Spark plug replacement costs may be reasonably priced, and they don’t require as much upkeep as other auto components.
But how much does a spark plug replacement cost when it’s time to replace them? And how should spark plugs be changed properly?
These and other commonly asked issues, such as how often to replace damaged spark plugs and whether to replace them in pairs, are addressed in this article.
The effective running of your car’s engine depends on the spark plugs, which are important components of the ignition system. The spark plugs in your automobile will ultimately wear out, just like other auto parts do.
Your spark plugs won’t generate a spark as frequently as they formerly did because of the continual heat and electrical current they experience. What occurs then when you require new spark plugs?
Can you change them yourself, and how much will it cost? We will provide you with all the information you need to know about replacing the spark plugs, including the cost and how to do it yourself.
What Is a Spark Plug?
Before we discuss more complicated subjects like the spark plug replacement cost, let’s discuss this first. To better understand spark plugs, let’s first concentrate on the fundamentals.
You will find that this information will be very useful for you as a car owner to become acquainted with these parts if you decide to replace them.
A spark plug is a component that generates a spark to ignite the mixture of air and fuel inside your combustion chamber.
Spark plug wires are used to attach the spark plug to your car’s ignition system. Within each cylinder of your engine is a spark plug.
A four-cylinder engine will thus have four spark plugs. The eight spark plugs of a V-8 are similar.
Your automobile can start and drive off thanks to the spark plugs. They are useful for more than just starting cars, though.
The spark plugs continue to operate until the engine is started. This means that for regular combustion to occur, they must continually be in excellent condition.
If the spark plugs aren’t working properly for whatever reason. When your spark plugs are faulty, you won’t be able to drive your automobile the way you should and it will show the effects.
Affixed to the cylinder head are the spark plugs. It follows that spark plugs are present whenever a cylinder head is.
Depending on the cylinders an inline engine has, there are anywhere from 3 to 6 spark plugs. In other words, at least one spark plug is present in each cylinder.
There are twin spark engines available. In other words, they feature two spark plugs per cylinder, just like HEMI engines.
More spark plugs equate to more costly maintenance. Think about having to replace 16 of them. Spark plug replacement costs quickly rise as a result.
To improve dependability and fuel economy, your vehicle’s spark plugs must be operating correctly, so be sure to change them out regularly.
How Do Spark Plugs Operate?
Let’s first examine how these parts function and what makes them unique before discussing the signs of broken spark plugs and the spark plug replacement cost.
Spark plugs are components that deliver electric current to the cylinder; they are also sometimes referred to as “simple plugs.”
When a certain cylinder should ignite, the ignition system transmits a current of electricity through the spark plug wire to the spark plug.
As the current passes through the spark plug’s electrode and leaps from the center electrode to the ground electrode, a spark is created in the spark plug gap.
This spark causes the fuel mixture in the combustion chamber to ignite, which causes that cylinder to ignite. While, in principle, this seems very straightforward, keep in mind how rapidly this process is moving.
Thousands of times per minute might be happening with your spark plug. Be aware that some more recent automobiles have ignition coils that are affixed directly to the spark plugs.
Each spark plug is directly controlled by an ignition coil connected to it, rather than by a central distributor with spark plug wires leading to each one. The electrodes of the plugs are threaded into the combustion chamber of your cylinder heads.
The Causes of Spark Plug Failure
After becoming familiar with the appearance and functionality of spark plugs, let’s concentrate on the reasons why they break down before discussing the spark plug replacement cost.
Understanding the causes can help you figure out why your spark plug failed and whether you need to make any repairs to your automobile to prevent this from happening again. Here are some of the causes of spark plug failure.
Age and Distance
Spark plug failure has two primary causes: first, the mileage on the spark plugs, and second, the age of the spark plugs. It will be especially helpful for you to know this before learning how much a spark plug replacement costs.
As you are surely aware, spark plugs are not typically replaced very frequently. They are typically replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. The engine itself affects the period between replacements.
