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Technically, you should replace your car’s spark plugs rather than clean them. Replacement spark plugs are relatively inexpensive, and you won’t get the same performance out of a plug that’s been cleaned as you would from one that’s brand-new. What’s more, the plug could be damaged during the cleaning process, compromising its integrity.

Still, if you insist on cleaning your car’s spark plugs, you can do so (at your own risk) by following the procedure below.

Step 1: Remove the spark plugs using a ratchet wrench and spark plug socket.

  • Put together the ratchet and spark plug socket. An extension may be required to properly attach the spark plug to the socket.
  • Label each wire and its matching hole with masking tape to avoid mixing them up.

Step 2: Clean the spark plug.

  • Use a rag to brush any loose debris from the plug.
  • Spray the plug with brake cleaner and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Use a wire brush to remove any remaining deposits.
  • Blow the residual debris from the cleaning process off of the spark plug using compressed air.
Man fixing spark plug

Step 3: Gap the spark plug.

  • Depending on your car, you may need to gap the spark plugs after cleaning. Refer to your car manual for specifications.
  • Use a spark plug gauge (gapper) and carefully insert it in between the arm and electrode. Adjust it accordingly to its proper measurement.

Step 4: Reinstall the spark plug.

  • Ensure that the threads of the spark plug are clean before putting them back into the holes. Tighten them to the correct torque and double check the wiring if it’s placed correctly.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic.

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