Replacing your spark plugs in your car is essential to prolonging the life of the vehicle. Now, many people choose to take their car, truck, van, etc. to a mechanic to have this simple task done. However, this is a task that you can do yourself. (And, not have to pay the labor charges!) There is actually a recommended replacement time for your spark plugs; it ranges from 20,000 to 100,000 miles, but it does depend on a number of factors.
If you are buying a used car, you might want to consider replacing the old spark plug, along with other parts and accessories. Before diving into the spark plug replacement guide, here’s a quick note on buying a used car.
Two Things to Check before Buying a Used Car
- The availability of its parts
Buying a car whose spare parts are hard to find would be an imprudent thing to do. The fact that the car is second hand is reasoned enough for you to buy a model whose parts are easy to get. It would be very expensive to buy a car that has no available spare parts as the owner would encounter extra expenses to import parts for the car in the event that it breaks down or is faulty.
- Engine power
The only way to test the engine power of the car for sale is to take it on a test run yourself. Some would advise you to take along a mechanic when buying the car because he would then be able to look out for telltale signs of an engine failure or other signs of wear. Professional advice may be required before you buy the car just to safeguard yourself against any problems in the future.
Finding cars for sale is quite easy. Many car dealers have online websites that advertise the cars they sell, or you could go to an auction site and bid for a car of your choice. Incidentally, it would be much cheaper if you could buy the car off the owner himself as this would remove any costs of intermediaries.
After checking these important things in the secondhand car you want to purchase, you can decide to have your car checked and updated by a professional, or you can DIY it—especially when it only needs a spark plug replacement.
How to Change Your Spark Plug
Now that you have made the decision to actually replace the spark plugs in your vehicle, you need some essentials tools. First of all, you need to buy some new spark plugs. You can go to any local auto parts. Many of the people in those stores are very helpful and will help you find the parts that you need or order the parts that they don’t have.
No worries though, spark plugs are pretty universal. But there are spark plugs that best match some engines, like these spark plugs for 5.3 Silverado listed by Mechanic Guides. Once you have bought the spark plugs, you need to also have a spark plug socket.
Steps to Follow
Removing the old spark plugs from the engine is pretty easy. First off, DO NOT HAVE YOUR ENGINE RUNNING OR CAR ON AT ANY POINT DURING THIS!!! Whew, now that that is covered, you can locate the spark plugs. They should be covered by spark plug cables. They are black. The number of spark plugs that you have is the same as the number of cylinders that you have in your car. For example, a four-cylinder engine has four spark plugs. A six-cylinder engine has sic spark plugs, and so on and so forth.
After you have located where the spark plugs are at, take the time to tag the cables before pulling them off of the spark plugs. The best way to do this is to use some sort of masking tape and number which cable goes with which plug. When removing the cables from the plugs, be sure to grab and pull from the cable boot. Do not just grab the cable and pull. This could injure your spark plug wires. You should just be able to grab the boot of the cable and gently twist it off of the spark plug.
Once the cable is off of the spark plug, use the spark plug socket wrench and turn the plugs a couple of times to loosen the plugs. A good rule of thumb is “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty.” After the socket has loosened the plugs, you may want to blow away any loose dirt from around the base of the plugs. You can do this by using some compressed air; the kind used for your computer keyboard will work well enough. You want to make sure that no dirt falls into the holes. Just remember, Dirt + Engine = Very Bad. When removing your spark plugs, if there is also a gasket, you will also want to remove that as well.
Use a clean and soft cloth to remove any grease and dirt from the inside of the boots and seats of the plugs. Before installing the new plugs, make sure that there is only one gasket on each one of the spark plugs. Adjust the air gap on the plug as needed for your car. (Oftentimes, you can either ask the person at the auto parts store or consult the owner’s manual for your vehicle.) Also, check to see if there is any type of compound that needs to be applied before installing the spark plugs. The answer to that question should be located in the owner’s manual.
Now you can go ahead and put in the spark plugs. Using your hands, tighten the plugs into place. Use the spark plug socket wrench to tighten all the way. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s owner’s manual to ensure that they are not over tightened. Once all of this is complete, you can put the spark plug wires back on the spark plugs. Holding the book part once again, gently twist the boot onto the top of the spark plugs.
There you have it! You have just completed another simple automotive maintenance tip. Sit back, grab a soda, and bask in your glory, once again.