Basic Car Care & Maintenance : Checking Car Engine Spark Plugs


Hi, this is Jeff Wong with Expert Village,
and today we’re going to learn the basics of maintaining your vehicle. In this next
segment we’ll be looking at the spark plug wires and the spark plugs themselves. So,
in most vehicles you’ll be able to find the spark plug wires as the group of wires that
go into the engine; usually in a group of four or six or eight. So, if your wires are
exposed, what you can do is a basic check and make sure all the wires are firmly secure
in their place, you can do this by just pushing down on these wires and checking and making
sure their secure. And also check on the other end, where they go into the distributor cap
and give them a little push and make sure their secure. So, checking the spark plugs
themselves is a little bit beyond basic. It involves a little bit of tools, and if you
don’t feel comfortable with removing you spark plugs from your vehicle you may want to bring
it in and have them checked out. So, we’ll go over the steps to removing a spark plug.
So, you have your basic ratcheting wrench here, with the extension on it because the
spark plugs are usually deep in the engine. And this is a special spark plug socket. Inside
there is a rubber washer so that when the spark plug becomes loose after you taken it
out the rubber washer will grab the spark plug and enable you to pull it out of the
engine. So, lets demonstrate by taking one of these spark plugs out. So, first we firmly
grab one of the spark plug wires and we pull up until it pops out. So you can see they
are pretty long. So, if you look inside you’ll be able to see the spark plug. So, take your
wrench and slide it in; it should be noted that different vehicles have different size
spark plug holes so find the socket that corresponds to your vehicle. So, turn in a counter-clockwise
fashion until the spark plug breaks loose. Some of these may be rather tight if they
haven’t been changed before or if they’ve been sitting for a long time. So, you unscrew
the spark plug, like a regular screw and once you feel that its become loose, you can pull
up on the wrench. As you can see the socket has held the spark plug in place and taken
it out. If you examine the tip of the spark plug, it should be a grayish-white color.
It should be clean from any oil. If your spark plug is wet, dark black or any other strange
color besides this, there is probably something wrong with your engine and you may want to
get it inspected. So, now since this spark plug is okay and this car has been running
fine, we’ll assume that the rest have been running fine. But, for yourself you can check
all the spark plugs. So, to replace the spark plug, we simply reverse the process we used
to take it out. So, we take the socket, make sure the spark plug is secure, and we slide
it back into the hole. And what I like to do is I like to remove the wrench actually
in this initial stage, and finger tighten the spark plug. Now what this does, it insures
that the threads are lined up so that when I tighten with the wrench I’m not stripping
the spark plug or the hole on the engine; which could be a costly repair. So, once the
spark plug is snug or finger tight, I take my wrench and I tighten the spark plug. So now that the spark plug is firmly in place,
take the spark plug wire and I place it in and I push it down; and you should be able
to feel a click when the spark plug wire snaps into place and attaches to the spark plug.
Be sure all your wires are nicely aligned and you?re done. So, as a note when tightening
your spark plugs, you may want to use what’s called a tork wrench; and what this wrench
does, it has an adjustable amount of force and it will actually slip when the amount
of force you dialed in is reached so that when you install your spark plugs you don’t
over tighten them. So, you can check on the spark plug box for the corresponding tork
specification for your vehicle.