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3. Remove the coil packs or plug wires - First, put on the necessary safety equipment. This includes safety glasses. Gloves are optional, but highly recommended. To remove the plug wire, grip the boot and pull up while moving it side to side. If you aren’t careful when doing this the plug wire can tear out of the boot. This job can be made easier with the use of a dedicated spark plug wire removal tool.
4. If your vehicle has spark plug wires, it is a good idea to remove each wire and corresponding spark plug one at at time. This is so you don’t forget the order or routing of the plug wires. Alternately, you can mark each wire with the cylinder number before removal. The bottom line is, engines having a firing order and the plug wires must be re-installed exactly how they were.
5. Remove coil packs - If your vehicle has individual coil packs the job is much easier. To remove the coil packs, start by removing the hold down bolt. This is a small bolt, usually with a 8mm or 10mm head. Once the bolt is moved, pull the coil pack straight up and out of the valve cover.
6. Remove the spark plugs - This step is where the magic happens. Wait until the engine is cool to the touch before doing this. Attach your spark plug socket to the end of your extension and ratchet. Once the engine is cool, insert the socket into the spark plug hole until you feel it grip the top of the plug. You should be able to push the rubber portion of the plug socket firmly over the plug.
7. Turn ratchet - Next, slowly turn the ratchet counter clockwise to loosen and remove the plug. As was stated above, it’s a good idea to replace the plugs one cylinder at a time so the firing order doesn’t get mixed up.
8. Inspect the old plugs - Take a look at the old plugs before you toss them out. Plugs can reveal a great deal of information about the health of the engine. Normal deposits will be light brown or tan in colour. If the plugs are physically damaged, black, wet or white suspect an engine problem.
9. Get the correct replacement plugs - Getting the correct plugs is especially easy nowadays, as we have listed spark plugs by vehicle application on Start My Car. Our friend in the Northern Cape popped onto our website, entered the make and model of his car, and the correct spark automatically came up! If you are buying your plugs elsewhere, it’s a good idea to compare the old plugs to the new ones before installation. All our NGK Spark Plugs have the gap already correctly set.
10. Install the spark plugs - Place the plug into the end of your spark plug socket. Insert the socket and extension into the hole and gently thread the plug into the hold (turn it clockwise). Keep turning it until you feel the plug bottom out.
11. Applying Anti-Seize - Certain mechanics apply a light coat of anti-seize to the plug threads before installation. NGK however, state that this is not necessary and the plugs should be installed dry. Please see the video link in the Summary section, for more information regarding Anti-Seize.
12. Torque the Plugs- Never over-tighten the plugs as cylinder head damage can result. If you are uncertain as to how tight the plugs should be, torque them to specification using a torque wrench. These specs can be found in the vehicle repair guide.
13. Re-install the coil packs or plug wires - To re-install the plug wires, simply place the boot over the tip or the plug and push down. You will know the boot is secure when you hear it click into place. If your vehicle has coil packs, just drop the coil pack into the cylinder. It does not need to click into place. Then, install the hold down bolt and tighten it down.
Worn plugs can cause all kinds of problems including increased emissions, loss of performance, rough idle, hesitation, and hard starting. Exactly how often they should be changed is determined by the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance table. If you wish to replace them yourself, you can follow the steps above or look online for many good video demonstrations. I found this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_xGFfketcs particularly helpful.
All the tools required and the plugs are available on Start My Car. If we can get them to the remote dorps of the Northern Cape, we can certainly get them to you!
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