How to Change Spark Plugs on a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu

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The 2001 Chevy Malibu was designed with the 3.1-Liter six-cylinder engine that uses coil packs instead of a distributor. The spark plugs are threaded into the cylinder head above each cylinder. The spark plugs are located just above the exhaust manifold on the front and the rear of the engine. It is recommended to change the spark plug wires when the spark plugs are replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • 5/8-inch spark plug socket
  • Small Extension
  • Ratchet
  • Small torque wrench.
  • Spark plug wire set
  • 6 New spark plugs
  • Spark plug gapper

Removal

  • Lift the vehicle hood and support it with the hood prop rod. Allow the engine to cool completely before continuing the procedure.

  • Twist the spark plug boot for one of the front spark plugs one half turn and pull the boot directly off of the spark plug, working with only one plug and wire at a time. Follow the wire to the coil packs located on top of the intake manifold near the firewall and remove the spark plug wire from its respective coil pack terminal.

  • Open the new box of spark plug wires and lay them all out next to each other. Straighten out the old wire and use the new wire that matches its length the best. Plug the new wire onto its respective coil pack terminal.

  • Connect the spark plug socket to the short extension and ratchet. Place the spark plug socket onto the spark plug and rotate the plug counter-clockwise with the ratchet until it is free, and lift the spark plug from the engine.

Installation

  • Set the gap on the new spark plugs to .060 inches with the spark plug gap tool. Remove the extension and plug socket from the ratchet and insert the new spark plug into the spark plug socket so that the rubber grommet holds it in place.

  • Set the spark plug into the spark plug hole on the front of the cylinder head and gently rotate it clockwise until hand tight. Tighten the spark plug to 11 foot-pounds with the small torque wrench.

  • Install the spark plug into the spark plug socket so that the rubber grommet holds the plug, and reach around the engine and thread the rear plugs into place carefully so as to not cross thread the plug into the cylinder head. Tighten the rear spark plugs to 11 foot-pounds with the small torque wrench.

  • Repeat the removal and installation steps for each plug one at a time to avoid mixing up the firing order of the plugs and wires.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cross threading the spark plugs can cause damage the cylinder head, leading to expensive repairs.

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References

  • Alldata: 2001 Chevy Malibu Spark Plug Replacement
  • Photo Credit NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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