Hey guys ChrisFix here and today I’m going to show you how to replace your spark plugs and your wires in your car or In your truck and this video is going to cover all the essentials Like how do you know when you need to replace your spark plugs? What’s the best spark plug for your engine? What’s the correct spark plug for your engine how to properly gap your spark plug. Also I have a bunch of different gapping tools I’m going to show you What tools you need and then I have a bunch of tips and tricks on the proper way to easily remove your spark plugs and wires And then install them like when do you use anti-seize? Do you use anti-seize? And where to use dielectric grease. That way after watching this video You’ll be able to replace your spark plugs and wires at home You’re gonna save money and get your car running in tip-top shape And if you’re someone who’s just starting out fixing cars, this is the perfect job for beginners It’s relatively simple to do and there aren’t many tools that you need. I mean check this out All you’re gonna need is a ratchet a spark plug socket Maybe a couple of extensions and if you have hard to reach spark plugs a universal joint extension like this is super helpful That’s the trick to get those out and I’m going to show you how to use that You’re also going to need a gapping tool to make sure the gap on your spark plug is correct and while you don’t need it It’s super helpful to remove spark plug wires these ring nose pliers work great to remove them and make it really easy now Those are all the tools you’re going to need here are all the products you’re going to need So you’re going to need a set of spark plugs for your engine. In this case I have a v8 so I have eight spark plugs And I’m also going to be replacing the wires because the wires in my car are the originals plus we’re already doing the spark plugs We’re gonna have to take the wires off anyway, might as well replace them very simple to do now You might need antiseize So that’s good to have and you’re gonna need some dielectric grease but those are all the products you need So there’s not a lot of tools or products at all And I do want to thank Advance Auto Parts for supporting the video and helping out They hooked me up with all these spark plugs all the wires and also these spark plugs over here so I could show you guys copper plugs versus platinum plugs versus iridium plugs the differences and They gave me this really cool cutaway so I could show you how a spark plug works So thanks for all that. And with that said let’s get started And the first thing you’re gonna want to know is how do you know when to replace your spark plugs? so a spark plug gets its name because it literally creates a spark that jumps from the center electrode to the ground electrode and this Happens inside the cylinder which ignites the fuel and forces the piston down So it’s a pretty important part to get the car to run properly now bad spark plugs Don’t project a spark as hot and might not even spark every time that they’re supposed to and that could cause your car to misfire or Hesitate especially under a load while it’s idling, it might idle rough or if it’s real bad You could even get a check engine light. Now I want you to listen to my car This is a good example of bad spark plugs and wires You can hear it’s not idling right and when you give it gas There’s a lot of vibration And it’s just not running right. You can feel there’s a lack of power and my fuel economy has dropped significantly Those are all indications that it needs new spark plugs and wires Now your goal should be to replace these spark plugs at the proper interval before these problems happen because the money that I spent on The bad fuel economy, I could have easily paid for brand new spark plugs So it only makes sense to do some preventative maintenance Now what interval should you change your spark plugs at? Well every engine and every car is different So the easiest way to figure it out is go to your owner’s manual flip to the page about the service intervals You can see right here. Every 60,000 miles, You want to replace your spark plugs So that’s one example another example with my del Sol Here’s the owner’s manual we’ll flip to the part that talks about the spark plugs, and you can see right there It says replace the spark plugs every 30,000 miles So that is when you should replace your spark plugs go by the owner’s manual It makes it really simple but let’s just say like in this case And in this case, you haven’t owned the car since brand new. You don’t know the service history How many miles are on the plugs? You have no clue Well another way to figure out if you need to replace the spark plugs is to do a visual inspection So I removed the spark plug for my Mustang and the first thing we’re gonna look at is the end of the spark plug here At the terminal nut. You just want to make sure it’s not rusty if it is you could always sand it down also check the inside of the spark plug wire that covers this because odds are that’s Rusty – but rust is gonna create a bad connection that could cause your misfire if that looks good the next thing to look at Is the ceramic insulator and you can see what the spark plug cut away the ceramic insulator runs the entire length of the spark plug insulating the center electrode From the ground electrode so that it sparks right at the end If you get a crack in this ceramic the spark could jump from here to here