installing spark plugs

Tips For Installing And Removing Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are an essential component to a properly functioning vehicle. Spark plugs are used to deliver electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine. They supply the spark that ignites the mixture of air and fuel, which creates the explosion that makes your engine produce power. If your spark plugs are failing and/ or are in need of replacement it can cause your vehicle’s engine to misfire and will affect its overall performance. Indications that you may have bad spark plugs include the following symptoms:

  • Lack of acceleration
  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Engine misfired
  • Rough idling
  • Hard starts

Fortunately, the process to replace your spark plugs is not very complicated, and can be completed by an individual with minimal mechanical knowledge. If however, you are uncomfortable carrying out any part of the replacement process, it is best to take your vehicle to be serviced by a mechanic. 

Steps To Remove Spark Plugs

  1. Locate: the boot is the area where the spark plug wire connects to the spark plug. Carefully grasp the spark plug wire near the boot, twist it, and very gently pull it straight out. 
  2. Clean: use a non-abrasive rag or a small paintbrush to clean the area where the spark plug enters the block. 
  3. Placement: place the rubber lined spark plug socket over the spark plug, and then use you some force to turn it to make sure it is all the way down. 
  4. Get your ratchet: place the square end of your ratchet handle into the square hole of the spark plug socket. 
  5. Loosen: in order to get optimal leverage, use your free hand to firmly grasp the head of the wrench and begin to loosen the spark plug by turning it counterclockwise. Make sure that your socket is securely placed over the plug and the ratchet is properly aligned with the plug to avoid stripping the threads on the plug and/ or in the spark plug hole in the engine head.
  6. Removal: when the ratchet turns easily and freely, complete the process by removing the ratchet handle and turning the socket by hand until the plug is successfully freed from the engine. 

Steps To Install Spark Plugs 

  1. Clean: clean the spark plug hole in the cylinder block with a clean cloth.  Make sure you are wiping away from the hole to ensure you don’t inadvertently push dirt and/ or debris inside. 
  2. Lubricate: carefully avoiding the center and side of the electrodes, lightly rub the threads of the spark plug with a small amount of oil from the oil dipstick. 
  3. Seating the plug: using your hand, gently thread the spark plug into the engine and turn it clockwise. 
  4. Engage the plug: by hand, turn it a minimum of two full rotations prior to using the spark plug socket and ratchet. 
  5. Tighten: place the spark plug socket over the spark plug. Attach the ratchet handle and turn the plug clockwise. Continue turning until you are met with resistance, taking care not to over-tighten the plug.
  6. Examine: before attaching its boot to the plug, examine the spark plug cable to make sure it is not damaged (i.e. brittle, cracked, frayed, saturated with oil…etc.). If it is damaged, replace it before moving onto the next step. 
  7. Attach: apply silicone lubricant to the inside of the boot, push the boot over the exposed terminal of the new plug and press it firmly into place. 
  8. Repeat: repeat the above steps until all spark plugs have been installed.

Making sure every part of your vehicle is operating properly is essential to one’s safety. If one component of a vehicle is malfunctioning, no matter how seemingly insignificant, it could strain other areas of the vehicle. This in turn can exacerbate the issues and potentially result in needing to make otherwise avoidable expensive repairs.  

Further Information

As an automotive parts and supply shop with decades of experience we have access to extensive inventory. Northstar Automotive is staffed with incredibly knowledgeable professionals, dedicated to provide topnotch service to all its customers. Let us help you make sure you are equipped with everything you need to ensure all of your vehicles are in excellent shape. Please feel free to contact one of our sales associates for more information. 

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