Fouled, damaged, or worn out spark plugs can lead to a variety of engine problems, such as misfires, hard starts, increased emissions, and poor fuel economy. For most vehicles, you should replace your spark plugs every 30,000 miles (consult your owner’s manual for your specific interval). If your car is equipped with spark plug wires, it is also recommended that you replace your spark plug wires at the same time, or you may still experience misfires or other problems. Follow these 11 steps to give your vehicle a simple ignition tune-up.
This is the basics of tune-ups. Modern cars require a lot more component replacement and maintenance. Some cars require fluid flushes, drive belt, timing belt and filter replacements. Contact us if you have any questions on major tune ups on your car. 949-464-8909
1. Allow your engine to cool for 3 to 4 hours before changing your spark plugs. They can be extremely hot if you do not allow enough cooling time.
On most vehicles, you should replace your spark plug wire set at the same time as your spark plugs
2. If you plan to keep your original wire set, take the time to label each spark plug wire with masking tape and a marker.
Putting your your spark plugs back in the wrong order can cause your engine to run rough.
3. Remove each spark plug wire by pulling the caps to avoid breaking the wires.
4. Check your vehicle repair guide to determine the necessary socket size and the correct gap for your spark plugs.
5. Use a spark plug gapping gauge to get the specified gap on your new plugs.
6. Be sure to use a spark plug socket with an internal gasket. This will grip the spark plug so you won’t drop it during removal or installation.
7. Examine your spark plugs after you remove them for signs of mechanical problems.
Be careful not to allow dirt or other foreign materials to fall into the cylinder head when your spark plugs are removed.
8. If you have an aluminum engine, you should use an anti-seize lubricant on the spark plug threads to prevent a negative reaction between the two different metals.
9. Use a torque wrench to install your new spark plugs and tighten to the specifications given in your vehicle repair guide.
10. If you are replacing your spark plug wires, consult your vehicle repair guide for a wiring diagram. You must be sure to connect each wire to the proper place on the distributor cap and the cylinder head. ( not all vehicles are equipped with a distributor cap. Some cars only have ignition coils. See your vehicle repair guide to determine if your car has one)
11. Use a dielectric grease on the inside of each spark plug wire boot to easily removal in the future. Connect the spark plug wire boots to complete the job.