How to Change Spark Plugs on an 2001 Pontiac Cars

by Contributing Writer

Lately your Pontiac car does not have the performance or power that it use to have. You want to take it into a shop and have it checked out, but automotive repair costs are more than you can afford right now. More than likely, your problem could be old or faulty spark plugs. Worn out plugs can give your car that sluggish feeling and cause poor performance. Changing spark plugs is a job that you can do and save yourself some money while bringing your engine back to life.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change Spark Plugs on an 2001 Pontiac Grand Am

Open the hood on the Grand Am and set the prop rod. Remove the negative battery terminal lead from the battery, using a ratchet and an 8 mm socket. Set the battery lead and negative cable off to the side of the battery, so there is no chance of any contact between the two during this project.

Remove the plastic cover on the top center of the engine. This is the ignition coil cover. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the four mounting bolts from the cover. Pull the cover straight upward, exposing the spark plugs below.

Remove a spark plug from the engine with a ratchet, extension and 5/8-inch-drive spark plug socket. Turn the plug counterclockwise to remove it from the engine. Once the plug is loose enough, remove the ratchet from the extension. Use the extension and the spark plug socket by hand to remove the plug the rest of the way.

Set the gap on your new spark plugs to 0.50 with a spark plug gap gauge. Note that some spark plugs are not adjustable when it comes to gap adjustments. Do not try to alter this type of plug, as it will destroy the plug. Read the instructions on the spark plug box carefully. If any of the spark plug connectors stick to the top of the old plugs at all, use a spark plug boot insulator remover to pull them off. Insert the boot insulator back into the coil that it came out of, by hand.

Insert a new spark plug into the spark plug socket. Install the spark plug and socket straight downward into the spark plug hole. Turn the extension attached to the socket by hand, to ensure proper threading of the spark plug. Continue turning the extension until the plug is snug. Tighten the spark plug to 14 foot-pounds by attaching a torque wrench to the extension and spark plug socket, and turning clockwise.

Repeat steps 3 through 5 to complete the replacement of the other three spark plugs.

Install the coil cover back onto the top of the engine. Install and tighten the four mounting-bolts to 16 foot-pounds, with the torque wrench and a socket. Connect the negative battery lead and cable back onto the battery, and tighten the lead snug with a ratchet and socket.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch-drive ratchet, and 6-inch extension

  • 3/8-inch-drive, spark plug socket (5/8-diameter socket)

  • Boot insulator removal tool (optional)

  • 4 new spark plugs (platinum or higher quality)

  • 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench (reading foot-pounds)

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Pontiac Montana

Raise the hood of the Montana and remove the negative battery cable from the battery terminal with a wrench. Secure the cable away from the battery.

Locate the spark plugs on the engine. There are three plugs on each side of the V-6 engine in your Montana. The plugs are located beneath the valve covers and have a wire with a boot connected to the top. Select a plug to start with, and be sure to remember where you started.

Grasp the rubber boot on the end of the spark plug. Twist the boot slightly and pull it straight up off the plug. Leave the opposite end of the wire intact. Remove the spark plug with a spark-plug socket and ratchet. Discard the old spark plug.

Thread a new spark plug into the hole by hand, turning it clockwise. Tighten the plug with a spark-plug socket and ratchet until it is snug. Turn the plug one-quarter turn additional to secure it.

Insert a pea-sized amount of dielectric grease inside the rubber boot on the spark-plug wire. Push the boot onto the plug. Twist the boot slightly if necessary until it locks in place. Repeat the process on each remaining plug until you have changed all of them.

Replace and tighten the negative battery cable with a wrench. Close the hood and test-run the engine of your Montana.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Spark-plug socket

  • Ratchet

  • Dielectric grease

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a Pontiac Grand Prix

Park the Grand Prix and allow the engine to cool. The time it takes to cool the engine depends on climate, temperature and how long it was last driven.

Locate the spark plug wires, which are halfway down the sides of the Grand Prix engine.

Grab the spark plug wire by the boot and twist it to release the lock. Pull back to remove the wire from the spark plug. Replace one spark plug at a time. Spark plug wires that are crossed or put into the wrong place cause major cylinder and engine damage.

Unscrew and remove the old spark plug with the socket and wrench.

