How to Clean a Spark Plug Terminal

Cleaning spark plug terminals used to be common in the 1930s when the terminals would get lead residue buildup from leaded gasoline. Removal of the plugs to manually or sandblast them clean would allow for the vehicle to run more optimally. Though cleaning has since run out of fashion, and plugs last longer these days, they can still be cleaned instead of replaced.

Tools and Materials

  • Brake cleaner
  • Wire Brushed
  • Canned Air
  • Socket Wrench

Step 1 - Remove the Plugs

Remove the spark plugs using the socket wrench. The plugs are usually attached to the end of the rubber coated tubes which stem from the engine. For the exact placement of the plugs on your vehicle consult the owner's manual or the Chilton handbook.

Step 2 - Cleaning Solution

Use brake cleaner on the terminals of the plugs and then scrub with the wire brush. Do not disrupt the gap between the spark plugs or the order they are placed in the engine. Any oily or chalky residue forming could indicate a much more severe problem than just a bit of debris.

Step 3 - Spray Off and Replace

Spray off the brake cleaner and any debris using the canned air. Replace the spark plugs in the same manner they were removed.