Some engines require spark plug replacement every 35,000 miles or so since they wear out spark plugs quickly by design. In particular, twin spark designs automatically replace both sparks when one of them fails. So, take care in this circumstance.
Additionally, the spark plugs are impacted by aging. Old spark plugs are less effective than fresh ones. If you don’t want to have any further issues soon, you should replace your spark plugs if they are more than 10 years old because the materials degrade with time.
Damage Resulting From Engine-Related Events
Let’s look at the other factors that might cause your spark plugs to foul before we discuss the spark plug replacement cost. And I assure you that there are numerous.
As you are surely aware, if there is an issue with the combustion, many things will occur inside the cylinder. Spark plugs can foul in a variety of ways depending on these factors.
Say the fuel-to-air ratio is too high, indicating that there is much more gasoline present than air. The spark plug electrode will become heavily gassed as a result, and after it is removed, it will strongly smell gas.
On the other hand, if the automobile is leaning, a circumstance in which the vehicle has an imbalance of too much air and not enough gasoline. As a result, the spark plug electrode will develop blisters and suffer other damage.
The spark plug electrode will be entirely blackened if the car is burning oil. Along with the black smoke coming from the back of your automobile, this is an obvious indicator that it is burning oil.
In addition, there are additional issues like foreign things damaging the electrode. The cylinder was damaged as a result of a screw that unintentionally landed inside of it. Or the valves might have bowed, pressing the electrode with the piston. Every possibility exists.
Because of this, you should be aware of it and try to fix it as soon as possible by changing them and incurring the spark plug replacement cost.
Signs that Spark Plugs Need to Be Replaced
Now that we have discussed the causes of spark plug fouling, it is clear that these spark plugs can malfunction for a variety of reasons. Now let’s pay closer attention to the signs of faulty spark plugs.
By being aware of the signs, you may determine if you may have defective spark plugs and whether you need new ones. You will need to find out how much a spark plug replacement costs in this situation.
Difficulty When Starting the Car
Spark plugs that are worn out might be the issue. Ask an experienced mechanic to evaluate whether the plugs need to be replaced. Simply said, if the spark plugs can’t generate enough spark to ignite the combustion process, the engine won’t turn over.
Other reasons for trouble starting include problems with the ignition system, a dead battery, or frayed spark plug wires. If the automobile battery is unable to provide adequate voltage to start the engine, it should be replaced.
Problems with the fuel may also be to blame. Be on the lookout for these parts when it comes to poor starting abilities, specifically a malfunctioning fuel pump or a blocked fuel filter. Before we discuss the spark plug replacement cost, let’s move on to the next sign of a bad spark plug.
Deterioration in Fuel Economy
Fuel economy is decreased by dirty or clogged spark plugs because they do a poor job of burning the fuel during the combustion process. Miles per gallon might decrease by as much as 25% to 30%.
A mechanic will swap out the spark plugs and use a special tool to bring each plug’s gap back up to factory standards.
A check engine light is frequently one of the first indications that spark plugs are defective. Your engine may not be firing properly if you notice this light on your dashboard.
Old spark plugs firing for tens of thousands of minutes at a time are liable to periodically misfire. Your car’s computer is sophisticated enough to recognize those instances when they occur. Take your car to your neighborhood repair shop if the check engine light is on.
The majority of shops and auto parts retailers will interpret this code for you without charging you to assist you in determining if the spark plugs are most likely to blame.
Less Rapid Acceleration
Wearing spark plugs may be the cause of acceleration being slower and there is less power to pass a car, for example. Acceleration can be slowed down by a poor fuel filter, filthy or clogged fuel injectors, problems with the oxygen sensor, and ignition system problems.
If oil is present on the plug’s tip when it is withdrawn from the engine, the plugs should be changed more often.
Oil leaks are caused by a damaged valve cover gasket, deterioration of the spark plug O-ring, a bad head gasket, or damaged or worn valve guides.
Oil might cause the engine to misfire or make it impossible for it to start, necessitating a repair. An engine that tends to misfire might harm the catalytic converter, which could cost $1,000 or more to replace.