and not spark where it needs the spark So it won’t ignite the fuel and you’ll get a misfire So you’re gonna want to inspect the ceramic make sure there’s no cracks and right away. I can see right there There is a crack so that’s probably why we had the misfire You can’t fix this you’re gonna have to replace the spark plugs if you find a cracked spark plug But let’s just say this ceramic was good the next thing that you’re gonna want to inspect is the ceramic right at the tip and make sure there’s no chips or cracks and That looks good. Next we want to inspect for deposits on the electrode. This looks pretty clean But here’s a good example of an electrode that is dirty You can see the deposits right there thick deposits like that would prevent the spark from sparking and it could cause a misfire so if you see that you want to replace your plugs and while you can try to clean off some of those deposits there is A risk of damaging the platinum electrode so you’re better off replacing the plug with a new one You also want to inspect those electrodes and make sure they’re not wearing away. The center electrode looks good

But if we look at that side electrode here that is definitely eroding away This is typically the reason why your spark plugs have to get changed because of the erosion and just to give you an idea Here’s a new plug and you can see the difference between the ground electrode Between the new and the old also the gap is correct on the new plug look at how much wider to the gap is on The old plug if you see the gap opened up like that The plug is wearing out and it’s time to replace it And one other thing I want to mention you could see the brown staining right around the edge of the ceramic here This is called Corona staining. Do not worry about it If you see that that has no effect on the condition of the spark plug Also, I want to show you guys what a spark plug that is used but good looks like, in this case This is from the del Sol. You can see there’s no cracks or anything There’s no deposits on the electrodes and the electrodes are gapped properly and not worn away So that is a good used plug So that is how you visually inspect a spark plug to see if it needs to be replaced in this case with the broken Ceramic and the worn-out ground electrode, we definitely need to replace our spark plugs also some of the spark plugs have a lot of rust around the hexagon which is not good because that could get it stuck inside the Engine, so we need to replace the spark plugs Now that brings me to the next question which is: There are so many spark plugs out there Which one is right for your engine? Now there are four main types of spark plugs and in general each spark plug has the same type of internals It has a nice copper core but where each one is different is at the tip where the spark happens. First We have our basic copper plug which is typically the least expensive plug. This has a copper tip and copper works Well because it’s very conductive so you get a nice strong spark, but because this copper is so soft They actually have to coat it with a nickel alloy and since it’s soft it does wear out quickly So you have to replace these plugs in about twenty to thirty thousand miles. Next we have a platinum plug which is a little more expensive than the copper plugs these plugs use a platinum tip right there at the Center electrode which isn’t as conductive as copper, but it is harder and more resistant to wear So these plugs could last sixty to a hundred thousand miles before they need to be replaced next We have a double platinum or a double iridium plug with a double platinum There is a piece of platinum on the center electrode and there’s a piece of platinum on the ground electrode This is designed for a waste spark or reverse spark ignition system So normally the spark comes from the center electrode goes to the ground electrode But on some cars the spark goes from the ground electrode to the center electrode so you want to make sure you have platinum on both sides so you don’t get Excessive wear and the double platinum plug is actually what I need to use on my car it’s what the owner’s manual says and if it does say that in the owners manual make sure you use a double platinum if you Use a regular platinum your plug is going to wear out really quickly and finally The last plug is an Iridium plug and this is typically the most expensive it uses a fine iridium tip which helps with the ignitability of the fuel iridium is also harder and more resistant to wear. So it lasts the longest up to around 120,000 miles. So those are the main types of spark plugs now Which ones should you use and it’s really easy to figure that out Just grab your owners manual flip to the part about spark plugs, and you can see here, right There is the part number which is a double platinum plug I suggest going with that an OEM plug It’s the plug that the engine was designed for but funny enough, they don’t make an OEM plug anymore It’s been discontinued for my car So the next best thing I found an aftermarket brand that makes the proper double platinum plugs So that’s what I’ll be using. Now, If you are gonna change the type of plug you’re using never downgrade your plug so if you have an Iridium plug don’t use a platinum if you have a platinum plug don’t use a copper usually a downgrade’s a Cheaper plug so I know it’s tempting but your engines supposed to run on a specific plug. So use that plug or sometimes