Basic Spark Plug How To

Replacing your spark plugs is a vital component to any tune up. Whether you’re a new car owner – or you’re just deciding to handle your own car care – knowing how to properly get those plugs in and out is essential.

Note: Every vehicle is going to be a little bit different. This guide begins with the understanding that you have already located and are able to get to your spark plugs. Some vehicles are going to be easier than others – so keep this in mind!

In changing your spark plugs, there are a few must have items:

  • Spark plugs – obviously. Make sure they are the appropriate heat range for your engine
  • Spark plug gapping tool
  • Spark plug socket, socket wrench and extension
  • Anti-seize and dielectric grease
  • Disposable rubber gloves

The very first thing you’ll want to do is gap your spark plugs (see this article for a tutorial). Once your plugs are ready to be installed, it’s time to start taking things apart.

Detach the first spark plug wire (or coil boot – depending on your engine) from the first spark plug. Don’t remove all of them at once. It’s easy to confuse the wires and disrupt the firing order of your motor. Replacing the plugs one at a time eliminates that chance.

Using the socket wrench (with the extension) loosen and remove the first spark plug. Now set your tools aside. This next part is done by hand. Place a small amount of the anti-seize on the threads of the new spark plug. Now screw in the new plug – by hand! Doing this by hand nearly eliminates the possibility of cross-threading. – which can lead to major issues down the road.

Once the spark plug is finger tight, use the socket wrench to tighten the spark plug into place. This shouldn’t take more than a half turn of the wrench. Make sure you don’t over tighten the plug – the plug could break, or you could damage the head of the engine.

Before you replace the spark plug wire (or coil boot), make sure you place a small amount of dielectric grease on the electrode where the wire (or boot) will snap on.

Repeat this process for the remaining spark plugs!