, make it to the installation step, and have to drive back to an auto parts store in your no-longer-drivable vehicle. You will also want to confirm that your engine is cold and ready to be worked on. You are now ready to start the replacement process of your spark plugs.
- The first step in this part of the process that you will want to do, is disconnect the spark plug’s wire from the plug itself. Pull, but not too hard, twisting it back and forth slightly to disconnect it. It is best to change each spark plug individually, as replacing a few at a time could create confusion as to which wire goes to which plug.
- Now that the wire has been removed, but before taking the plug out, you will want to grab the eye protection and air canister to clean it off. It is important to do this before you take the spark plug out, as this will help keep dirt from falling into your cylinder after the removal of your spark plug.
- Next, it’s time to remove the plug. Use your spark plug ratchet, unscrewing it counterclockwise, and then remove the plug.
- Once the old spark plug is removed, use the gap gauge to figure out the correct gap size. Your car’s manual or a decal under the hood should specify its exact size. It is important to have the specified gap size, for if you do not, then it can create a deficiency for your engines power and an issue with its fuel efficiency. To gap your spark plug, you must slide the gauge between the inner and outer electrode. These two positions are at the bottom of the plug and at the hook. The hook itself may need to be bent according to your car’s design requirements. Pro Tip – Not all spark plugs need to be gapped, and some can’t be gapped. Always double check the manual and the spark plug.
- You are almost ready to install the new spark plug, but it is a good idea to first confirm there is no dirt in the threads of the cylinder. You can also apply anti-seize compound to the threads to help in future spark plug replacement projects. Once these two steps are carried out, you may install the spark plug. Start screwing it in with your hand and then tighten it with the spark plug ratchet, generally a 90° turn after making contact, to crush the gasket.
- Then, attach the spark plug wire back to its original position. Listen for a click as it will ensure the wire has been reattached with the spark plug.
If you follow these steps for each spark plug that needs replacement, you will see how you are saving money and gaining experience in your DIY (do-it-yourself) projects. In fact, every spark plug you replace will be one more trophy to add to your DIY repertoire, as replacing your spark plugs is very important in maintaining its drivability. Congratulations on conquering the spark plug.