It’s okay to upgrade if you have a copper plug you could usually upgrade to platinum and if you have a platinum plug you could Upgrade to iridium with that being said, I need double platinum plugs. So that’s exactly what I went with I also decided to get some spark plug wires. It’s perfect preventative maintenance I need to take the wires off anyway to get to the plugs So now you know, which spark plugs you need for your car. Let me show you how to remove them But before you remove anything you want to make sure that you’re working on a cool engine if your engine is hot and you remove those spark plugs you could damage the Threads holding the spark plugs in with that said this engines nice and cool so we could start getting to work now to find your Spark plugs is really simple just find the spark plug wires and they’ll lead you to each one of the spark plugs we have four spark plugs on this side the engine and then we have four spark plugs on that side of the engine so pick a side and Let’s get started removing the spark plugs, the four spark plugs on this side are located under these wires And before we remove the wires You want to grab some compressed air and blow away any loose dirt or dust that’s surrounding the spark plug wells now we can remove The wires I’m actually gonna remove this breather hose to get it out of the way and when we’re removing the wires you don’t want To grab the wire and yank it from the actual wire because that could damage the wire so that’s not good especially if you’re gonna reuse these what you want to do is grab it by the boot and Pull it out from there like that Now I’m gonna push this back in because I want to show you something sometimes These are really difficult to remove and that’s where a nose ring pliers helps tremendously All you have to do is get in here grab the boot and then this gives you the extra leverage to pull it right out and now we have access to that spark plug which is deep down in that well, so again, We’re gonna use some compressed air to remove any dirt and debris and you’re not gonna want to skip this step

There’s a little rock and a piece of a stick that was down in there And if we remove that spark plug that debris could have fallen into the engine so very important grab your compressed air grab a vacuum Whatever it is and just get all that dirt out of those spark plug wells now You’re going to want to grab a spark plug socket it has a little rubber boot in there and what the rubber boot does is it holds the spark plug in place so you could Pull it out of the well, it also protects the ceramic insulation from getting cracked I’m gonna be connecting this spark plug socket to a nice long extension so we could get down in there and all you have to do is push this down onto the plug once you’re on the Plug break it loose like that and you should be able to loosen the spark plug the rest of the way by hand So, let’s see what we got, beautiful, So that’s how you remove an old spark plug So now let me show you how to install a new one now It’s always important to compare the old parts with the new parts to make sure that they’re the same exact part This is especially important on spark plugs because if your spark plug is extra tall the top of the piston could hit the spark plug And you could damage your engine And in this case if you look at where the spark plug seat in the engine They look like they’re the same exact size and these look good So once you know you have the correct plugs for your car the next thing that you need to do is make sure that gap of the plug is the Correct size, if the gap is too wide, you might not get any spark at all If the gap is too small you might get a weak spark and it might not ignite the fuel efficiently So it’s very important to get the proper gap on your plugs Even if your plugs come pre-gapped like this they can get messed up in shipping So it’s always a good idea to check the gap because it’s so important now to find the correct gap spec You could check your owner’s manual or you could go under the hood of your car There should be an emission sticker sometimes out in the front Sometimes it’s on the side here and sometimes you can find it right under the hood right here It says spark plug gap 0.052 to 0.056 inches So once you know the proper gap for your car next you need to check the plugs using a gapping tool So these are the most common types of gapping tools first We have a feeler gauge and it has a bunch of different tongues that have different thicknesses And what you want to do is you want to find the right? thicknesses that add up to your gap spec and While you can use a feeler gauge to check the gap you’re better off using a proper gapping tool Next is the one I personally like to use and it’s the coin style gauge right along the edge here is a lip that gets Thicker and thicker and then there’s measurements along the edge to let you know the gap of the plug so all you do is you put the plug in at the thin end and then slide it all the way until it’s hard to Move and you can see 0.053 now the coin style gauge is not recommended for platinum tip or iridium tip plugs because the process of sliding this across Could damage the platinum or iridium what I do is I’m just extra careful. I don’t press hard I just lightly move it across and in this case if we want to open up the plug at all open the gap up we Just use this right up here and then you can pry this open Then if we regap it You can see