- Do It Yourself Auto Repair
How to Change Your Own Spark Plugs
Spark plugs fire a spark that ignites the gasoline in your vehicle to power the pistons that turn your vehicle axles. Over time spark plugs oxidize and wear out. Worn out spark plugs can cause many different problems such as decreased gas mileage, engine misfiring and poor vehicle performance. In order to maintain top performance of your vehicle, it is pertinent that your spark plugs are changed every 100,000 miles.
Before you attempt any work on your vehicle, verify that the engine is turned off and that the emergency brake is engaged. This ensures that you will not get burned or accidently roll your vehicle if your drivetrain is an automatic transmission. Once you have waited for the engine to cool, open the car hood and locate the battery. Remove the positive power cable by loosening the bolt on the cable with a wrench. This is essential so that you are not shocked by any electrical components including the spark plug wires. The next step is to locate the spark plugs and clean away any grease or debris. If possible, use compressed air to clean the debris around the spark plugs. Consult your vehicle manual for the exact location of each spark plug for reference if needed.
Next, locate the first spark plug and remove the spark plug cap. Make sure to remove the plug cap by pulling on the actual cap instead of the wire. Use a socket wrench with the appropriate size socket to remove the spark plug. The appropriate size socket to use is normally 13/6 inch or 5/8 inch socket. An extension socket is often needed for spark plugs; as their location can be hard to get to. Turn the socket wrench counter-clockwise to loosen it. Once the old plug has been removed, you can put the new plug in. Afterwards, tighten the plug using your hand clockwise. Then use a socket wrench to finish the job. Do not over tighten the spark plugs or engine misfire may occur. Put the spark plug cap back on the plug and reconnect the wiring. Repeat the same process for the rest of the plugs, being careful to pay attention to your work.
Once your spark plugs have been replaced, your engine will respond with better horsepower, engine reaction time as well as gas mileage. Changing your spark plugs is a task that can be done yourself, that would otherwise be costly at an auto repair station.