The spark plugs and/or spark plug wires may be at fault if there is a loud vibration, pinging, rattling, or knocking sound coming from the engine. The idling will grow worse as the issue worsens. Be on the lookout for this and ensure that the issue is properly identified before shelling out further for the spark plug replacement cost.
Wires for Spark Plugs
Older automobiles require spark plug wires, a distributor, and a distributor cap. Some later models still use conventional spark plug wires even if their ignition system does not use a distributor.
With coil-on-plug ignition technology, more recent cars can avoid electrical issues brought on by spark plug wire wear. Due to the industry’s ongoing need to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions, spark and fuel delivery must now be controlled with greater accuracy.
Older automobile spark plug wires tend to become brittle and break, so owners may need to replace them. The spark plugs are no longer igniting, and the fuel isn’t being burned properly since they are no longer supplying the right quantity of electrical current.
How Much Does a Spark Plug Replacement Cost?
Depending on whether you DIY or go to a professional, the spark replacement cost ranges from $66 to $250. Taxes, fees, and your specific make and model are not taken into account in this pricing range, which is based on average rates for all automobiles.
It may also be necessary to perform related maintenance or repairs, including replacing the fuel filter, the O2 sensor, and the spark plug wires.
Spark plugs often cost less than $10 per unit. The cost varies according to projected life and electrode material. The most expensive plugs, costing up to $25 apiece, have platinum- or iridium-tipped tips.
A set of spark plugs can cost anywhere from $16 to $100, depending on the type you want and the number of cylinders in your engine. Furthermore, it’s helpful to keep in mind that certain specialized engines utilize two spark plugs per cylinder when calculating the cost.
- At the mechanic, spark plug replacement costs anywhere from $200 to $350.
- Parts cost between $65 and $100, while labor costs between $125 and $200.
A car’s spark plug replacement typically takes one to four hours to perform, depending on the automobile and whether further repairs are required.
Following your owner’s handbook, this maintenance should be carried out around every 30,000 kilometers.
By performing this task yourself, you can lower the cost of replacing the spark plugs. The number of spark plugs required, usually between 4 and 16, as well as whether you go for the more expensive conventional spark plugs or the long-lasting platinum-tipped ones, will determine your precise replacement cost.
Spark plugs come in a wide range of varieties, and not all plugs are compatible with all automobiles. Make sure to get the appropriate parts for your vehicle if you intend to repair your spark plugs yourself. Always consult your owner’s handbook if in doubt.
Factors Affecting Spark Plug Replacement Costs
The spark plug replacement cost is influenced by several factors. Your engine’s capacity is the first factor. A spark plug is located in each cylinder of your engine. Therefore, larger engines will need more spark plugs than smaller ones.
Because the technician would need to replace more spark plugs, labor expenses would also be higher for bigger engines.
The cost will also vary depending on the type of spark plug your car needs. Spark plug costs tend to be higher for high-end vehicles.
The Cost of Spark Plugs
The kind of spark plugs you’re planning to use will significantly determine the cost. Spark plugs can range in price from $5 to $50 per piece, depending on whether they are made of copper, platinum, or iridium.
Here are some average prices for several spark plug kinds to give you a good idea:
- Standard spark plugs: These can range in price from $2 to $10 per piece.
- Silver spark plugs are priced at $5 each.
- Platinum or double platinum spark plugs are available, with the former starting at $10 per plug and the latter reaching up to $20 apiece.
- Spark plugs made of iridium can range in price from $20 to $100 per piece.
The ideal spark plugs for your automobile should be able to be determined by your mechanic.
You pay your mechanic’s labor costs when you need repairs made. You might anticipate paying anything from $50 to $350 to replace a damaged spark plug. From engine to engine, these fees will differ.
For a four-cylinder engine, for instance, a repair shop would bill $50 to $150. For some 6-cylinder V6 engines, the intake manifold must be removed to reach the defective spark plug, raising the labor expense for the vehicle to $250–350.
A spark plug replacement cost can run you anywhere from $150 to $250 overall and $250 to $500 at the high end (usually for V6 engines).
