How to Replace Spark Plugs

When your car is having trouble with ignition, your spark plugs might be in need of a change. On many cars, learning how to replace spark plugs is a simple task and changing your own spark plugs saves you a trip to the auto repair or service center.

The older a spark plug gets, the more voltage it takes to get a spark. As a spark plug ages, its electrodes wear off, so it takes more voltage to get spark. Your spark plugs get to the point where they need to be replaced, but it’s a good idea to replace spark plugs periodically, before the car starts “missing”.

Many car drivers don’t check their spark plugs often, if at all. By replacing your spark plugs, you help maintain engine and fuel efficiency, as well as cold weather starting. Most of the time, bad spark plugs cause you to waste gas. If your car doesn’t start well in the cold, that’s a sign of old spark plugs.

Getting Started Replacing Spark Plugs

Changing spark plugs can be a tedious job, depending on the model of your vehicle. Some cars include spark plugs placed under the engine itself. If that’s the case, it takes a long time to change spark plugs, because you have to wait for the car to cool off before you try replacing them.

Find out where your spark plugs are, along with the size and type you need. If you get the wrong plugs at the hardware store, you could waste a lot of time on spark plug changes.

Also, find out if the spark plugs need to be gapped or not. Some newer spark plugs don’t require gapping, but it depends on the use with 6 cylinder and v-8 engines.

If you’ve been running your car for a while, park the vehicle and turn off the motor, so it can cool for several hours. To speed the cooling process, open the hood and let the cool air in.

Take a wire gauge and adjust the distance between the two electrodes. When all of this is done, start the process of replacing spark plugs. You need tools for this project, because getting your hand into such a small place can be difficult.

You need the following tools to replace spark plugs.

Removing Old Spark Plugs

How to Replace Spark Plugs

How to Replace Spark Plugs

Before you remove all of the spark plug wires, figure out which plugs are connected to which wires. Don’t replace a set of plugs all at once, if you still don’t know how to replace spark plugs. When new to removing spark plugs, work on a single plug at a time, to avoid mixing up the wires and cause misfires or engine damage.

Start at the end of the row and remove spark plugs one by one, by grasping the wire close to the engine and pulling. Don’t remove all of the wires at once, because replacing them could cost well over $100 dollars. It’s far better if you take the time to do this correctly.

Once the wire is removed, use your socket wrench with the spark plug extension to grab hold of the plug and unscrew it. Once unscrewed all the way, slowly take the plug out of its compartment.

The socket has a little bit of rubber on the inside, so when you’re unscrewing the plug, it helps to grip it. If there’s no rubber, place a piece of electrical tape into the socket.

An old spark plug looks dirty and grimy compared to the new one. If the spark plug is white or oily in texture, you may have worse problems than you thought. Make sure the end of the new spark plug is just like the old ones. Some are threaded like a screw, while others just have a snap cap on them.

Replacing Spark Plugs

Begin inserting new spark plugs. If the new spark plug matches the old one, insert it into the slot using the socket wrench. With the plug in the socket, carefully put it into the slot, making sure not to ram it or bang it into place.

If you force a spark plug into a socket, you might damage the plug, to the point where you’ll need to replace the replacement part.

Screw the plug in by hand. Once the plug meets resistance, use the socket wrench to screw it in the rest of the way, making sure it’s tight. Don’t screw the plug in too much, because you’ll damage the plug.

Continue in the same way, until all the plugs have been replaced. If your car starts up without any trouble, you know how to replace spark plugs.

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