How to Replace Spark Plugs in Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The spark plugs on your Ford car provide the spark necessary to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber of your Ford car engine. A power distributor sends an electric signal to the plugs through spark plug wires mounted on the left and right banks of the Ford car engine. Over time, these spark plugs will wear down and need to be replaced. The Ford car can use copper or platinum spark plugs Ford car the best possible spark in the Ford car engine. Replacement spark plugs can be purchased from most auto parts stores.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a Ford Escape

Open the hood and locate the nuts holding the plastic appearance cover on top of the engine. On the Ford Escape, there are three 8-mm nuts securing the appearance cover in place. Remove the nuts, lift of the cover and set it aside.

Locate the air intake tube near the windshield. You will see a clamp holding the tube to the throttle body. Turn the screw counterclockwise with a screwdriver to loosen the clamp. Remove the tube from the throttle assembly and set it aside. Pull out the breather hose that is inserted into the end of the air hose.

Remove the throttle and cruise control cables from the throttle body. On the Ford Escape, the throttle cable twists off, while the cruise control cable has release tabs. Set the ends of these cables aside. Remove the screws holding the cable bracket to the intake manifold, and put the bracket and screws in a storage container.

Disconnect the throttle position sensor and idle air control by separating the connectors with your fingers. Locate vacuum and vapor hoses on the vapor management valve. Carefully pry apart the tabs on these hoses to remove them.

Locate the vacuum hose on the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve. Pull off this hose, as well as the two hoses connecting to the EGR solenoid. Press the tab on the solenoid connector to release it. Remove the EGR tube from the valve with a 1 1/8-inch wrench.

Remove the vacuum hoses and unclip the electrical connectors from the manifold. Remove the nut connecting the wiring bracket to the EGR solenoid. Place the bracket in a storage container.

Remove the bolts securing the upper manifold to the lower manifolds. On the Ford Escape, there are eight bolts around the perimeter of the upper manifold. Stuff clean shop rags in the intake ports to prevent debris from entering the engine.

Squeeze the connectors for each Coil on Plug (COP) to disconnect. There is a COP for each cylinder. Remove the bolts holding the COPs in place and set the COPs aside.

Blow out any debris in the spark plug well with a can of compressed air. Slide a spark plug socket on a ratchet. Remove each of the six spark plugs.

Use a gap tool to gap each new spark plug to 0.052 inches. Coat the threads with anti-seize oil. Thread the new spark plugs into the spark plug opening by hand and use the spark plug socket to tighten them.

Turn over the upper manifold and pry off the six gaskets with a small screwdriver. Press new gaskets in place. Replace the COPs and bolts, then attach the connectors. Remove the shop rags from the intake valves. Reassemble the manifold, EGR valve and solenoid and throttle assembly.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet set with extender bar

  • Screwdriver

  • Spark plug socket

  • Set of six spark plugs for a Ford Escape

  • Anti-seize oil

  • Set of six intake manifold gaskets

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a Ford Explorer

Cool the engine in the Explorer. Pop the hood and let the car sit without running until the engine is cool to the touch.

Locate the spark plug wires on the sides of the Explorer's engine. Pull back on the wires to reveal the spark plugs. Turn one spark plug wire by its boot, which is the larger piece at the end of the wire.

Place the socket over the spark plug and unscrew it until the old spark plug is free from the cylinder well.

Brush out the wire boot and cylinder well to remove any debris.

Apply anti-seize compound to the thread on the new spark plug and the inside of the boot.

Screw the new spark plug into the well until it is tight. Test the tension of the spark plug and adjust until it meets the specifications listed on the spark plug's packaging.

Reconnect the wire and turn it halfway to the left and then all the way to the right to lock the wire on the spark plug in place.

Repeat Steps 2 through 7 for the remaining spark plugs. Only work with one spark plug at a time to avoid causing any damage to the engine of the Explorer.

Items you will need

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • Wire brush

  • Anti-seize compound

  • New spark plugs

  • Tension tester tool

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a Ford Focus

Find the spark plug wires or ignition coils on the engine. For models made before 2000, these may be located along the sides. For models made in 2000 or later, the spark plugs are along the front and back of the engine. If the spark plugs run along the front and back, stand to the side of the Focus and look along the back of the engine to find the spark plug wires.

Grab a hold of the wire boot or the top of the ignition coil and twist to release the wire from the spark plug. Pull back on the boot to remove the spark plug wire or ignition coil. Complete the replacement process for each spark plug before removing any other spark plug wires.

