Changing your Air Filter and Spark Plugs

Changing your Air Filter and Spark Plugs

You need to change your car’s air filter and spark plugs in order to ensure that it is always in good working condition and extend your car’s life. Performing these two simple maintenance tasks will also increase gas mileage and reduce emissions. You can easily change your car’s air filter and spark plugs without paying a professional to do it for you. In this short guide, you will learn how to change the air filter and spark plugs of your car.

Changing the Air Filter

The first thing you need to learn is how to change the air filter of your car. You will need to change your air filter more frequently if you drive on dusty roads often. A dirty air filter will cause a drop in gas mileage in older cars. If you want to check whether your air filter needs to be changed, open the hood of your car and locate the air filter housing. On cars with fuel-injected engines, the air filter is usually square and about 12 inches in diameter. On cars with older carbureted engines, the air filter is usually round and about 12 inches in diameter. If the air filter is dirty, use a screwdriver to remove the clamps or screws on top of the air filter’s housing.

Remove the dirty air filter and clean the air filter’s housing with a rag to remove any debris and dirt that may be stuck on it. Get a new air filter and put it under the housing. Clamp or screw the lid of your air filter’s housing back on and you’re done.

Changing the Spark Plugs

Now that you know how to change the air filter of your car, it is time to learn how to change the spark plugs. Worn spark plugs can cause engine misfiring, low gas mileage, and lower engine performance. If you notice that your engine is misfiring or performing poorly, then you may need to change the spark plugs.

Wait until your car’s engine is cold before you touch the spark plugs. After making sure that the spark plugs are cold enough to touch, remove the spark plug wires one at a time. Grab the wire by the plug boot and avoid pulling on the wire.

If there are any debris and dirt in the spark plug hole, use compressed air to blow it off. Get a ratchet wrench and remove the plug. Make sure that you have the right wrench size for your plugs. You will need either a 5/8” wrench or a 13/16” wrench for removing your plugs. Turn counter-clockwise to remove the plug.

Get some new spark plugs and put it in the spark plug holes. Most spark plugs are pre gapped, but make sure to use a gapper to make sure they are set to the right gap according to your car manual. Spark plugs also come in different elements; bronze is the cheapest and does not last as long, well iridium is the most expensive and will last quite a while. Twist a spark plug clockwise with your hand and then tighten it using the wrench. Do not tighten too tight because temperatures cause the plugs to expand. You do not want the plugs to become seized in their holes. After installing all of the new spark plugs, connect the spark plug wires back in place. If you feel the wire snap on, then it is already connected.

Useful Tip: If you are a beginner, change the spark plugs one at a time to avoid mixing up the spark plugs and wires. Consult your car manual for any specifications you are not aware of.

Posted Under: Car Maintenance
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Written by Raymond

1 Comment

  1. Scott says:

    I like that you point out that it important not to tighten the plug too tight because the temperature makes it expand. I can see why some people might have problems with this because they want to make sure everything is properly installed. My little brother owns an older car and sometimes has problems starting his car in the morning. I’ll have to suggest that he have a mechanic look at it.

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