How To Change Our Spark Plugs – Carefully

Let’s take a look at changing out our spark plugs and doing so in a careful manner and here’s why

Using the correct tools for changing spark plugs saves us a lot of extra work.

Here’s What We Need

  • 3/8″ ratchet
  • 6″ to 10″ extension
  • Swivel socket adapter
  • Spark plug socket
  • Everyones friend, a can of (DW40)
  • Some other variations of tools may apply, these are the most commonly used.

Here is what happened to me when I was working on one of my vehicles years ago. This may or may not happen to anyone else, but heads up. One of my spark plugs was being very difficult to break loose from the threads in the cylinder block.

I started to think out loud to myself, what is going on here. First off this spark plug was in a bad angle area which meant the extension and swivel socket had to be called into action. My first thought was if I can’t get the spark plug out and I accidentally break the porcelain part of the plug to which the spark plug wire attaches, I will be in big trouble.

So Because my SUV was still running okay, I did this, to prevent a costly expense which, possibly could have been caused by getting overzealous and not thinking this through. I brought out everyone’s friend (DW40) and sprayed around the base of the spark plug and let it penetrate the thread area of the plug.

I attempted to break loose the spark plug again after 20 minutes, but still no luck. I sprayed again and let the (DW40) continue to penetrate the threads for another 1/2 hour. Finally, with great care, I managed to loosen the spark plug by trying to tighten it more before trying to loosen the plug. That seemed to work for me, and after a big snap as the plug broke free it threaded out of its hole.

Okay! spark plugs changed, wash the SUV and out to cruise the coffee drive through.

WHAT DO SPARK PLUGS DO?
Visualize spark plugs as the smallest bolt of lighting. Small but mighty powerful, the spark that the plug emits across a metered gap creates the ignition for the combustion needed to start your car. This firing of the multi-spark plugs puts the engine’s pistons in motion, your car engine now powers up, stays powered up, and produces a smooth burn of the compressed air-fuel mixture.

Keeping in mind your spark plugs like it hot: they are built to withstand extreme heat and pressure within your cylinders and the igniting of the fuel in each cylinder are built to burn off deposits from fuel additives or other contaminants and produce the power needed to move the vehicle down the road.

What does it mean for you?

Well, without that lighting bolt spark, your car won’t start—or go anywhere. And because spark plug health is directly linked to engine performance, it stands to reason weak or bad spark plugs lead to problems, be it issues with cold-starting or misfires during acceleration.

Spark For Combustion
Image supplied by Andy Greenwell Photography

Besides—without healthy ones—your ride can’t sustain maximum power, and your vehicle can see a drop in fuel economy. Now, nobody wants that.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD SPARK PLUGS BE REPLACED ON MY VEHICLE?

The life of spark plugs don’t require replacement as often as we may think and can go years and many miles before replacement is required

Most auto manufacturers will suggest having new spark plugs installed about every 30,000 miles. However, spark plug longevity depends on the quality and type of spark plug. The rule of buying with anything, but we are talking spark plugs here is we buy cheap we get short life.

We buy expensive quality known brands and we will get long life service. Not unheard-of to get easily 50,000 miles and more.

WHAT HAPPENS TO A SPARK PLUG AS IT AGES?

Spark plugs will reach old age retirement, they’ve spent many thousands of miles withstanding the most extreme temperatures and conditions to stay performing their task. That’s where the importance of good spark plug material comes into play. The stronger the build material, the more durable and long-lasting results from the spark plug.

Wear and tear come with age and with that comes the loss of power and a decrease in fuel economy and hard starting conditions just to name a few.

Also, possible cracking of the porcelain external shell of the plug and for sure the bolt of lighting inside the cylinder will wear the ground side of the plug causing a wide gap and wear then causing our loss of power to the engine.

Spark plugs can’t last forever, and here’s why:

Spark plug deposit buildup: When deposits form on spark plugs from interaction with the air-fuel mixture, it can lead to pre-ignition of the fuel. That means a jerky and unreliable supply of energy for your car. That meaning there goes that smooth once upon running the engine.

This ever-increasing wear creates a larger-to-jump gap area. When a spark plug ignites, it has to travel across the correctly metered gap of space in order to provide the perfect level of combustion at the right moment. As spark plugs age, this gap widens as a result of extreme temperatures, debris, and normal wear and tear.

At the time of (retirement), the gap has become worn and too far apart to be fuel-efficient, thus causing poor combustion igniting performance and less power for the engine output.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF REPLACING A SPARK PLUG

The most beneficial feeling knowing your car will start on your command of the ignition switch, and that’s not all that matters. Installing new spark plugs will provide us with a lot of other performance benefits as well.

New spark plugs will lead to:

  • Using the right plugs for optimal clean full burn combustion ignition. Fully functioning spark plugs provide a fully functioning combustion system. Get this operating successfully, and we will all find our sluggish performance issues will be out the tail pipe like a distant memory.
  • Better fuel economy, stands alone as our number 1 gain with a clean quality burn. This equates to maximum fuel economy and saving money on fuel bills.
  • Smooth and energetic starts. The first time you turn the ignition with those new spark plug installed can be a renewed performance eye-opener experience. Those old tired out spark plugs may have been the reason your car was experiencing those jerky starts.
  • Let’s not forget that now our clean burning engines are also making our environment a happier place (less pollution). That’s a win-win

Check out this video on spark plugs and spark plug wires. Some helpful tips here.

Conclusion

The signs of worn spark plugs. We Hear it. We Feel it. We Sense it.

I have heard Rattling, pinging, or “knock” like noises. When spark plugs begin to (misbehave) misfire, you may hear unusual noises from the force of the pistons and combustion not working properly. The engines Pistons travel at high velocities. If the spark plug fires at the wrong time and is weak and tired this could lead to constant rattling, pinging, or knocking sounds.

Hard starting of a vehicle cold or hot and a jerking feeling, a sluggish feeling will all be part of your old spark plugs not working right, which will lead to erratic performance.

Healthy spark plugs are vital to your car’s ability to start up and remain powered for those around town appointments or out on the open road adventures.

Just thinking out loud again here, if you have a comment or a story you would like to share with me, I would enjoy the read and respond to your comments.

Thanks for now :

Doug

 

Little helper Big Wrench
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