that went up to 0.060 and then if you want to close it You just find a hard surface and you press the plug down on the back and that’ll close the gap, now We’re at 0.052 and finally the last tool is recommended for platinum and iridium style plugs And it’s the wire gapping tool around the outside of this has different gauge wires So you can see we have a 0.050 inch and a 0.055 inch on this side. And that’s the range that we need to be in between so what you do with this you just get the wire and you try to slide it in the gap and you can see that’s Pretty tight. It’s grabbing on there. So it’s pretty close to 0.05 Oh It’s a little bit larger and if we go to 0.055 it doesn’t fit and if you wanted to open the gap up So let’s just say we want it to be 0.055 inches what you do is you use the end here and You’re gonna just slide it in here like that and you’re gonna pry the gap open Just a little bit now If we test this gap you can see it slips in but there is some resistance so it’s right around 0.055 0.056 which is within spec and if you want to close up that gap you do the same thing you slide the tool in there and You just pry the ground electrode the other way so that it closes and that’s what’s recommended For the newer style plugs and one more quick tip when you are adjusting the gap make sure you make little adjustments Don’t make large adjustments if you adjust the gap too far and you bend it up like that That spark plug is now no good So make sure you’re careful and make little increments on your spark plug gap Changes when you gap your plugs and that’s all there is to checking the gap and adjusting the gap So even if your spark plugs are pre-gapped from the factory Usually you can tell if they’re pre-gapped because they have a protective casing like that So even if they’re pre-gapped be sure to check that gap So all of our spark plugs are gapped , now we’re ready to install them. Now There’s one more thing that we need to cover and that is the use of anti-seize and dielectric grease Anti-seize is a lubricant that goes right on the threads of the spark plug You don’t want to use a lot and you just want enough to lightly coat the threads that’s it The whole point of it is to make sure the threads don’t get stuck inside the engine So when you go to remove the spark plugs, it’ll come right out we don’t want to put too much where there’s globs on here and then it could drip down and bridge that gap and cause a Misfire but with all the different spark plug technologies and engine technologies today. A lot of times. It’s recommended not to use anti-seize So how do you know whether or not to use anti-seize in your car? Well first check the owner’s manual a lot of times it’s in there It’ll tell you if you should or shouldn’t you could also check the service manual and finally you want to check with the spark plug

Company you go with for example I called these guys up and I asked them should these use anti-seize and they said no No, anti-seize is required on these plugs I know some brands like NGK they use a special coating on their threads and they actually recommend that you don’t use anti-seize because you could over torque their spark plugs So check your manuals Check the spark plug companies and that will let you know whether or not you should use anti-seize on your spark plugs in this Case we are not using anti-seize so next Let’s cover the use of dielectric grease now dielectric grease or silicone grease is an insulator So you definitely don’t want to get it on the threads of the spark plug where you want to put it you want to get A nice glob of it right there on that ceramic and then you want to spread that glob around the whole ceramic base So there’s a light coat of grease on the ceramic like so it’s also a good idea to get some of that dielectric grease inside the spark plug boot what I like to do is I like to get a cotton swab get some grease on the cotton swab and just coat the inside of the rubber with the grease just like that and then when we go connect it to the spark plug later on it’ll slide all the way down and that Dielectric grease is going to prevent moisture from getting in here and causing corrosion And it’s also going to prevent that high voltage From leaking out and finally when we go to replace the spark plugs that silicone on the boot is going to make it really easy to remove the boot It won’t be seized on there that way replacing your spark plugs and your wires down the road will be a lot simpler and one Last thing it’s not a bad idea to get a little bit of silicone on the other end of the spark plug wire as well To help insulate and you want a thin coat right around the edge just like that All right, so I greased all the spark plugs. They’re all set I did all the wires and we still have some dielectric grease left. So you really don’t need that much So with all the plugs gapped, they’re all greased. We don’t need any anti-seize we are ready to go. Let’s grab a plug Let’s grab our torque wrench and let me show you how to install these plugs properly There’s a few tips and tricks that I have That are gonna make this real easy Now it’s super important that you tighten down your spark plugs correctly if you tighten them down too much you could damage the threads if you don’t tighten it enough, the spark plug could come loose and blow out of the engine So how I like to do this is I like to stick the spark plug in the socket With my extension and drop it down in