Don’t you know that changing your vehicle’s spark plugs can help it sustain peak performance and make it more fuel efficient? But that’s only possible if you regularly change your spark plugs. How long does it take to change spark plugs?
Ordinarily, it will take about an hour to change the engine’s spark plugs if it has only four cylinders. Changing spark plugs, in most cases, is just a simple task that will enable your engine to perform well and be more fuel efficient. Doing it yourself will also help you save dollars.
Changing spark plugs is a maintenance task that is just as important as regularly changing the oil of the engine. And just like oil changes or tire rotation, you can do it yourself at home or inside your garage if you know how and have the right tools.
Read on to learn more about changing spark plugs and how long it usually takes.
How Long Does It Take to Change Spark Plugs?
Depends on the Engine Cylinders
If your car has a four-cylinder engine, it will take about an hour to change its spark plugs. It is a relatively easy job that you can do yourself if you have the knowledge and the proper tools.
Regular Preventive Maintenance Task
Changing spark plugs is a regular preventive maintenance task that needs to be performed on a vehicle, although not as often as oil changes.
Just like oil changes and tire rotations, changing spark plugs must be done when they need to be done and regularly. Changing spark plugs regularly will help your engine sustain its efficient performance. It’ll also make it more fuel efficient.
While spark plugs don’t need changing as often as you need to change the motor oil, you still need to monitor them to ensure they are working correctly. Bad spark plugs will affect engine performance and make it consume more fuel.
The time it takes to change spark plugs also depends on engine cylinders. If your vehicle has a six-cylinder engine, changing its spark plugs will take longer, probably around two hours.
Having a Professional Change the Spark Plug Will Take Less Time
However, taking your vehicle to a car service shop will take less time to do the job. The mechanics at the shop have the right tools and skills to do the job faster.
Once the spark plugs are changed, you will see a noticeable difference in your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. New spark plugs will make the engine work at its optimum level. You will feel your engine is performing much better while driving.
How Long Does It Take to Replace Spark Plugs on a 4-Cylinder?
Generally, it will take less time to change the spark plugs of a 4-cylinder engine than a 6-cylinder or an 8-cylinder engine. Changing the spark plugs of 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines can take twice the time for a 4-cylinder engine.
In a 4-cylinder engine, the task that takes the most time to complete is not changing the spark plugs but taking off the engine’s intake cover and replacing the filter. The task can be finished faster if the person doing the job is a professional mechanic.
The actual time required to change the spark plugs will also depend on the structural design of the engine. Some engines are designed so that there is easy access to spark plugs. But there are also engines where access to the spark plugs is very difficult.
Easy access means a faster replacement, as you may have seen. If you have to uncover things and remove bolts or screws before seeing the spark plugs, you will spend more time changing them.
But if you can readily see where the spark plugs are located, and you are not required to remove things to get to them, then your work of changing them will be faster. Whatever the situation is, it will take a professional mechanic to change spark plugs more quickly than a weekend mechanic.
How Long Does It Take to Replace Spark Plugs on a V6 Engine?
Since there are two more cylinders in a V6 engine compared to a 4-cylinder engine, it is evident that changing the spark plugs will take longer. The same thing is true when changing the spark plugs of an 8-cylinder engine.
Changing the spark plugs of a V6 engine will take about two hours. Generally, if you have a front-wheel drive vehicle, completing the task will be much faster. For example, A Ford vehicle with a V6 engine has a straightforward construction.
So, changing its spark plugs is also pretty straightforward. Changing them is a relatively simple process and very direct. There’s no need to remove the manifold.
It is an easy and direct process since you don’t need special tools. If you only need to change the spark plugs, it may only take you 30 minutes to do it. But remember, that’s true only for the V6 engines of Ford.
Do You Need to Change Spark Plugs?
Spark plugs create the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture inside the cylinders or combustion chambers of the engine. Without that spark delivered at the critical time, your car’s engine won’t run.
There are two electrodes in a spark plug. A spark from the spark plugs jumps the gap between these two electrodes. That’s the time that the air-fuel mixture explodes inside the cylinder. But each time a spark is created, it causes the erosion of small amounts of metal in each electrode.
Over time, the gap gets wider and wider. In due time, the spark cannot function. That’s the time when you will experience your engine misfiring. This will lead to poor acceleration, higher fuel consumption, and, eventually, the triggering of the engine light on your dash.
How Long Do Spark Plugs Last?
The service life of spark plugs is rated as how many miles they should last. Some are rated at 100,000 miles, while some at 30,000 miles.
To be safe, follow the car manufacturer’s recommendation when changing your spark plugs. You can check that information in your car’s owner’s manual.
However, if you forgot the last time that the spark plugs were replaced, there is a way you can check if they are already up for replacement. You have to take them out of their receptacles inside the engine.
Then measure the gap between its two electrodes. You will need a special tool to do this. The best way to do this is to ask for the help of a professional mechanic. They have the right tools and the knowledge to check the viability of spark plugs.
You must also establish a baseline after the spark plugs are changed. This will help you determine when to replace the spark plugs again.
Symptoms of Malfunctioning Spark Plugs
You also need to know the signs that show if your engine’s spark plugs are already going bad. That’s the only way to ensure that your engine will operate optimally.
It’s also one effective way of saving gas money. Here are some of the signs of a malfunctioning spark plug:
1. Difficulty in Starting the Engine
When your engine misfires while you are starting it, or if the engine fails to start, one of the first things you need to check is the condition of the spark plugs. Perhaps the gaps between their electrodes are too wide to create sparks.
