How to Change Spark Plugs in a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is an oft-forgotten model from the tail end of the muscle car era. It hit the market in the 1970 model year, bearing a 454-cubic-inch engine that cranked out either 360 or 450 horsepower, depending on whether it had the LS-5 or LS-6 engine, respectively. For the Monte Carlo, however, it was too little too late, as emission regulations strangled it down to a paltry 145-horserpower, 350-cubic-inch engine by 1973. The 2002 Monte Carlo’s standard 3.4-liter engine, which produces 180 horsepower, requires a spark plug change every 100,000 miles.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 new spark plugs
  • Spark plug gap tool
  • Clean shop towels
  • Ratchet
  • Spark plug socket
  • Torque wrench
  • New spark plug wires
  • Dielectric grease
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Check the gap on all six new spark plugs, using a spark plug gap tool. The Monte Carlo’s 3.4-liter engine requires a spark plug gap of 0.060 inches. There is a tolerance of plus or minus 0.002 inches, so if any of the spark plugs are not between 0.058 and 0.062 inches, adjust the gap with the spark plug gap tool.

  • Open the Monte Carlo's hood and set the prop. Trace one spark plug wire from the ignition coil on the rear of the engine to the rubber boot that connects it to the spark plug. Grab the boot firmly and twist it a half turn, then pull it up off the spark plug.

  • Clean the recessed area around the plug so that debris isn't funneled into the spark plug bore, using a dry, clean shop towel. Remove the spark plug, using a ratchet and spark plug socket. Fold the cloth to expose a clean surface with which you may clean the next recess.

  • Thread a new spark plug into the engine. If you feel any resistance as you thread it, immediately remove it and attempt to thread it again. Tighten the spark plug to 11 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and spark plug socket.

  • Inspect the removed spark plug wire for any defects, such as cracks, splits, brittleness, excessive aging or burn marks. If defects exist, replace all six spark plug wires one by one. Remember to transfer all heat shields and conduits from the old spark plug wires to the new ones, where applicable.

  • Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the inside of the spark plug wire’s boot and spread the grease around with a small flat-head screwdriver. Line up the spark plug wire’s boot with the top of the new spark plug and press the boot onto the spark plug until you feel it click into place.

  • Repeat steps 2 through 6 to replace the remaining five spark plugs on the Monte Carlo’s engine.

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