Slide the socket over the spark plug and turn to the left to unscrew the spark plug from the cylinder well. Depending on the Focus model's year, an extension may be needed to reach the plugs.

Remove any corrosion or dust from the well or boot. Gently brush around the sides of both pieces with the wire brush.

Spray silicone into the well, on the threads of the spark plug and into the wire boot. Silicone spray keeps the spark plug from sticking in the well of the engine.

Place the new spark plug into the well and turn it to the right by hand, if possible. Some spark plugs are placed in areas where turning by hand is impossible. Slide the socket and extender onto the spark plug and turn with the extender gently to thread the spark plug into the well.

Test the spark plug tension with the tension tester. Most spark plugs require 8 to 15 foot pounds. Check with the spark plug manufacturer or check the spark plug's packaging for the correct tension.

Replace the ignition coil or spark plug wire and move to the next spark plug. Continue the process until all of the spark plugs are replaced.

Items you will need

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench with extender

  • Wire brush

  • Silicone spray

  • Tension tester tool

  • New spark plug

 How to Replace Spark Plugs on a 4.6 Ford Engine

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery with an open end wrench and place it in a position so that it will not touch any metal parts. Locate the position of the spark plug wires on the 4.6 ford engine. This will show you were the spark plugs are located.

Detach the black cover that is over the throttle body. It is held in place by 3 10mm bolts and the cover will say "4.6" on it. Remove the air intake tube under the cover by loosening the clamps on the hoses at either end with a screwdriver and pulling the hoses off that are attached to the unit. Pull it out of the way and place in a safe location.

Remove the brace that runs from the power steering reservoir to the thermostat housing. The brace is attached by 3 8 mm screws. Remove it and place to the side. This will give you a clear area to remove the spark plugs from the motor.

Remove the coil-on-plug (cop) assemblies that are over each spark plug with a 7mm socket wrench. For better access, use a socket extension on your ratchet. Tag each coil with masking tap and label it so that you can remember which coil went on which spark plug.

Spray a small amount of liquid wrench over the top of each spark plug to loosen them up. Use a spark plug wrench to remove each of the plugs from the engine block.

Set the gap on each of the new spark plugs with a gap tool. For the exact plug gap, see the owners manual for your Ford 4.6 engine. Install the new plugs into the engine block with a spark plug wrench.

Reattach the coil-on-plug assemblies and then attach the brace that runs from the power steering reservoir to the thermostat housing. Secure the air intake tube by placing the hoses over both ends of the tube and tightening the clamps with a screwdriver.

Reattach the black cover over the throttle body with bolts and then attach the negative battery cable to the battery.

Items you will need

  • open end wrench

  • Socket wrench set

  • screwdriver

  • liquid wrench

  • spark plug wrench

  • spark plug gapper

  • spark plugs

 How to Change the Spark Plugs in a Ford Ranger

Pop the hood and pull off a spark plug wire from the spark plug by grabbing the boot with your hands and twisting it while you pull it off. Then install the spark plug socket onto the 3/8-inch ratchet and extension. Unbolt the spark plug from the head of the engine using the ratchet.

Pull a replacement socket out of the packaging and use the spark plug gapping tool to make sure the spark plug is at the proper gap that the vehicle manufacturer's handbook recommends.

Bolt the replacement spark plug into the cylinder head using the ratchet and spark plug socket. Then push the stock spark plug wire onto the spark plug with your hands until you hear a popping sound, indicating the plug wire is linked to the plug.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3 for every spark plug on the engine, working each plug individually so you don't confuse the spark plug wires.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and spark plug socket

  • Spark plug gapping tool

  • Replacement spark plugs

 How to Change the Spark Plugs on a 2002 Ford Windstar Van

Gap the new spark plugs with the spark plug gauge to .052 to .056 inch or 1.3 to 1.4 mm.

Wipe dirt away from the area around the spark plug wire boots with a shop rag. Grasp the plug wire boot with the spark plug wire remover. Twist the boot back and forth a few times, then continue to twist while pulling the boot off the end of the spark plug.

Remove the spark plug with the spark plug socket, ratchet and ratchet extension. Do not allow dirt to enter the spark plug hole.

Thread a new spark plug into the hole by hand until it is snug. Torque the spark plug to 11 foot-pounds with foot-pound torque wrench, spark plug socket and ratchet extension.

