When a spark plug gets heavily dirtied inside, your entire car sits at a standstill, and you don’t want that. We don’t want it either. Having a D-I-Y knowledge on how to address spark plug issues can help us save a lot of time, and of course, save money as well. There are different technical and expert advice that can help us give a quick fix on spark plugs that won’t fire.
You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to replace and clean spark plugs. Cleaning your spark plugs is easy and quick with these simple and easy-to-follow steps. As a simple rule, it is often best to replace your old and dirty spark plug. But if you don’t have a fresh supply of a brand new set of spark plugs, it would be best to clean them so you could at least start and run your car to make a quick buy of new ones.
Some common household materials, like a piece of abrasives, such as sandpaper, or your nail file, can help you get started.
We hope you will continue to visit us more often for more tips on how to perform or do those seemingly hard tasks but are actually easy when you get the hang of it. As you go along and get tons of experience, you will become a certified D-I-Y enthusiast and can perform almost all that comes your way.
How to clean spark plugs?
These little bad boys can be nasty when it wants a bit of cleaning. When your spark plugs get dirty with grime and grease, it makes your car harder to start, and eventually, it won’t even budge. Cleaning them is easy and quick with these simple steps.
STEP 1 – REMOVING THE SPARK PLUGS
- Open your car’s hood – Open your car engine bay or hood, you can do this by pressing or pull a switch on your car’s dashboard depending on the car’s model it is usually near the steering wheel, When you hear a loud thump in front, the hood’s locking mechanism has released it. Raise the hood and fix firmly the lever or the arm. It looks like a long metal stick with a bent end that serves a hook.
- Disconnect first the negative terminal on your car’s battery – Once the hood is firmly open, locate the battery and its terminals. The terminals are the two metals that protrude on your battery’s top. Find the negative terminal. You know if it is negative terminal because of the minus sign (-). Loosen the bolt and gently slide off the battery’s clip. Be sure that the terminal and the clip do not touch each other when you have removed them.
- Locate and remove the spark plugs – Find the spark plug cables, it is those thick cables running to the ignition coils on top of the engine. One cable, 1 spark plug. If you your car houses a V6 engine, it means you 6 sets of spark plugs. If you are not sure, refer to your car’s manual of instruction.
- Spray compressed air to blow dirt and other debris away from your spark plugs – when you have located and found your spark plugs, you need to clean by blowing all the dirt that stuck in that area. Make sure you nothing falls into the cylinders while you have removed all the spark plugs. Use the can of compressed air to blow safely all loose debris away. A piece of dirt that falls into the cylinder while you have removed the spark plug could cause damage to your engine. Don’t forget to wear safety glasses when spraying air.
- Always make it a point to remove one spark plug at a time. Refrain from removing all the spark plugs at once. Doing so can confuse you, especially if it is your first time, and can increase the chance of debris falling into your cylinders. Use a spark plug socket to unscrew or remove the spark plug. Remember, turn the socket counter-clockwise to loosen and turn it clockwise to tighten it up. When you feel that you have already loosened it up, you can turn it by hand and slowly remove it.
STEP 2 – CLEANING THE SPARK PLUGS WITH ABRASIVES
- After you have safely removed all the spark plugs, use a 220-grit sandpaper to scratch the electrode. An electrode is that other end of the spark plug that goes into the engine. If you noticed that is black and discolored, scratch with with sandpaper on the bent portion of the electrode until you see a shiny metal. The black discoloration is the accumulated black soot, and it prevents the spark plug from giving “spark” to the engine so that your engine could ignite and start it.
- When you have scratched and scratched the electrode and it still black, dirty and no shiny metal shows up, it needs to be replaced. You can use a file to remove or grind away the soot or the carbon build-up on the electrode. Scratch the file between the gap of the plug and the electrode, move it back and forth to clean expose a little of shiny metal.
- Use a wire brush to scrub the grime and grease buildup on the spark plugs threads. Wear gloves when you are scrubbing your spark plug with the wire brush. You don’t have to scrub your spark plug spick and span, you just have to remove most of the buildup on the threads.
- Spray brake cleaner on the spark plug – Spray the spark plug with a can of brake cleaner to remove the grime off away from your spark plugs. Brake clean dries quickly be sure to spray the break cleaner on your spark plugs and on its threads. Use a clean cloth to wipe away any debris that has remained. Be sure that you have wiped off all the moisture and grime.
