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Remember these 6 spark plug tips for best performance

24th March 2022 Print

Many factors are involved in getting the best performance from your car, but the proper spark plugs play a significant role. 

The spark plug tips detailed here will ensure you get the best performance from your ride. 

Reading Spark Plugs

When removing spark plugs, it’s essential to examine the condition of their ends. If they are damaged or fouled, they can hurt gas mileage, reduce acceleration, and even lead to engine damage. 

Check your spark plugs for any of these issues: 

- Fouled with carbon (black color)
- Oil
- Wet
- Worn electrodes
- Broken electrodes
- Burned

If you see any of these issues with the old plugs, replacing them will temporarily solve the problem. First, however, you should have the engine checked by a licensed mechanic to find the cause of the issue. 

Use Liquid Penetrant For Stubborn Plugs

You know they can be tough to remove if you have ever removed spark plugs before. But liquid penetrant can help to get them out by breaking up carbon and corrosion that builds up on the plug threads and engine head. 

Try pouring a liquid penetrant around the plugs and let it sit for a few hours. Some mechanics report success using a fuel injector cleaner to deal with the carbon that builds up around the spark plug over time. 

Remember, the longer you let the fluid sit around the spark plug, the more it will penetrate the threads. 

It’s also important to measure the spark plug threads to ensure you purchase the correct spark plugs. If you buy the wrong ones, you could damage the engine head. 

Plug Hole Hygiene

The hole should not have oil, water, or debris when the plug is removed. If you notice fluid or debris in the spark plug well, you may need to replace the valve cover gasket to avoid misfires. 

Consider Engine Temperature

There’s considerable controversy on this point: Should the engine be hot or cold when swapping out the spark plugs? Many car manufacturers and spark plug companies say the engine should always be cold. 

Theoretically, when an engine is cold, the head and plugs have no thermal expansion and should be easier to remove. This is especially important if you have an aluminum head and steel spark plugs. 

However, some gearheads maintain that removing spark plugs is easier when the engine is hot. In addition, some believe the corrosion on the threads may be looser. 

If removing plugs from a hot engine works for you, go for it. Just use gloves, so you don’t get burned. 

Use Anti-seize Compound

It’s a good idea to put an anti-seize compound on the new spark plug threads, so you can remove them without damaging the cylinder head threads. 

This is critical when you have an aluminum cylinder head, especially if the vehicle isn’t parked in a garage. But don’t get anti-seize compound on the electrodes. 


Many mechanics recommend a torque wrench for replacing spark plugs, but they don’t say why. But, again, the problem is heat transfer. 

If you under torque the spark plug, it won’t make appropriate contact with the head. This makes it harder for the plug to transfer heat and increase the combustion chamber's temperature. Then you have pre-ignition and possible engine damage. 

On the other hand, an over-torqued spark plug may stress the metal shell, causing damage to the threads or even breakage. Over tightening may also damage the gas seal inside the plug. 

Replacing spark plugs is a breeze when you follow a few simple tips. Now you’re on your way to better engine performance and gas mileage.