Apply silicone grease to the inside of the plug wire boot, then press the boot onto the end of the spark plug until it snaps into place.

Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each of the other five spark plugs. Replace each spark plug individually to avoid getting the firing order confused.

Items you will need

  • New spark plugs (Ford part number AWSF-42EE or equivalent)

  • Spark plug gauge

  • Shop rags

  • Spark Plug Wire Remover (Ford tool number T74P-6666-A or equivalent)

  • Spark plug socket

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Foot-pound torque wrench

  • Silicone brake caliper grease and dielectric compound (Ford part number D7AZ-19A331-A or equivalent meeting Ford specification ESE-M1C171-A)

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs in a Ford Ranger

Open the hood of your Ranger and locate the negative battery cable end on the negative terminal of the battery. Remove the retaining bolt from the battery cable end with a wrench and remove the battery cable from the battery terminal. Isolate the cable from the battery terminal while you are working.

Locate the spark plugs along the sides of the engine, just below the valve cover. On the four-cylinder engine the plugs are on the driver’s side and on the six-cylinder engines, there are three on each side of the engine.

Start with the front spark plug on the driver’s side of the engine. Grasp the spark plug wire by the boot and pull it off the spark plug. Lay it aside for now and do not remove any other spark-plug wires yet.

Insert a spark-plug socket into the spark plug hole and over the plug. Attach a ratchet and extension bar to the spark plug socket and turn the socket and spark plug counterclockwise to remove the spark plug from the cylinder head. Discard the old spark plug.

Thread a new spark plug into the cylinder head using your hands to avoid cross-threading it. Tighten the spark plug with a spark-plug socket and ratchet by turning it clockwise until it is snug, then turn it one-quarter turn more. Push the spark-plug wire onto the spark plug until it snaps in place.

Move to the next spark plug in line and repeat the process. Continue around the engine until you have changed all the plugs.

Install the negative battery cable on the negative battery terminal and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Spark-plug socket

  • Ratchet

  • Replacement spark plugs

 How to Change the Spark Plugs on a 2004 Ford F250 Super Duty 6.8 V10

Check the gap between the two electrodes on all 10 of the new Motorcraft AWSF-22E (or equivalent) spark plugs, using a spark plug gap tool. The 6.8-liter engine requires a gap of 0.052 to 0.056 inches, so exchange any incorrectly-gapped plugs for a new ones. The spark plugs recommended for the 2004 F-250 are not adjustable.

Trace the air intake hose from the air filter box toward the engine. Remove the two smaller hoses -- idle air control supply and crankcase ventilation hoses -- by pulling them from the air intake hose.

Loosen the hose clamps at either end of the air intake hose, using a Phillips screwdriver, and pull the hose from the engine compartment.

Unplug the wiring harness from the top of the coil pack by pressing the locking button and pulling the harness from the coil pack. Remove the bolts securing the coil pack to the engine, using a ratchet and socket, and pull the pack upward, with a slight twisting motion, to remove it.

Remove the spark plug, using a ratchet, 6-inch extension and a spark plug socket. Pull the old spark plug from the spark plug socket and insert the new plug into the socket.

Hand-tighten the new spark plug into the engine, using the spark plug socket and 6-inch extension. Apply 11 foot-pounds of torque to the spark plug with a torque wrench.

Apply a thin coat of dielectric grease inside the rubber boot on the bottom of the coil pack and set the coil pack on the spark plug. Press the coil pack downward, toward the spark plug, until it clicks into place.

Reconnect the wiring harness to the top of the coil pack and tighten the coil pack bolt to 4 to 5 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

Repeat steps 4 through 8 until you replace all 10 spark plugs.

Reinstall the air intake hose and tighten the hose clamps, using a Phillips screwdriver. Plug the IAC and CCV hoses back into their respective ports on the air intake hose.

Items you will need

  • 10 new Motorcraft AWSF-22E (or equivalent) spark plugs

  • Spark plug gap tool

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Spark plug socket

  • Torque wrench

  • Dielectric grease

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a 5.4 Ford

Open the hood and unbolt the three 10 mm bolts holding the throttle-body cover in place using a socket wrench. Then, pull the cover off.

Loosen the screw on the hose clamp that secures the air-intake tubing to the throttle body and pull the tubing off the throttle body.

Unbolt the 8 mm bolts on the brace that holds the thermostat to the power steering using a socket wrench. Then, remove the brace. You'll now be able to see the coil-over packs that supply the power to the Ford truck's spark plugs.

