How to Change the Spark Plugs on a 1997 Nissan Maxima

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The spark plugs on a 1997 Nissan Maxima are located in the cylinder head and ignite the mixture of air and gas in the combustion chamber. Periodically, the spark plugs must be replaced; failure to do so will lower the efficiency of your engine and create environmentally-harmful emissions. Spark plugs on a 1997 Maxima can easily be replaced in an hour or two using a few simple tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Replacement spark plugs
  • Feeler gauge
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Spark plug socket
  • Anti-seize compound

Accessing the Spark Plugs

  • Unhook the ground cable from the negative battery post by loosening the retaining bolt with a socket then pulling the clamp off the post.

  • Check the gap on the new spark plugs using a feeler gauge. It should measure 0.043 inch. Adjust if necessary.

  • Remove the four screws that secure the coil cover to the cylinder head using a Phillips head screwdriver. Then pull the coil cover off the head.

Replacing the Spark Plugs

  • Disconnect the electrical connector from the first coil (located near the oil drain fill plug) by pulling it off by hand.

  • Remove the two screws that secure the coil to the head using a Phillips head screwdriver. Lift the coil away from the head.

  • Remove the old spark plug from the head using a spark plug socket and extension. Remove the spark plug from the Maxima.

  • Apply a thin coat of anti-seize compound to the threads on the new spark plug.

  • Install the new spark plug into the head using a spark plug socket and extension.

  • Insert the coil onto the new spark plug. Reinstall the two screws that secure it using a Phillips head screwdriver.

  • Press the electrical connector onto the coil by hand.

  • Repeat this process to replace the other spark plugs on the engine.

Reinstalling the Coil Cover

  • Set the coil cover in place over the cylinder. Reinstall the four screws that secure the cover to the cylinder head.

  • Slide the ground cable onto the negative battery post. Tighten the retaining bolt with a socket.

  • Run the engine to test the spark plugs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wait until the engine is completely cooled before beginning this repair. Failure to do so could cause burns.
  • Do not damage the ceramic insulator around the center electrode on the new spark plug as this could ruin the spark plug.

References

  • "Haynes Nissan Maxima Repair Manual 1993 through 2001;" Bob Henderson and John H. Haynes; 1999
  • Photo Credit spark image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com
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