Get fired up about changing your spark plugs (Pt. 1)

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A spark plug is depicted with spark emitted from the bottom of the plug.

Spark plugs give your engine the controlled explosions it needs to run. (Photo Credit: ThinkStock)

When you mash down on the accelerator of your little deuce coup, you expect to feel the all power your car’s engine has at its disposal. An internal combustion engine needs just the right spark for optimum performance, and that spark comes from your engine’s spark plugs. Located inside the piston cylinder, spark plugs draw power from the car battery on one end of the plug and emit a spark at the opposite end that ignites the gas-air mix inside the cylinder chamber. If your spark plugs are out of commission, your car isn’t going anywhere. Changing your spark plugs (and sometimes even the spark plug wires) is necessary in that situation.

Changing spark plugs begins with finding them

Take this into consideration first when changing spark plugs: In general, spark plugs should be changed every 30,000 miles. This is good practice, regardless of whether your engine has long-life (60,000- to 90,000-mile) plugs or not. Waiting until the very end can make removing the old plugs much more difficult, suggests Car Talk. So find those plugs after 30,000 miles and do your engine a favor.

According to, the easiest way to locate your engine’s spark plugs is to follow the thick rubber wires that run into the same general area on the top of the engine. There will be four spark plugs with a four-cylinder engine, and they’ll be at the top in a row. With an eight-cylinder, the spark plugs are on the left and right sides of the engine. A six-cylinder engine’s spark plugs could appear with either configuration – all on top or three on either side. Follow the wires and you can’t go wrong.

Remove the plugs in the proper order

With ratchet wrench, 12-inch socket extension and spark plug socket (specific to your car) in hand, you’re ready to get started. It’s easiest to take the plugs out one at a time in the order they are designed to fire so that you don’t confuse the order.

For the rest of the procedure for changing your spark plugs, CLICK HERE.


Car Talk @


Scotty Kilmer on changing spark plugs

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