Press in on the tab on the coil-over packs and pull up on the connector to unplug the coil-over packs.

Unbolt the retaining bolt on one of the coil-over packs and pull the coil pack out of the spark-plug well.

Unbolt the spark plug using a socket wrench, socket extension and spark-plug socket. Then, pull the spark plug out of the spark-plug well.

Insert the new spark plug. Start the first few threads by hand tightening them, using the socket extension and socket without the assistance of the wrench. Once the threads have been started, tighten the plugs fully with a socket wrench. This will avoid cross-threading the spark plugs. The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • Screwdriver

  • Spark-plug socket

  • Socket extension

 How to Change the Spark Plugs on a Ford Explorer 4.0 Liter SOHC

Allow the engine to cool for at least an hour prior to working on it. This will make removing the spark plugs easier. Choose any spark plug wire and remove it from the cylinder head by pulling and twisting it out of the hole.

Remove the spark plug from the engine using the ratchet, extension and spark plug socket. Discard the old plug.

Use the spark plug gapping tool to gap the replacement spark plug to .054 thousandths of an inch. Then, install the replacement plug onto the engine using the ratchet and spark plug socket.

Push the stock spark plug wire back onto the spark plug until it clicks in place.

Repeat steps 1-4 for each spark plug, working your way either clockwise or counterclockwise around the engine. Work on one plug assembly at a time--that way you won't cross or confuse any wires.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and extension

  • Spark plug socket

  • Replacement spark plugs

  • Spark plug gapping tool

 How to Replace Spark Plugs on a Ford F-150

Open the hood and pull out the spark plug wires by grabbing the base of the wire and pulling it out of the top of the engine. Only work on one spark plug and wire at a time.

Lower the spark plug socket and socket extension into the spark plug well.

Turn the spark plug counterclockwise to loosen the spark plug.

Pull the spark plug out of the spark plug well. Remove the old spark plug from the spark plug socket.

Insert the new spark plug into the plug socket with the electrodes facing out and lower the spark plug into the F150's plug well.

Carefully thread and tighten the spark plug with the socket wrench. Push the spark plug wire end down over the top of the spark plug.

Repeat this process for all spark plugs.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket extension

 How to Change the Spark Plugs on a 1998 Ford Taurus

Raise the hood on the Taurus. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery, using a ratchet and socket. Lift the cap from the lower end of the passenger wiper arm, using a flat-head screwdriver if needed. Remove the passenger wiper arm hold-down nut, using a ratchet, socket and extension. Remove the wiper arm by raising the arm off the windshield, then pulling up on the entire assembly.

Remove the passenger cowl screen fasteners with a screwdriver. Remove the cowl screen. Remove the cowl upper panel from beneath the screen in the same manner. This will give you access to the rear of the engine.

Remove a single spark plug wire from one of the plugs, using spark plug boot pliers. Do not pull the wire itself, or you will damage the ends of the wire inside the boot. Inspect the boot end for excess white or black powder deposits. Check the entire wire for cracks or wear in the sheathing. If either deposits or cracks exist, replace the spark plug wires along with the plugs.

Remove the spark plug from the engine, using a spark plug socket, ratchet and extension if needed. Turn the plug counterclockwise with your ratchet to release it from the engine. Once the spark plug is sufficiently loose, you can remove the ratchet and turn the socket or extension with your fingers for quicker removal.

Set the gap on the new spark plug between 0.042 and 0.046 inches, using a spark plug gap tool or feeler gauge set. Do not gap platinum or higher-grade spark plugs. If you have platinum plugs that are the wrong gap specification, take them back to your parts vendor and request the proper plug.

Insert the new spark plug into the spark plug socket. Install the plug into the engine and turn it snug with your fingers, using the socket or extension. This will prevent cross threading of the spark plug in the engine. Tighten the spark plug to between 80 and 184 inch-pounds, using a torque wrench, adapter, socket and extension if needed. Install the spark plug wire into the plug by pushing the boot until it clicks and locks onto the plug.

Repeat steps 3 through 6 to replace the remainder of the spark plugs. Install the negative battery cable onto the battery and tighten it snug with your ratchet and socket.

