If your car uses copper spark plugs and the engine seems to be running rough, fails multiple times or overheats easily, then it may be time to change the spark plugs with new ones. When installing new plugs, work one at a time to ensure correct installation and firing order.
Tools and Materials
- Copper Spark Plugs
- Ratchet Set
- Spark Plug Socket
- Torque Wrench
- Pressurized Air
- Lint-Free Cloth
Step 1 – Safety Precautions
Check the vehicle manufacturer’s manual for safety instructions during spark plug installation. Always perform the installation only when the engine is cold. Use the manufacturer’s manual as well to check where the plugs are located.
Step 2 – Clean the Plug Area
Be sure to work in a garage or a place where the wind is not blowing to ensure that no contaminants accidentally fall into engine. Check for any dirt or debris surrounding the plug area and remove them. Clean the plug area using pressurized air to remove any other contaminants that may enter into the cylinder and cause damage to the engine.
Step 3 – Remove the Old Spark Plug
To expose the plug, loosen the boot over it by twisting it clockwise in a 90- to 180-degree turn. Do not pull it out through the wire. Hold on to the base of the boot when pulling it off. Insert the spark plug socket into the plug and turn it counterclockwise. As the plug comes loose, pull it out. If the plug cannot be easily reached, add extensions and swivel joints to the ratchet.
Step 4 – Clean the Plug Hole
Use a lint-free cloth to wipe off dirt on the surfaces of the hole. Do not shove in the dirt. Always work the dirt outwards away from the cylinder to avoid engine contamination.
Step 5 – Seat the Plug
Thread the new spark plug into the hole by hand clockwise. Do not use the ratchet and socket yet to avoid running the risk of damaging the threads. If the plug cannot be easily reached, use a short hose that can fit the base of the plug as an extension. If there is an old wire boot around, use it as an alternative instead of the hose. Turn the plug at least 2 complete turns before tightening with the socket.
Step 6 – Tighten the Device
Use a torque wrench to tighten the plug following the torque specifications provided by the manufacturer. Or, use a reference chart for socket tightening recommendations. These charts can be viewed online in automotive websites.
Step 7 – Inspect the Boot
Before inserting the boot back, check if its outer surface is covered in oil. Check for leaks in the car engine and repair it. If the boot is damaged or cracked, have it replaced. Replace the boot as well if it has corrosion inside it. Press the boot over the plug until they both engage. Proceed to the next copper spark plug, and follow the same procedure during installation.