How to Clean Spark Plugs

by Contributor

A spark plug is one of the tiny, but crucial, parts of a car's engine. Located inside the cylinder head of most engines, a spark plug creates a small electrical spark that's used to ignite a mixture of air and gas. The combustions are used to generate the power needed to keep your car moving along. Like all parts of an automobile, spark plugs require regular maintenance. Thankfully, you don't have to be a trained mechanic to clean your car's spark plugs.

Park your car in a safe and well-lit area. Have all your tools handy before you get to work.

Open the hood and secure it in place.

Find your spark plugs. They're usually located at the terminating end of the fat rubber wires you see running throughout your engine. Depending on the type of engine you have, the spark plugs may be located in one of several different places. For exact directions, you'll need to consult your car's owner's manual.

Remove the wires that connect your spark plug to the engine. You may have to jiggle the spark plug in place to loosen it.

Use a wrench or ratchet set to unscrew the spark plug from the engine. Remove it completely.

Inspect the spark plug for any signs of corrosion or dirt accumulation. A little filth is normal, but if you see white or oily substances on the spark plug, it could be the sign of something more severe.

Spray a brake parts cleaner onto the spark plug.

Agitate the cleansing fluid with a wire brush. Scrub gently to remove dirt. Pay careful attention to the metal threads around the spark plug's tip.

Spray the spark plug again to blow away any dirty you've loosened.

Replace the spark plug and reconnect all the necessary wires.


  • check Spark plugs are supposed to be changed regularly. For this reason, it might be somewhat unnecessary to clean your spark plugs. However, if they become especially corroded and you lack the money to purchase replacements, cleaning spark plugs can be a cost-saving alternative.


  • close A row of spark plugs are meant to fire in a specific order. For this reason, it makes sense to clean or change your spark plugs one at a time.
  • close When disconnecting the wires of a spark plug, make sure you follow the directions in the instruction manual. If you disconnect a wire directly from the spark plug's "boot," this can cause irreparable damage.

Items you will need

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