How Long Does It Take To Change Spark Plugs?

Are you a car owner and want to change your spark plugs? Spark plugs are important components of any car engine. However, it takes patience and time. So, how long does it take to change spark plugs?

change spark plugs

Failure to change your spark plugs for a long time, leads to wear out on the electrode, creating a huge spark gap that cannot be bridged. As a result of this gap, your car won’t start. This is why regular change of spark plugs is an engine service exercise that will make it operate effectively.

However, many people do not know the time spent changing spark plugs. On average, it should take around 2 hours. This time will vary depending on the car. Find detailed answers below.

How Long Does It Take To Change Spark Plugs?

It depends.

Remember, car engines are not the same. Factors influencing this duration are car model, engine type, and the number of cylinders. You will mostly find inline-4 engines, but there are other engine configurations such as boxer engines, V6, V8, and more. The number of cylinders in an engine and arrangement will greatly affect the duration of changing plugs.

It won’t take so long for an inline-4 engine like the one found in a Toyota Corolla. The components are easy to open and access the spark plugs; hence, they will take around 1 hour.

It will take longer if you have a more complex one like a transverse-mounted V6, such as one found in the 2000s Chrysler minivan. This will take up to 2-3 hours as a cylinder bank against the firewall makes it challenging to reach.

It is more difficult for a V6 found in Hyundai Tiburon since there is an entire cylinders bank you can see just from above; hence, you need to jack your car up. It is recommended to have a vehicle lift to make the work much easier.

For V8 engines, an example is the Ford Triton. The early model had a 3-valve V8 engine. This can be found in F150. Here, you will find a situation where it is possible to have one of the plugs snapping off within its cylinder head. You should be prepared for a technical and sensitive job.

Here, two plugs bank up against a firewall, making the job quite tough. This means it will take you around 2 hours.

How To Change Spark Plugs?

change spark plugs

Changing spark plugs can vary slightly depending on the type of car and engine model. This is because different cars have various parts arranged differently. However, there are standard things to check and do, irrespective of the model. Read along.

Tools needed

  • Rags
  • Swivel socket
  • Torque wrench
  • Gap gauge
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Spark plug puller
  • Ratchet set

Things To Remember When Changing Spark Plugs

Below are some steps that must be followed irrespective of the car model:

Step 1: Opening up things and removing covers

For those whose engines have covers start by removing them and take out air cleaner assemblies covering the top of the engine. Make sure that you label the hoses to be able to return them well.

Step 2: Check the location of your spark plugs

Depending on the engine type, the spark plugs can be located on top of the engine facing you. For some, they can be on the sides, especially for v-shaped engines.

Step 3: Remove the throttle bodies and hoses

On top of the engine, you will see air cleaner hoses and throttle bodies before reaching the spark plugs. You will also have several connectors. Make sure you remove the hoses gently to avoid damage.

Next is to remove the throttle bodies. Throttle bodies have a couple of connectors to sensors. Make sure you remove the connectors using their clips to pull them out. 

Step 4: Removing Ignition Coils

All cars will have ignition coils that send electric power to the spark plugs through spark plug boots. The connector to the coils must be removed by pulling up or pressing their clips for this process.

The next step is to unscrew the ignition coil from the engine and pull the plug boot assembly out. 

Step 5: Unscrewing the Plug

Once the spark plug ignition coil and assembly are removed, one can see the spark plugs. The next step is to unscrew the plugs. You must have a swivel head spark plug socket that can unscrew the plugs for this step.

The next step is to remove the old spark plug, gap the new plugs as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and install them. A torque wrench will be crucial when installing the spark plugs.

To find more detailed information, watch this Youtube Video

How Often Should You Change Spark Plugs?

Spark plugs can be changed from anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000kms. However, it is important to remove them and check when you reach 50,000kms.

Common Symptoms: How To Know When To Change Spark Plugs?

  • Abnormal sounds from the car engine are a symptom of old spark plugs. This is where the engine sound starts changing.
  • Another symptom is loss of power.
  • Cracks on the spark plug wire. However, for this one, you will have to take them out.

Benefits Of Changing Spark Plugs

  • Prevents misfiring. Misfiring can raise fuel consumption
  • Improves performance by ensuring no power loss
  • It prevents cylinder head problems
  • Boosts parts life span
  • Better starting even in cold weather

Are you wondering whether spark plugs increase horsepower? No. However, they ensure that the engine produces its optimum power hence better performance. There is a significant difference in the power output when you remove old spark plugs and install new ones.

How Much To Change Spark Plugs?

The cost of changing spark plugs depends on several things. They include: a number of spark plugs, type of spark plug to install, and labor used. One can change at a dealership, mechanic, or DIY.

Cost at the dealership:

It can cost from $500 to $750 to change spark plugs at a dealership. Here, the main advantage is good skills and work is done very fast.

Cost at the Mechanic:

Here the cost is lower than at a dealership. It is good to buy your spark plugs and then pay for labor. It will cost between $150 and $250.

Cost of DIY:

When you decide to change the spark plugs on your own, the only cost your will incur is buying the plugs. Buy a spark plug; it will cost $33 to $154, depending on the brand.


As you have just learned, changing spark plugs is crucial to your vehicle. However, as discussed above, the time will depend majorly on your car type.

However, it is very clear that you do not have to spend so much going to the dealership. It is possible to change it on your own and save some money. Make sure you have clean spark plugs for optimal performance. 

Tim Miller


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