Learn how to change your spark plugs with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Spark plugs can wear out over time. Luckily, we don’t have to replace them that often. When a spark plug does burn up, it can cause poor gas mileage, cause problems with your acceleration, and even make your Check Engine light turn on. If you’re a DIY auto mechanic, you can definitely change your spark plugs at home. Follow along with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
When to Change Your Spark Plugs
Check your owner’s manual to figure out the mileage recommendations for your spark plugs. Newer spark plugs are typically rated for 100,000 miles. Some manufacturers, however, recommend replacing spark plugs after 30,000 miles. If you’re unsure about the last time they were changed, pull the spark plugs and check the condition and spark plug gap.
How to Change Your Spark Plugs
1. Remove the cover and clean ignition coils. Some vehicles will have a vanity or engine cover that you’ll need to remove to access the spark plugs. Check your owner’s manual to locate your spark plugs, the number you have, the gap and the size socket you’ll need to remove them. Once you’ve located your spark plugs, use compressed air to blow away any crud around the ignition coils. Also blow away any loose dirt from the engine before you start working.
2. Remove the first spark plug. Grip the wire plug as close to the bottom as possible and gently work it off to reveal the spark plug. Don’t yank on it. Use a socket wrench with an extension bar and spark plug socket to remove the spark plug. Do this slowly and with caution so you don’t damage the lead or the spark plug itself.
3. Measure the spark plug gap. Check the gap of your new spark plug using a spark plug gauge. On the threaded end of the spark plug, you’ll find a point with a curved metal strip over it. The gap you need to measure is between the tip (the center electrode) and the strip (the ground electrode). If the measurement matches what’s in your owner’s manual, you’re all set. If not, visit our article on how to gap spark plugs to learn more about adjusting the spark plug gap.
4. Screw in the new spark plugs. Use a torque wrench with the proper amount of torque to screw in the new spark plugs. Not enough torque can blow the plug right out of the cylinder, and too much torque distorts the plug. Lube the inside of the spark plug boot with dielectric grease – this helps prevents misfires and makes it easier to remove the boot. Reinstall the ignition coil and vanity cover.
If you’re not comfortable doing DIY auto repair, you can always visit your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet automotive service center. For more tips on auto repair, spark plugs and vehicle maintenance, visit our Automotive blog.