How to Replace Spark Plugs in Volkswagen Cars

by Contributing Writer

Changing your own spark plugs can really improve your vehicle's performance, as well as increase your understanding of your car's operation and save you some money. Since Volkswagen car owners are notorious for going above and beyond to keep their cars drivable long after other owners would have consigned them to the junkyard, changing the spark plugs can be a great way for the new Volkswagen car handyman to begin to become familiar with the mechanics involved in a Volkswagen car and keep their car running smoothly.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a VW Passat

Let the engine get cool to the point that you can touch it. Disconnect the negative battery cable form the battery.

Remove the plastic dust cover from the Passat engine. Locate the spark plug wires along the sides of the engine. There are six spark plugs in the V6 engine, three on each side.

Grab the spark plug wire and turn it one-half turn to the right and then 1/2 turn to the left to unlock the wire's boot. Pull back to remove the boot.

Use the spark plug socket, wrench and extension to unscrew the old spark plug and remove it from the well.

Apply anti-seize lubricant to the threads of the new spark plug.

Screw the spark plug into the cylinder well by hand. Test the tension and adjust it to 22 ft-lbs. by tightening or loosening the plug. The wrong tension may cause damage to the engine.

Reattach the spark plug wire. Repeat Steps 1 through 7 for the remainder of the spark plugs. Place the dust cover back on the engine and screw it into place.

Items you will need

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Socket wrench with extension

  • Anti-seize lubricant

  • New spark plugs

  • Tension tester tool

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a VW Beetle

Turn off the car and allow the engine to cool for 30 minutes. Pop the hood and locate the spark plug wires. If the Beetle model's engine is 1.8 liters, the spark plugs are located on the top of the engine. For 2.0 liter engines, the spark plug wires are under the engine cover.

Loosen the screws on the side of the engine that hold the engine cover. Remove the cover. Disconnect the fuel injectors on the 2.0 liter engine. For a 1.8 liter engine, unscrew the vacuum reservoir and place it to the side.

Turn the spark plug wire from side to side to unlock the wire. Pull the wire by the boot or cover on the end of the spark plug. Replace each spark plug completely before moving to the next one to keep the spark plug wires from crossing.

Unscrew the spark plug with the socket and wrench. Pull the spark plug out of the engine block.

Blow or brush out any debris in the spark plug wire or in the cylinder well. This extends the life of the spark plug.

Apply silicon lubricant to the spark plug threads and to the inside of the boot.

Insert the spark plug into the engine block and tighten it by hand. Test the tension of the spark plug. Most spark plugs for a VW Beetle require a tension between 15 and 22 foot pounds. Consult the package to determine the correct tension needed. Different spark plug manufactures require different tensions.

Reconnect the spark plug cable and turn it in either direction to lock it in place.

Repeat Steps 2 through 8 for the remaining spark plugs. Replace the vacuum reservoir or the fuel injectors. Place the cover on the engine and secure it in place.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • Wire brush or canned air

  • Silicon spray

  • New spark plug

  • Tension test tool

 How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Beetle

Locate your spark plugs. If you are unfamiliar with the layout of your Volkswagen Beetle's engine, refer to your owner's manual for a diagram of the engine and the spark plugs. If you do not have a manual, locate your spark plugs by finding the distributor cap on the rear of the engine, which will have four large wires leading from it. Trace these four wires outward, where they will connect to the four spark plugs in your vehicle.

Grab the end of the spark plug wire where it meets the spark plug. Pull in a straight vertical motion away from the engine, rather than at an angle. Be sure to pull on the end of the wire, rather than on the wire itself. This should expose the hole which contains the spark plug.

Attach the 5/8th inch socket or spark plug socket to the socket wrench, and lower it into the hole until it fits snugly around the spark plug. Rotate the socket wrench counter-clockwise until the spark plug comes free and can be withdrawn. Be careful not to hit the spark plug against the inside of the hole, or to strip the spark plug with the socket wrench.

Smear a small amount of anti-seize compound around the threads of the new spark plug. Insert the new spark plug into the spark plug socket, and lower it into the hole. Rotate the socket wrench clockwise until the spark plug tightens, then rotate an additional 1/8 of a turn to properly adjust the torque.

Items you will need

  • New spark plugs

  • 5/8th inch socket or spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench

  • Anti-seize compound

 How to Replace Spark Plugs in a VW Jetta

Park the VW Jetta in a shady area and allow the engine to cool. Pop the hood to help the engine cool faster.

Remove the plastic dust cover from the Jetta engine. Locate the ignition coils that run across the top of the engine.

Use the ignition coil puller to remove one of the coils. Pull the coil up and out of the engine to reveal the spark plug. Complete the replacement of each spark plug before starting the next.

Loosen and remove the old spark plug from the cylinder well.

Apply anti-seize compound to the threads of the new spark plug and slide it into the cylinder well. The compound helps keep the spark plug from adhering to the cylinder well.

Tighten the spark plug to a tension of 15 ft-lbs. Use the tension tester tool to make sure the tension is adjusted to the required amount.

Replace the ignition coil and turn it to lock into place.

Repeat Steps 3 through 7 for the remaining spark plugs. Place the plastic dust cover back on the Jetta's engine and screw it into place.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Ignition coil puller T40039

  • Spark plug socket

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • Anti-seize compound

  • New spark plugs

  • Tension tester tool