How to Detect and Replace Broken Spark Plugs
Let’s look at how to diagnose and replace spark plugs now that we’ve covered the spark plug replacement cost. If you wish to perform this task at home with standard tools, this will be quite helpful for you. So, how are they identified?
A spark plug must be taken out to be diagnosed. There is no escape from it. So, if you intend to do this at home, be sure to have a long socket that will fit the spark plug’s hole and threads.
Spark plug removal requires a longer key due to the deep plug holes. The ignition coil will need to be taken out first. Two screws hold these coils in place, and they can be removed with no problem.
Take out the plug next by using your socket wrench. Once the plug has been taken out, take out all the other plugs in a similar manner and arrange them in the same order as you took them out.
This will give you a clearer understanding of which cylinders were malfunctioning and giving you problems, as well as what you can do to prevent such occurrences in the future.
The replacement plugs are then bolted in place, and they are tightened nicely, but not too much. You may now re-plug everything in and continue driving for another 80,000 miles.
Should I Replace All of the Spark Plugs?
Most definitely. It is necessary to change the spark plugs to prevent misfires, engine surging, or issues with ignition coil packs from being brought on by old spark plugs. Power loss brought on by spark plug problems might even have an impact on the power steering.
Each spark plug will eventually be on a separate replacement cycle if the defective spark plugs are replaced one at a time. Because of this, every time you have a spark plug issue, you have to spend extra time and effort replacing the spark plugs.
The necessity for comparable performance levels among the spark plugs in your automobile is another justification for replacing them all at once.
For instance, a V4 engine would run out of sync if two of its four cylinders had bad spark plugs while the other two were still in reasonably good condition.
What Happens If Spark Plugs Aren’t Replaced?
Your engine’s performance will undoubtedly be impacted by worn-out spark plugs, but only in the worst-case situation can an old spark plug endanger your safety or harm your engine.
If you wait too long to change the spark plugs, you may experience decreased dependability and even find yourself stuck on the side of the road. If you don’t replace the spark plugs at the appropriate intervals, you’ll likely have a rougher idle and worse fuel efficiency.
Your automobile will operate more smoothly and effectively after getting new spark plugs. Additionally, your fuel efficiency could improve.
Regular maintenance is essential for your automobile to perform effectively for many years to come. This includes replacing your spark plugs.
How Frequently Should I Change My Car’s Spark Plugs?
It depends. The kind of spark plugs you use and how you handle them will affect how frequently you need to replace them.
Iridium spark plugs may last more than 60,000 miles, but conventional spark plugs need to be changed every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. Every 100,000–120,000 miles, the spark plugs need to be replaced.
Spark plug-related problems can be avoided by performing regular inspections and changing the spark plugs at the recommended intervals.
These may include but are not limited to, a rough idle, a check engine light coming on, low fuel efficiency, an engine misfire, or strange noises coming from the combustion chamber.
If you ever discover greasy fluid on your spark plug electrodes, a valve stem or valve seal leak is to blame. Unburned gasoline may have also flooded the engine after a botched cold-start. Consult a mechanic in this situation.
Your choice of spark plugs and the needs of your car’s engine will determine the spark plug replacement cost. You may choose to conduct the work of replacing the spark plugs yourself, but if not, several repair facilities will do it for you for about $200.
You won’t need to worry about replacing your spark plugs very frequently because they typically only need to be done every 60,000 miles.
It is often a simple and quick process to replace a spark plug. The longer you wait, the more probable it is that a faulty spark plug may cause expensive repairs since it can cause additional engine issues like misfiring, poor fuel economy, and rough idling.
Use the proper equipment if you decide to perform your spark plug replacement. Consider having a spark plug replaced soon if your automobile is traveling a lot of miles or if you experience any of the signs listed in this article.
Nyangano Maurice specializes in vehicle troubleshooting and has more than 10 years of experience in the automobile industry. Over many years of experience as a car mechanic, he has acquired a broad range of skills, including engine repair, brake systems, electrical systems, and more. He frequently hosts community workshops and training programs to help motor vehicle owners understand their vehicles better.