there. Now I’m gonna do this by hand. You never use an impact gun You never use a wrench and this should tighten pretty easily There should be almost no resistance If it’s hard to tighten, back it out and start over. The reason why we do this is because you don’t want to cross thread The plug and once you can’t tighten it any more by hand grab your torque wrench and we’re gonna torque this down to 15 foot-pounds Just like that now if you weren’t replacing your spark plug wires all you’d have to do is push this wire all the way down until it clicks and you are done with that spark plug and I like to work on one plug and one wire at a time So we did that one next we’d move down to that one after we finish that would move on to the next one that way You don’t mix up any of the wires now in this case. I’m gonna be replacing the wires so let’s remove this wire and then finally follow it all the way up to the coil here and remove it from the coil and a little trick is to lay out all your wires in size order that way when you get your Wire you just find the right size that matches up looks like right there and then we know we have the right size wire and since we’re doing one wire at A time there’s only one spot. We can’t mess this up put it right on top, press it down till it clicks Same thing at the plug Press the wire down until it clicks Good and once you hear and feel that click that means it’s seated properly and we have a good connection and we’re done with that spark plug and wire So again, remove the wire, clean the well out, break the plug loose, then out with the old and in with the new Then torque it to spec and finally push in the new wire So it clicks you’re gonna follow these same exact simple steps for each spark plug you replace take your time And it really is this simple now, let’s say you don’t own a torque wrench You can still get this tight to the proper spec just grab your regular old ratchet get it on there And since it’s hand tight you can see right there. It’s pretty snug from where it’s snug You just want to turn it about a sixteenth of a turn or just a little bit more just like that You don’t need a lot. You just want to Snug it down just a little bit more and that’s all good Now we could go and get our last wire in there and with that click we are done on this side So now let’s go and do the other side For the other side the intake tubing has to be removed to get access to the plugs once you have access it’s the same process as before and with a little time-lapse editing, the plugs and wires on this side of the engine are replaced as well so we’re done replacing the plugs and wires on this engine and the only thing that was in the way was the intake tubing and It really wasn’t that bad. But on some cars it’s even easier like with most four-cylinder engines. The plugs are right at the top So it’s really easy to get to and replace you could replace these in like 10 minutes But not all plugs are this easy to replace some cars like this Subaru, It has a very compact engine bay plus This is a boxer engine So the spark plugs are on the side of the engine and you can see there is no access here and there’s no access there So what you’ll have to do here is you remove the battery and that gives us access so we can remove the spark plugs Here we don’t have plug wires. And instead. We have a coil on plug So remove the coil and the trick is to use a universal joint extension Which allows you to fit into tight places get the socket on the plug then break it loose loosen it up the rest of the way by hand and that’s how you remove a tough to reach plug and you can do the

Same thing to the spark plug right there So that gives you a really good idea just use a swivel socket or a universal joint extension like this Remove the battery you could get into tight spaces on the side of the engine bay You’d do the same thing on this side Except you to remove the intake and again you get in there with a universal joint extension So now let’s cover one more tricky, but common style engine and that’s the transverse engine So this engine is sitting sideways because it’s front-wheel drive Now that makes it really easy to get to the three plugs that are up here But the plugs that are in the back, I mean they are all the way in the back here So there’s two ways to go about this one you could try going from underneath the car and see if you have access to the plugs that way in this engine you don’t but The way you do it on this car is you remove the wiper blade cowl right here Then that gives you so much more room to get your arms back there And if you really don’t want to remove the cowl you could go in there and do it by feel sure It’s a pain and it takes a little bit longer but replacing the plugs on transverse engines is completely doable So there you go. That is how you replace your spark plugs in your car There’s one more thing that we need to do and that is start her up and make sure she is running right And I can tell already that is so much better Ah Man, that sounds good. No more misfire. And that is how you replace your spark plugs and wires in your car Those are all my tips and tricks try to make it as simple as possible So hopefully the video is helpful if it was remember to give it a thumbs up also If you’re not a subscriber consider subscribing and as always all the tools and products I used in this video are linked in the description

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