Lubricate the threads of the new spark plug and the wire's boot with anti-seize compound.

Screw in the new spark plug by hand and test its tension. The tension on Grand Prix spark plugs needs to be between 11 and 15 ft-lbs. Adjust the spark plug accordingly.

Replace the spark plug wire. Turn it 1/2 turn in both directions until you hear it click in place.

Repeat Steps 2 through 7 for the remaining spark plugs.

Items you will need

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • Anti-seize compound

  • New spark plugs

  • Tension tester tool

 How to Replace Spark Plugs on a 2001 Aztek

Replacing Front Spark Plugs

Park your Aztec and allow the engine to cool. Raise the hood of your Aztec.

Locate three spark plug wires on the front of the engine. The spark plugs are underneath these wires. Remove the wires from the spark plug by grasping the wire and pulling it towards you. Remove each wire one at a time to avoid confusion.

Remove the spark plugs by rotating them counterclockwise with a ratchet and socket.

Insert the new spark plugs into the spark plug well by turning the plug clockwise. Tighten the spark plugs down using a ratchet and socket.

Replacing Rear Spark Plugs

Locate the rear motor mount supports on the bottom side of the engine. Remove the bolts using a ratchet and socket.

Place the vehicle in neutral and confirm the parking brake is engaged.

Install the J 41131 rotation tool onto the engine using a ratchet and socket. The J 41131 rotation tool is a special tool designed to attach to the engine to allow it to be rotated. These are available at your local dealer. Attach a ratchet strap to the J 41131 rotation tool.

Lift the motor using the ratchet strap enough to reach the rear spark plugs on the engine.

Remove and replace the spark plugs in the same manner as the front spark plugs. Lower the engine back into position. Install the bolts in the motor mounts and tighten using a ratchet.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket extension

  • J 41131 rotation tool

  • Ratchet strap

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a Pontiac Bonneville

Locate the spark plug wires on the sides or top of the Bonneville engine. Do not attempt to touch or remove anything from the engine until it is cool. Wrap a small piece of masking tape around every spark plug wire on the engine and number them in the order the spark plugs are removed.

Twist the spark plug wire 180 degrees to the right and 180 degrees to the left at the boot, or end, that is attached to the spark plug. Pull up or out to remove the wire.

Connect the socket, extension and wrench together and until it locks in place. Slide the socket onto the spark plug and turn it to the left to unscrew and remove the spark plug.

Apply a generous coat of silicon dielectric compound to the thread and top of the new spark plug.

Insert the new spark plug into the socket and thread it into the cylinder well. If resistance is met while threading, stop and try threading it again.

Test the amount of tension on the plug with a tension tester tool. The appropriate tension is specified on the spark plug packaging.

Return all of the spark plug wires to the correct spark plugs. If a spark plug wire is placed on the wrong plug, the engine will misfire damage the machine. Turn the spark plug to lock the wires into place.

Items you will need

  • Masking tape

  • Marker

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • Silicon dielectric compound

  • Tension test tool

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs in a Pontiac Vibe

Remove the black plastic shroud covering the engine block by undoing the two hold down nuts with a 10mm socket wrench. The clips on the side of the shroud can be unfastened by simply inserting a screwdriver and snapping them out of the way.

Locate the electrical harness and follow it to the four black coils at the end. Remove each coil with a 10mm socket wrench. Pull gently so that you don't damage the coils. Make sure to identify each coil and remember which spark plug it went to so you can place it back in the same order.

Locate the spark plugs on the top of the engine block. Start with the first spark plug using a spark plug wrench. Gently loosen and remove the plug.

Set the gap on the new spark plug with your spark plug gapper. You can find this information in your Pontiac Vibe owner's manual or in a repair manual for your car.

Install new spark plug by screwing it into place. Be careful not to overtighten the plug. Just a snug fit should be enough. Replace the coil on the spark plug and fasten it into place.

Repeat the process for the remaining spark plugs. When finished, place the shroud back over the top of the engine. Fasten down with 10mm socket wrench. Snap the keeper pins back into place.

Items you will need

  • Spark plugs for a Pontiac Vibe Spark plug wrench Gap setter Metric socket wrench set Screwdriver