If there is a diesel engine under the hood of your car, we must warn you that this information is not intended for you. This is because diesel engines work on a completely different principle, and instead of spark plugs utilizing glow plugs. These are used exclusively for gasoline engines. It has been a technology for decades that has not yet been replaced by anything more efficient or easier. The main things needed to start the engine are the spark plugs. Even when they can have tips made from top materials like iridium or platinum, they also have a certain lifespan, so it’s good to know how to change spark plugs.
It goes without saying that our guide is intended mainly for owners of older cars. With the newer ones, the whole process may not be that much easier, so you may be dependent on the need to visit a specific authorized or unauthorized service. Since, according to the latest reports, the average age of a car on our roads is 15 years, we are confident that our guide will be helpful to you as well.
When should the spark plugs be replaced?
Before we go into the description of the work itself and how the replacement of the spark plugs actually takes place, it is also a good idea to look at when the spark plugs should be changed. The simplest lesson is, of course, that this is the period when the actual life of the given spark plug ends. Here, of course, it mainly depends on what it is, how much they are used, and what the mileage of the car is. For the shorter distances we drive with the car, it can be around 30,000 kilometers. But there are also situations when it can be up to twice as long. It goes without saying that we can easily find out the right moment for the exchange ourselves. And naturally, when we recognize that our car no longer starts as well as we ourselves expect.
What will be needed?
We can go for it. Fortunately, replacing spark plugs is not difficult, which as car owners, we will certainly appreciate. First of all, we need to know what tools we will actually need. This can also change depending on the type of car we have. In general, however, the basic tool should be Allen keys, which should also be supplemented with a special key for spark plugs. If you don’t have it, it can be bought cheaply and without problems in any store with ordinary tools or car accessories.
In order for the replacement of spark plugs to be carried out without difficulty, it is also necessary for the car engine to be cold. We definitely do not change them immediately after riding, as this can mean problems, including the risk of burns. We will start the replacement when we are sure that the engine is cool enough and we can keep our hands on it without difficulty.
We disconnect the connector and use the spark plug wrench
As soon as we are ready for the actual replacement, we must first disconnect the connector that is used to power the spark plugs. In the case of cars, it is not the case that each of them has its own connector, as only one central one is used exclusively. Once it’s off, which should be pretty easy, it’s time to get down to the second step of taking the Allen key. Using it, we usually loosen two screws, which will already provide us with full access to the spark plugs themselves. The hardest part of the entire exchange is basically behind us.
Just changing the spark plugs
Now we can take the key for the spark plugs in our hands because otherwise, we may not be able to dismantle them. Keep in mind that they can be screwed in quite tightly, so more force will often need to be applied. Once you have loosened all four spark plugs (or more, depending on the engine type), you can carefully unscrew them. Once enabled, you should be able to handle this activity by hand without any problems.
Once the existing spark plugs are removed, you can start the second phase of the replacement itself. This consists in screwing new plug back into the existing places. You basically repeat the whole procedure, so first, you need to screw in the hands, while later, you tighten them with the mentioned special wrench. It is a good idea to double-check that the spark plugs are tightened well and that they really sit in the desired place without any problems.
We connect the connector
Once the plugs are in place, we take the wrench in our hands again and tighten the individual screws. This completes the replacement of the spark plugs. The last stage, which of course, we must not forget, is the need to reattach the power connector. At this moment, the exchange is over, so we can close the hood of our car and get behind the wheel without any problems.
Try the engine
Whenever we carry out any kind of replacement, we should also not forget the final functionality test. We will of course, do the same now. So you need to sit behind the wheel and try to start it. If everything is perfectly fine in that direction, there is nothing to worry about, as we are sure that the spark plugs were replaced correctly. However, if there is a problem, it can mean complications. A possible problem could be a faulty new spark plug – that happens, as well as a bad power supply.
When we talk about a particular bad spark plug, it is good to remember the information that it is not always necessary to replace all plugs or a different number. If you have relatively new spark plugs and you find that only one is defective, it is, of course, not a problem to replace only this particular piece. However, it is important to note when this happened so that you know when to undergo a classic exchange as well. This is the only way your car will work, i.e. it will start exactly as it should.