The Oldsmobile owner's manual recommends that Alero owners change their spark plugs every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. This basic car maintenance procedure can greatly improve vehicle performance. Doing this operation yourself can help you understand the way that your vehicle operates, and in the long run can save you a lot of money when compared with taking it to the shop for new spark plugs. If your spark plugs' wires are showing wear as well, it is easy to change them at the same time for even greater performance and increased savings.
Things You'll Need
- New spark plugs
- Socket wrench
- 5/8-inch socket or spark plug socket
- Anti-seize compound
- Owner's manual
Find the spark plugs in your Oldsmobile Alero. In most engines, such as the 2.2L model, the spark plugs are right on top of the engine block and are easily accessed. For a 2.4L engine, the spark plugs are underneath the black engine cover on top of the engine, which can be removed by unscrewing the support screws. 3.1L engines require the air filter be removed to access the plugs, while a 3.4L engine requires the removal of the windshield wiper cover. Refer to your owner's manual for the technical details pertaining to your specific vehicle.
Remove the spark plug wire from one spark plug by squeezing the cap at the end of the wire and pulling straight away from the engine, not at an angle. Do not pull on the wire itself, only on the wire end. This should expose a chamber with a spark plug within.
Lower your socket into the spark plug chamber until it fits snugly around the spark plug. Rotate the socket wrench counterclockwise until the spark plug comes away freely from the engine. Remove only one spark plug and wire at a time, and do not move on to the next plug until the wire has been reattached. Mixing up the spark plug wires can cause serious damage to the engine.
Apply some anti-seize compound to your new spark plug, using just a small amount around the screw threads on the end. This will help your spark plug maintain a good connection. Lower the spark plug into your vehicle with the socket wrench until it fits in place. Rotate clockwise until the plug becomes fairly tight, then give it an additional 1/16th of turn to give it the correct amount of torque.
Tips & Warnings
- Spark plug sockets are a helpful tool, as they are padded to protect the spark plugs, and are generally magnetic to help you raise and lower spark plugs without dropping them.
- Never attempt these procedures when the engine is running. Always let the engine cool for a few hours before working with the spark plugs.
- Photo Credit spark plug image by Yali Shi from Fotolia.com
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