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How to Change the Spark Plugs in Your Car

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When you change the spark plugs in your car, follow these tips.

Spark plugs provide the magic underneath a car’s hood to make the engine run.

Think of the spark plugs under your car’s hood as the magic that makes your car go. As an essential part of your motor, these plugs use the electrical current from the ignition to ignite the fuel that powers your car. Like anything in your car, they can wear down over time, but good news for you—they’re easy to replace! Follow the steps below to change the spark plugs in your car in no time!

Gather your needed tools. In order to change the spark plugs in your car by hand, you’ll need:

  • a ratchet wrench
  • an extension for said wrench
  • a spark plug socket , usually included in any ratchet set
  • a gap gauge, available at any auto parts store
  • the correct replacement plugs—look in your owner’s manual for this
  • a wire brush

Let the engine cool. A hot engine means hot spark plugs. Cooling the engine before you attempt to remove the old, worn out plugs is probably the best idea for you.

Locate your car’s spark plugs. Before you can remove these feisty little things, it’s important to actually know where they are. When your hood is up, look for a bundle of 4-8 wires leading to different parts of the engine. The spark plugs are at the end of these wires, under the plug covers that attach them.

Remove old plugs. In order to remove the first spark plug, grip the wire plug as closely to the bottom as possible and pull it from the engine. Don’t yank the wire out of the plug! That would lead to a much bigger job than you intended. Put the extension on your wrench and use the ratchet to remove the old spark plug from its position. If you’re removing the plugs all at once, make sure you number each wire and portal with a numbered piece of masking tape, so you don’t get them confused when you’re done!

Measure your spark plug’s gap. Check your owner’s manual for the best distance for your spark plug gap and use a gap checker, which you should have picked up at your local auto parts shop, to check the distance. If the gap distance is higher than it should be, it’s time to change spark plugs in your car!

Clean around the wire terminal. Using your wire brush, clean up around the wire connections and make sure you’ve got a nice, clean port to put your plugs back it. This will keep them performing well!

Insert and tighten new plugs. Using your ratchet, replace the spark plugs you removed with a new one. Tighten it up about 1/8th of a turn past hand-tight.

Replace cables. Finally, it’s time to match the right spark plug cables with the right plugs. You’re finished!

Do you have any of your own tips on how to change the spark plugs in your car?

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