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Changing the spark plugs

General Information

Changing the spark plugs on a car is another of those basic car care items that every driver should know how to do. On older cars it was recommended to change the spark plugs as frequently as every 10,000 miles. Modern cars have suprisingly longer timelines for replacement. In fact, the 2002 Honda Civic manual recommends changing them at 100,000 miles! Now, this being said, I'm in the old school camp and like to change my plugs more frequently. Having spark plugs in their peak state ensures that the vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. And with a price range of $5 to $20 dollars, it's cheap.

In addition to this, regularly changing spark plugs, when done at home, gives you the perfect opportunity to examine the car and look for possible problems. Remember, it's always easier and cheaper to do preventative maintenance before you have a critical problem.

Now, realistically, the process for changing spark plugs is nearly identical for all vehicles. Remove the old plug, examine it and then replace it with a new one. With older cars you'll also have spark plug wires, distributor caps and rotors to check. If the car is old enough you'll also have distributor points to maintain. With some modern cars the ignition coil attaches directly to the plug, and you will only have the plug itself to deal with.

The golden rules of spark plug changes are: always use anti=sieze on the plug threads and always be careful threading the new plug into the block. There's nothing worse than stripping the block threads, as it's an expensive and unnecessary repair!

Documented Spark Plug Replacements

2002 Toyota Echo
2002 Honda Civic
2002 Toyota Corolla

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