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How To Remove A Stuck Spark Plug – 8 Simple Steps

My Spark plug got stuck! Does it ring a bell? Yes, I know what you are thinking. How to remove a stuck spark plug? But don’t worry, removing a stuck spark plug is not that hard if you follow these steps. It only takes time and patience. 

Every time carbon builds up in the combustion chamber, it gets hard to remove the spark plug, or sometimes it may happen because you haven’t changed your spark

plug for a long time. You can try replacing the spark plug from time to time as a part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance. 

 When the carbon builds up around the threads, the spark plug gets stuck. To remove the plug, you must be careful. Otherwise, the spark plug might break, or worst, the threads of the cylinder’s head may break, which will take $500 to $1,200 or even more repair.

 This article will guide you to remove the stuck spark plug in the right way. So, follow these steps and remove your plug with no damage.

How To Remove Stuck Plug – 8 Simple Steps

A stuck spark plug is a common thing depending on your driving style and how your vehicle run. The carbon can build up, creating some rusty element around the thread. This rusty element does not let the plug come out smoothly. Some people get impatient and apply extra force to remove it, which can break the spark plug. So, follow and maintain these steps carefully to avoid any further trouble.

Step 1- Find the perfect position

The positioning of the spark plugs of your engine may vary depending on your vehicle. In some vehicles, the positioning of the spark plugs is hard to reach. If it is at the bottom or by the side of your engine, you can use a lift to do it properly. So, the first you need to do is find the exact position of the spark plugs.

Step 2- Pull the Cap off

The next step is to pull the cap off of your spark plug wire. Make sure you do this safely and carefully.

Step 3- Spray with Penetrating Oil

Spraying with penetrating oil is the most crucial step to remove a plug when it gets stuck. Use the penetrating oil to spray it down the barrel of the spark plugs. It will create a coating to loosen the rust around the spark plug. Make sure to buy a penetrating oil of high quality. High-quality oil will make it easier to remove the rust quickly. You can easily find rust penetrating oil in the auto parts store.

Step 4- Leave the Oil to Soak

After the spraying, let it soak for some time. Leave it for 20 minutes to half an hour at the minimum. The longer you leave it, the better it will be to remove the spark plug. The time will help the oil penetrate the rust around the thread and make it easy to remove. The best way to do it will be by leaving it overnight.

Step 5 – Give Gentle Tap  

When the oil sets correctly, give a few gentle taps around the spark plug that got stuck. Taps will make it a bit loosen after the oil is correctly set.

Step 6 – Tighten It

Tightening may sound a bit funny as the goal is to remove the spark plug. But tightening it helps to remove it without any damage. As when the plug gets slightly tightened it loosens up the buildup and rust around the threads. After the plug soaks with oil, the plug can be moved by a 1/8 to ¼ turn. If it doesn’t move, tighten it by ¼ turn. Adding some more oil will help to meet the desired resistance.

To tighten it, turn it clockwise with a wrench and then counter clockwise to remove it. For a Volkswagen Jetta, a torque wrench would be better. Try to cool down to between 18-to-20-foot pounds of torque.

Step 7– Turn on the Engine

Turning the engine of the vehicle will help to loosen the buildup even more. Let the engine warm up, so the oil also gets warmer. It will allow the oil to get into the spark plug profoundly and allow it to loosen up.

For a 5.4 triton engine, you can wait for 25 minutes after getting your vehicle up to its operating temperature. This trick will make the process quick and easy.

Step 8 – Cool down the engine

After warming up the engine, let it cool down. If you want to do it quickly, you may use heatproof gloves to avoid any burn.

For a Pontiac Grand Prix, it is better to let it cool down properly to remove it with much more ease, allowing you to use your hands to do the finishing.

Repeat the spraying, loosening, and tightening steps until the spark plug loosens up to remove smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do the spark plugs get stuck?

When the spark plug of a vehicle remains unchanged for a too long period, carbon builds up in the combustion chamber, building rust around the head of the spark plug. 

This rust makes the spark plug stuck and makes it hard to remove.

Which condition is better to remove the spark plug hot or cold?  

When the engine gets hot, it becomes easier for the penetrating oil to deeply get into the spark plugs. In hot conditions, the oil works better to penetrate. But the condition is not a must for the removal of the spark plug. But the hot condition is better to remove the spark plugs when they get stuck.

How to remove a stuck spark plug with a wrench?

With a wrench, anyone can easily remove a spark plug. One can use either a socket wrench or a torque wrench to remove the plug. After spraying the penetrating oil, the plug will loosen up, but to remove it, you need to keep turning it by a quarter and tightening it a bit. Thus, the rust will loosen enough to remove.

Bottom line

Spark plugs are essential parts of your vehicle. But when a spark plug gets stuck, it can get messier for you. Follow these steps carefully to remove the plug to avoid any damage. 

The next time your plug gets stuck, I am sure you would not need to worry about anything as you know how to remove a stuck spark plug. And next time, you can even remove any stuck plug with these steps.

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