2. Delayed Response When You Step on the Gas
You are familiar with how your car typically runs when driving it. So, when there are changes in how it operates, you won’t fail to notice it. For instance, if your car has difficulty accelerating when you step on the gas, it could be a sign of bad spark plugs.
When you step on the gas and your car doesn’t respond immediately, your fuel consumption will go south. You have to check the condition of your spark plugs if you don’t want to spend more than you should at the gas station.
3. Spending More on Gas
You must check your spark plugs if you are spending more on gas than before. Misfires, stalling, and bad acceleration all contribute to more gas mileage. Changing the spark plugs can restore your engine’s fuel efficiency and good performance.
4. Rough Idling
When your engine is in tip-top condition, it purrs like a cat when it is running. The sound of a good engine is relatively quiet and undisturbed. However, you should suspect bad spark plugs when you hear pinging, knocking, and rattling noises.
The first thing you need to check is the engine’s spark plugs. They are easier and less costly to replace. If you don’t replace them, you will be forced to replace a costly engine part when the problem gets more serious.
5. Check Engine Light on the Dash
If the Check Engine light suddenly shows up on your dash, it means something is wrong with your engine. The engine is composed of lots of components. Anyone of these components that malfunctions will trigger the Check Engine light on your dash.
One of the most common reasons this warning light appears on your screen is bad spark plugs. The warning light will activate because the engine is not performing as it did before. Or maybe its fuel consumption is getting higher.
These two conditions can be traced to faulty spark plugs. While driving your car, the spark plugs are required to fire sparks of electricity thousands of times every minute.
If they are still the original spark plugs since you bought your car, and your car has already run hundreds of thousands of miles, you can imagine how stressed the spark plugs are.
So, if the Check Engine light suddenly shows up on your dash, take your car to the nearest car service center and check its spark plugs. Perhaps it is now time to replace them.
What Happens After Spark Plug Change?
You will notice the difference if you change the spark plugs right away. There will be definite improvements in how your engine performed before the change.
Here are some noticeable changes you will feel as soon as you change the spark plugs:
1. Smooth and Easy Starts
If your car experiences convulsive starts before, you will experience smoother and easier starts after changing the spark plugs.
2. Improved Fuel Economy
After changing the spark plugs, you will find that your engine will consume fuel more efficiently. That means you will experience increased mileage for every gallon you put on the tank.
Bad spark plugs cause misfires, bad engine starts, and engine stalls which all contribute to lower fuel efficiency. You can save up to 30% of fuel expenses if you replace bad spark plugs.
3. Consistent and Most Efficient Combustion
If the spark plugs are working at their peak conditions, the combustion that will take place inside the cylinders will be very efficient and consistent. This means there will be fewer unburned gases that will come out of your exhaust pipe.
4. Good for the Environment
Fewer pollutants will be released into the atmosphere if fewer unburned gases come out of the exhaust pipes. So, changing the spark plugs when they are already malfunctioning is good for the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have some questions about the time it takes to change spark plugs, perhaps reading the answers to the most frequently asked questions about this topic will enlighten you more:
How Long Will It Take You to Change Spark Plugs?
If you are a weekend mechanic and your car engine has only four cylinders, it will take you about an hour to change the spark plugs. Changing spark plugs is relatively easy, especially if you can easily access them.
However, if the engine’s construction is such that you must go through covers and things before reaching the spark plugs, it will take you longer to change them.
If your engine has six or eight cylinders, it will take twice the time to change the spark plugs because each cylinder has its spark plug. So, changing the spark plugs of a 6-cylinder engine will take around two hours.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Change the Spark Plugs?
If you don’t change bad spark plugs, your engine problems will worsen.
You will experience bad engine starts, stalling, and worse fuel consumption. It is much better to change the spark plugs before these problems lead to more severe issues.
Can You Tell the Difference When I Replace Bad Spark Plugs?
You will notice the difference once the bad spark plugs are replaced. You will experience smooth and stable engine starts. Your fuel consumption will go down, and the engine will run as efficiently as before the spark plugs went bad.
How Long Does a Spark Plug Last?
The life of a spark plug depends on its rating. There are spark plugs that are rated at 100,000 miles. Some spark plugs are only rated at 30,000 miles. You need to check the box of the spark plug you are buying to see how long it will last.
Is Changing Spark Plugs Easy?
It depends on the accessibility of the spark plugs. Some engines are built so that you can easily access the spark plugs. However, other engines are constructed where you can only reach the spark plugs by removing cover plates and unscrewing the bolts or screws of the cover.
Sometimes, the work of removing these covers and unscrewing the bolts takes more time than the actual replacement of the spark plugs.
What to Do After Changing the Spark Plugs?
You need to check if the spark plugs you installed are working properly. The way to check them is to start your engine. And then check if the engine is running smoothly as before.
If the spark plugs are working correctly, your engine will readily start, and its operation will be smooth. There will be no noticeable vibration as the engine continues to run.
In Closing: How Long Will It Take Me to Change Spark Plugs?
Usually, changing the spark plugs of a four-cylinder engine takes only one hour. Changing spark plugs is pretty much an easy task, but the result is great. The performance of your engine will improve.
Your engine will be more fuel efficient if you will change its spark plugs whenever they need to be changed. If you do it yourself, you can save more dollars.
Changing spark plugs is pretty straightforward. However, be sure you know what you are doing and have the right tools.