Consider This: you’re almost done changing your spark plugs when you strike a stumbling block. Your spark plug has broken off, leaving half of it stranded in the engine. Panic sets in; should you contact a mechanic? Do you attempt to get rid of it yourself? Read our guide “How To Remove A Broken Spark Plug“.
To remove a broken spark plug, first, remove the spark plug boot and any debris that has accumulated around the broken plug. Apply penetrating oil to the region around the plug. Grab and twist the porcelain insulator with pliers until it breaks. Lastly, remove the remaining threads from the engine using a spark plug extractor tool.
In this post, I’ll explain how to remove a damaged spark plug like an expert with step-by-step directions. Prepare to wave goodbye to that annoying broken plug and return to the road quickly.
Here are some common signs that your car’s spark plugs may be broken:
- Rough idle or stalling: If your engine is running rough, idling inconsistently, or stalling, it could be a sign that your spark plugs are misfiring or not working correctly.
- Decreased acceleration: If your vehicle takes longer to accelerate or has less power, it might be due to old or damaged spark plugs.
- Poor fuel economy: If your car’s gas efficiency has dropped, it might be due to worn spark plugs that need to ignite the gasoline more effectively.
- Check engine light: If your check engine light is on, it might be caused by many issues, including defective spark plugs.
- Difficulty starting: If you’re having difficulties starting your car, it might be because your spark plugs are old or broken and aren’t delivering enough spark to start the engine.
If you notice any of these signs, inspecting and replacing your spark plugs is essential.
There are several reasons why you might need to remove your spark plugs:
- Maintenance: Spark plugs should be replaced regularly as part of routine maintenance. Spark plugs can get worn or clogged over time,
resulting in lower engine performance and fuel economy.
Changing out old spark plugs for fresh ones might enhance engine performance.
- Oil Fouling: Oil fouling on the spark plug might occur if your engine burns oil. This might result in a misfire or poor engine performance.
Removing and cleaning the spark plug, or replacing it with a new one, can assist in addressing the problem.
- Carbon Deposits: Carbon deposits on the spark plug electrodes can accumulate over time, resulting in a misfire or poor engine performance.
Removing and cleaning the spark plug can aid in removing these deposits.
- Upgrading: To increase engine performance, replace the spark plugs in your car.
How to Remove and Replace A Broken Spark Plug?
Removing and replacing a faulty spark plug might be difficult, but it is possible to do it safely and successfully with the right tools and a clear knowledge of the stages involved.
To remove and replace a broken spark plug, you will need the following tools:
- Spark plug socket: This specialized socket has a rubber insert inside that grips the spark plug tightly, making it easy to remove and replace.
It is important to use the correct size socket for your specific engine.
- Ratchet wrench: This tool is used to turn the spark plug socket and loosen or tighten the spark plug.
- Extension bar: This bar attaches to the ratchet wrench and allows you to reach the spark plug in hard-to-reach areas.
- Penetrating oil: This oil helps to loosen any rust or debris that may be stuck on the spark plug threads, making it easier to remove.
- New spark plug: It’s essential to use the correct spark plug for your engine to ensure optimal performance and avoid any damage to the engine.
- Torque wrench: This tool is used to ensure that the new spark plug is tightened to the manufacturer’s recommended torque setting, preventing it from being over-tightened or under-tightened.
Also Read: The Right Spark Plug Socket Sizes
Here are the step-by-step instructions for removing and replacing a broken spark plug:
- Step 1
Get the Engine Ready: Let the engine totally cool before beginning the operation.
Removing a hot spark plug can be hazardous and might cause engine damage. It is also critical to unplug the battery to avoid any electrical shocks.
- Step 2
Take out the Spark Plug Wire: To remove the spark plug wire, use your hands to carefully pull on the boot (the rubber portion that covers the top of the spark plug) or pliers if required.
- Step 3
Remove The Damaged Spark Plug: Put the spark plug socket into the spark plug and loosen and remove the damaged spark plug with the ratchet wrench.
If removing the spark plug is difficult, apply a penetrating oil to assist in loosening it. To loosen the spark plug, crank it anticlockwise.
- Step 4
Examine the Spark Plug Hole: Inspect the spark plug threads and the interior of the spark plug hole for damage after removing the damaged spark plug. If the cylinder head is damaged, it may be important to repair or replace it.
- Step 5
Replace the Spark Plug: Install a new spark plug by screwing it in by hand first, then tightening it with a torque wrench to the manufacturer’s suggested torque setting.
Be careful not to overtighten the spark plug, since this might cause engine damage. Tighten the spark plug in a clockwise direction.
- Step 6
Reattach the Spark Plug: Wire Insert the spark plug wire boot until it snaps into place on the new spark plug.
- Step 7
Repeat the procedure for the remaining spark plugs in your engine if required.
By carefully following these procedures, you should be able to remove and replace a damaged spark plug without damaging your engine.
If you are unsure about doing this job, it is recommended to take your car to a professional mechanic.
To know if you have successfully removed and replaced the broken spark plugs correctly, you should check for signs of improved engine performance.
If the engine misfires, runs rough at idle or acceleration or has poor fuel economy, these could be signs of bad spark plugs.
On the other hand, if the engine runs smoothly, accelerates well, and has good fuel economy, this could indicate that the spark plugs have been replaced correctly.
Additionally, you can visually inspect the spark plugs for signs of damage, such as excessive wear or residue, rounded electrode, or worn-down insulation in the middle of the cylinder.
It may be time to change your spark plugs if you see any issues. It is also recommended to check the spark plug gap size to ensure it is appropriate for your engine.
Yes, a broken spark plug can cause damage to the engine, and it can even destroy the engine.
If a piece of a spark plug is left inside the engine, it can lead to severe damage and catastrophic engine failure.
It is not recommended to drive a car with a broken spark plug, and the vehicle should be towed to a service center to remove the broken plug.
If a spark plug is left in the engine for an extended period, it can cause problems with piston rings and rod and crank bearings, which are more severe but still not permanent.
Therefore, it is essential to replace spark plugs when they become worn out or broken to avoid damage to the engine.
As a general rule, replacing all spark plugs at the same time is recommended to ensure consistent performance levels.
This is because spark plugs are cheap, and you want all of your spark plugs to match and have nearly the same levels of electrical resistance as all other plugs to make the engine run smoothly.
However, if only one spark plug is bad, replacing only that one spark plug and wire is possible.
It is not recommended to drive with bad spark plugs as it could lead to poor performance, poor fuel economy, misfires, or your car might not even start, and at worst, it could cause damage to expensive parts such as the pistons or catalytic converter.
The cost of replacing spark plugs varies depending on several factors, including the number of spark plugs, the type of spark plugs needed, and the labor costs.
On average, the cost of replacing spark plugs ranges from $40 to $600, with parts costing between $10 and $100 each and labor costs ranging from $20 to $500.
The cost can be higher for engines with more cylinders or if the spark plugs are located in a difficult-to-reach area.
The average cost to replace spark plugs for a four-cylinder engine is about $198, while for a six-cylinder engine, the average cost is about $400.
The spark plugs should be tightened to the torque setting recommended by the spark plug manufacturer, typically between 8-40nm (nanometer).
It is recommended to use a torque wrench to tighten the spark plugs to the specified turning angle or torque setting to avoid over or under-tightening. Over-tightening can cause the plug’s metal shell to stretch, breaking the inner gas seals or causing a fracture in the spark plug insulator.