How to Check Car Spark Plugs

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Maintain the life of your car with regular maintenance and tune-ups. Learn how to check the spark plugs with expert auto maintenance tips in this important free car repair video.

Part of the Video Series: Basic Car Tune-Up
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Video Transcript

Hi! My name is Nate McCullough. In this clip we are going to talk about one of the items involved in a major tune-up or vehicle overhaul. The item we are going to talk about in this clip is changing of spark plugs. The spark plugs on this particular engine are located right on top; being that it is a 4 cylinder it has 4 plugs. The location and number of spark plugs are going to vary from vehicle to vehicle depending upon what exactly you have. We are going to do number 3. You remove the plug wire; give it a little twist and a pull. The twist will break the rubber portion loose from the porcelain portion of the spark plug. Over time they will get stuck together. You don’t want to just yank on it. You may rip the rubber off completely which will require replacement of the wire, pull this out and set it over there. This particular spark plug is a 5/16th or 5/8’s for that matter, slide it down inside the plug galley and break it loose. Care should be taken when breaking it loose. If happens to be C’s, you may want to see a professional mechanic rather than attempt breaking it loose yourself. All right, there’s your spark plug. You are going to want to check the electrodes here on the end, positive or negative for any kind of excessive wear; contamination from engine oil or excessive fuel. This spark plug actually looks perfect, and then we are going to re-use it. There is one last check you are going to want to do which is the spark plug gap. This is a spark plug gapping tool and works very simply. You are going to take the tool and set the spark plug on it and rotate it around until you feel it being snug. As you can see, it is snugged up right at about 39; between 37 and 40,000. The vehicles specification for this one is 39,000. You are going to want to refer to your owner’s manual or the omission tag under the hood on your particular vehicle. Once you have it properly gapped, you can reinstall the spark plug. You want to slide the plug down in the galley. You always, always, want to start these initially by hand and never under any circumstance use an air tool on a spark plug and flip our back over to clockwise, seat it on our extension and give it a twist. That is all the spark plug needs to be. You are going to go ahead and repeat the process for each cylinder on the engine. Like I said earlier they vary from make and model and manufacturer number and location of your spark plugs.

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