Install the cowl upper piece and fasten it with your screwdriver. Install the wiper cowl screen and push the fasteners in with the handle of the screwdriver. Install the wiper arm onto the wiper arm pivot, so that the arm faces horizontally across the windshield. Tighten the wiper arm mounting nut to between 22 and 29 foot-pounds, using a 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench and socket, with an extension if needed.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch-drive ratchet

  • 3/8-inch-drive socket set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch-drive spark plug socket

  • 3/8-inch-drive, 3-inch extension

  • New spark plugs

  • New spark plug wires (optional)

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

  • 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench

  • 1/2-inch-drive socket set

  • 1/2-inch-drive, 3-inch-extension (optional)

 How to Change the Spark Plugs in a 2003 Ford Taurus 24V Engine

Change one spark plug at a time and reinstall the spark plug wire. Start with the front spark plugs nearest the radiator. Pull the spark plug wire off the plug with a twisting motion. Remove the spark plugs with a 5/8-inch spark plug socket, a 3-inch extension and a ratchet.

Gap the spark plugs to .045 of an inch with the gapping tool. Install the spark plug, by hand, and tighten it with a spark plug socket and ratchet to 15 foot-pounds of torque. Install the spark plug wire.

Remove the air duct to the intake manifold, using a screwdriver to loosen the clamp. Remove the three 8 mm bolts in the exhaust gas recirculation valve base, using a socket. Move the EGR valve just enough to allow removal of the upper intake manifold.

Remove the 8 mm bolts from the upper intake manifold. Lift the manifold carefully and move it toward the driver's side, just enough to gain access to the rear plugs. Suspend the manifold with a suitable piece of wire.

Remove the spark plug wires and spark plugs in the same manner as the front ones, with one change: The rear plugs are difficult to grab with the fingers, so use the piece of vacuum hose on the tip of the plug to turn the plug out and to start the new plug in the head. Once started, the socket can be used to finish tightening the plug.

Install the intake manifold by first making sure the rubber seal on the bottom is in place. Check the vacuum line under the throttle body running toward the rear of the manifold -- it is hard to see and often missed, and it will cause problems if not installed. Tighten the intake bolts to 40 inch-pounds of torque.

Install the EGR valve and tighten the three bolts to 15 foot-pounds of torque. Install the air duct and tighten the clamp.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Set of sockets

  • 6-inch extension

  • 3-inch extension

  • Universal joint

  • 5/8-inch spark plug socket

  • Set of wrenches

  • 8 Autolite Iridium XP103 plugs

  • Spark plug gapping tool

  • Screwdriver

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a 1999 Ford Expedition

How to replace the spark plugs on your 1999 ford Expedition

Locate the ignition coils under the intake manifolds of the 4.6 litre V-8 engine. On your 1999 Ford Expedition, it will be near the top, with four on each side, if looking at the engine from the front. Mark each coil to remember where each goes. Once you remove the coils, you will find the spark plugs where the ignition coils were seated.

Using the wrench, remove the spark plugs from the engine block. If the spark plugs give any resistance, spray around the plug with WD-40 to loosen it up. Don't turn too hard or you could crack the plug.

Set the gap on each new spark plug using the plug gapper. You will find the exact gap size for the 1999 Ford Expedition in your owner's manual. On the 4.6 litre V-8 engine, the gap size will be 0.059. Once you have set the gaps, install each spark plug in the engine block using your spark plug wrench. Don't over-tighten the plugs.

Replace the ignition coils over each spark plug and secure. Check to make sure everything is back in place.

Items you will need

  • Spark plugs for 1999 Ford Expedition Spark plug wrench Spark plug gapper Socket wrench set Screwdrivers Pliers WD-40

 How to Change a Spark Plug in a Ford Freestyle

Remove one of the spark plug wires, starting from the right.

Attach the spark plug socket to the socket wrench and socket wrench extension, and place the socket down into the top of the engine until you feel the top of the spark plug. Turn the spark plug counterclockwise to remove.

Place the gap checker in between the ground electrode and the center electrode. Push the gap checker into the electrodes to force them farther apart. There are numbers on the end of the gap checker that will tell you what the current gap is between the two electrodes. Check your vehicle's service manual for your specific year and model of Freestyle to ensure you have the proper spark plug gap.

Pull the spark plug out and place a new spark plug into the spark plug socket.

Lower the spark plug into the engine and turn clockwise to tighten.

Replace the spark plug wire.

Repeat Steps 1 through 5, moving onto the next plug in the series on your Freestyle for each spark plug. Only change one spark plug at a time.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench with extension

  • Spark plug socket

  • Gap checking tool