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Spark Plug Replacement

Spark plug replacement is one of the most common and most important car maintenance and repair tasks, and one of those basic repairs on an automobile that can really impact performance in a major way. A spark plug is a center of high voltage that carries electricity. When that electricity crosses through a plug, it ignites the gas that makes your car go. For this reason the spark plugs are extremely important.

Frequency of Spark Plug Replacement

The amount of time they last can vary. For a long time many experts recommended doing the job every 50,000 miles, but with some new cars today manufacturers are saying they can go twice that long in between. The condition of the engine and the way you drive along with environmental factors and other variables all play into it. But when you know it’s time for spark plug replacement, what’s important is getting it done right. These are cheap parts so you really can’t risk wasting a lot of money, so if you’re in doubt it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and do it.

Tools for Changing Plugs

To change your spark plugs, you will just need a few basic tools. A ratchet extension and a long (12 inch) socket extension are needed along with a spark plug socket. That’s pretty much all you’ll need to take care of this job. Once you have the right tools in order, it’s time to begin the car maintenance that will provide parents safe driving capabilities.

Locate the plugs by following the plug wires back to their source. Four cylinders will have all four plugs in a row in front of the car; eight cylinders will be lined up on either side; and six cylinders could be in either configuration. Once you have located the plugs, you are ready to get started with the project. Some novices think they should yank the wires off the plugs at this point, but that’s the wrong move. This is because it can get very confusing getting the wires lined back up with the right plugs when the job is done. To avoid this issue, remove one plug wire at a time and put it back on over the new plug, then proceed in order until finished.

Removing Spark Plug Wires

To safely remove a spark plug wire, grab hold of it as close to the engine as possible before you pull. Some wires require a little jostling to come loose. Again, remove only one at a time and get it replaced before starting on the next one. Be careful not to pull a wire right out of its boot, because this could cause extra time and expense in getting new wires, which can be very expensive.

Removing and Installing Spark Plugs

Next, grab the spark plug socket and extension and begin removing the plug. Set the ratchet to loosen and slide it in over the top of the spark plug. Remove the old plug completely. Before installing the replacement plug, take this opportunity to compare the two to make sure you’ve picked up the correct replacement. Put the plug wire end into the socket and guide the plug into the hole. Put it in carefully to avoid doing any damage. Put it in and go ahead and snug it when it gets tight. Don’t overtighten or you can damage it. Just snug it; don’t kill yourself doing it.

Replace spark plug wires and repeat this process for the rest of the plugs. Test your work by starting up the car, and if all goes well with it, you are done with the job.


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