- Repeat all the steps for each spark plug you will remove. Put back the spark plugs that you have cleaned. Tighten every one of those spark plugs using your spark plug socket.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD: USING A BLOW TORCH
- If you have not yet installed back the spark plugs, you can do this step. Hold the other end of the spark plug using pliers because we will going to heat the part that has a thread using a blowtorch. Just don’t squeeze it hard with the pliers, just enough to hold it while you are heating it up with a torch. But if you have a vise, it will work just fine.
- Turn on your gas or your torch and ignite your torch. Please wear any thick gloves to protect your hands from heat. Get it to where the torch produces a blue flame.
- While you are holding the spark plug with a set of pliers, burn all the carbon and debris off of the spark plug. You don’t have to worry if it gets burned. It spends most of its time burning inside the engine for a long period. Be careful with your torch.
- Let the burnt plug to cool down and remember not to touch anything with your finger. You may have to wait for 5 minutes before to doing some work on it.
- Repeat the process for other spark plugs until you have cleaned all of them.
STEP 3 – RETURNING THE SPARK PLUGS TO WHERE YOU TOOK THEM
- You have cleaned the spark plugs by scrubbing it with abrasive like sandpaper and cleaning it using a blowtorch. After you have wiped it clean and dry, you need to put it back from where you took it. You can use a gap tool to correct the gap between the plug and electrode. Please consult your manual for the correct gap. Insert the gap tool between the plug and the electrode base on the specification of your vehicle. To do this, you need to squeeze the electrode out or press it if you want to either increase or decrease the gap between the plug and the electrode.
- You can purchase a gap tool on any auto parts store or online. If you can’t find on the manual the correct gap specifications, try finding it on the spark plugs website online.
- Position the spark plug in the plug socket. You should face the threads out or it should face you. I repeat, the threaded part of the spark plug should face you.
- Use your hand to guide it in its slot, turn slowly first using your hand when it becomes to tighten where you could no longer tighten it with your hand If you see the spark plug is tilting at an angle, please do not force to turn it, remove it immediately or unscrew it and start again. This time, make it sure that you are seating the spark plug evenly.
- Once the spark plug is fitten nice and snugged in place, connect the ratchet on the socket and turn it nice and smooth. Don’t put too much force on the wrench. Getting your spark plug over-tight might cause it to break in the engine. Use enough pressure to position the spark plug securely.
- Reconnect the cable to the spark plug by firmly pressing it on the spark plug. Make sure you hear a “pop” when you have connected the cable securely. If you can’t hear any pop, you need to press it down while twisting it slowly left and right. Be sure you hear a “pop” because it might fall off when you will be driving.
CAN YOU CLEAN A SPARK PLUG USING WD 40?
WD-40 is just versatile, it removes rust and other things and can make something work like new. If you can’t let your car start, especially in wet weather, WD-40 can help you start your car. For starters, WD-40 removes any carbon residue and helps keep away moisture from spark plugs and from spark plug cables. When you have wet spark plugs, spraying a bit of WD-40 can keep away moisture from the distributor.
You need to make sure that when you spray WD-40 to your spark plugs; you are turning off your vehicle and spray some WD-40 on your spark plug wires and on the distributor cap’s interior and exterior. Leave it for a few minutes and start the car to see if WD-40 does the trick. WD-40 repels water from your spark plugs, alternator, batteries and other components. If the car won’t start, then you have a much bigger problem.
WD-40 Multi-Use Product with SMART STRAW
When you want to get rid of rust, dirt, and other things that make things behave funny, spray a little of WD-40 and your every headache flies away in an instant. It drives away moisture effectively and can dry quickly any electrical system like your car’s ignition system. When you’re having trouble starting your car, spray your spark plug with a bit of WD-40 and see all your troubles disappear.
The special formulation of WD-40 is a great inhibitor of rust and shield everything from moisture. It frees every mechanism from sticky stuff that prevents it from performing to its maximum. Loosen up metal parts and remove grease, grime, residue, and other things that keep your equipment performing at its best. Be sure to give a little spray of WD-40 to your car’s spark plug when it stubbornly refuses to start and see the magic.
NGK (6619) LFR6AIX-11 Iridium IX Spark Plug, Pack of 1
If you are looking for the best performance spark plug, NGK Iridium will not let you down. This spark plug ensures high durability and can always deliver the best performance every single time. NGK Iridium boasts a high melting point, giving you the assurance that your car performs in optimum performance every time you start the ignition.
Most car enthusiasts point their finger at this bad boy when you ask what brand of spark plug they would recommend. When you want your car to experience improved throttle response and offer great ignitability, you don’t need to look elsewhere and perform a series of trial-and-error. Stick to what the experts use, stick with NGK Iridium, and get that smooth ride all day long.