Stuck Spark Plug: Easy Steps To Remove It Like a Pro

A stuck spark plug problem can be a considerable challenge, especially if you’re unaware of the steps to remove it. But it’s easy: all you need is to apply a good-quality penetrant, give it enough time to soak, and then slowly unscrew the spark.

Easy Steps To Remove Stuck Spark Plug

That might initially sound like a lot of work, but we guarantee the steps are straightforward to follow and execute. Check them out below, including reasons why spark plugs stuck.

How To Remove Your Stuck Spark Plug Fast

To remove your stuck spark plug fast, you have to first gather all the tools you need and locate the spark plug. Remove the wire and apply the penetrating oil before tapping the end of the spark. Tighten the spark before unscrewing and removing it.

Although sparks have a long lifespan, they are still among your vehicle’s wear-and-tear items. Thus, it’s uncommon to run into a spark plug problem. One of these problems is the component getting stuck. The only solution for a plug is to remove it.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the most challenging things to do for many people. Removing a plug that has stuck in the cylinder head is an exercise that requires a lot of care and patience.

Suppose you exert a lot of force while removing it. In that case, you can damage the threads in the aluminum cylinder head, which would require an expensive repair.

So, you want to remove your spark plug without harming the cylinder, and here are the steps to do it.

But first, gather the following tools:

  • A high-quality penetrating oil
  • Spark socket wrench
  • A lift
  • Special pair of pliers or spark removal tool
  • A hammer

– Locate the Stuck Spark

The first thing to do is to find the exact location of the spark on your car engine. Spark plugs are usually located in places that are hard to access, including the side or bottom of the engine. A lift will help you access the plug easily.

You’ll notice that it’s easier to access the front plugs than the rear ones. Depending on your car model, you can locate the rear plugs from under the car.

Also, in some vehicles, you often require removing some components first to access the plugs. For example, you may need to remove the electrical connector at the top. In other models, you may only need to remove the wipe tray to access sparks.

Take note that before attempting to remove spark plug, find a blower and blow out all the dust and debris around the outside of the plug. It would be best if you also put on safety glasses. Since some sparks face straight down under the engine, they catch a lot of dirt and junk that can harm the combustion chamber.

– Remove the Spark Plug Wire

As mentioned before, you must be cautious while handling a seized spark issue. Otherwise, you’ll get yourself into a more expensive problem. Be careful when removing the spark plug wire because the end can pull out easily.

Be Cautious While Handling a Seized Spark

Avoid pulling on the wire; instead, grab into the plug boot or get under it and try popping it off. You can use a special pair of pliers to help you remove the wire.

Take note that gasoline engines have a specific firing order. When replacing the spark wire, ensure you find the right one for your car model to avoid engine misfiring issues. You must also be careful not to mix up the firing order when removing sparks and wires.

– Apply the Penetrating Oil

Spray the good-quality penetrating oil down the spark plug barrel and ensure it creates a nice coating around it. The oil will help loosen any rust and corrosion that may have caused the component to get stuck or seized.

Penetrating oils require time to soak, so wait about 30 to 45 minutes before going to the next step. Many mechanics even recommend leaving the oil to soak overnight.

Ensure you use the best penetrating oil for stuck spark plugs if you want to remove a stuck plug without any damage. Many people use WD40 on stuck spark plugs, but better choices may exist. Reliable mechanics often recommend heat-rise solvents. PB Blaster and Liquid Wrench are also great options.

– Tap the End of the Spark

Gently tap on the end of the spark plug with a hammer. This gentle tapping will allow the penetrant to soak into the spark plug threads. It will make it simpler for you to pull out the sticking spark. Take care not to overdo it, or you will risk causing more damage to the plug and the engine.

Don’t try this exercise when your car engine is still hot. Allow ample time to cool down, especially if you remove one of the rear sparks. You’ll be working close to the exhaust manifold, where you can get your hands severely damaged. If you can’t wait long enough, include a special pair of heat-resistant mechanical gloves in your list of stuck spark plug removal tools. Alternatively, you can look for a wrench extension of at least 6 inches on the socket wrench.

– Tighten the Spark

That may not make sense to you, but tightening the spark before trying to remove it is helpful. So use the spark socket wrench to tighten the spark plug until it sits. Add more penetrating oil. Tightening the plug will help loosen the build-up around its thread and enhance the removal process. Ensure you do it slowly so you don’t cause damage.

Tightening the Spark Before Trying to Remove It

You can turn on the engine and let it warm up the aluminum head. This heat will expand the metal head, allow the oil to penetrate the spark’s threads and loosen the gunk around the spark. After that, turn off the car and allow it time to cool. You’ll need to practice a lot of patience.

– Loosen and Unscrew the Spark

Work the spark’s thread back and forth to allow the penetrating oil to work into all the threads. Apply more oil and wait. Repeat steps #3 and #4, and as you loosen and increase the spark, turn it using the spark socket wrench until you meet resistance.

After several trials, the spark should start unscrewing. As mentioned, you must be gentle not to cause further damage to the cylinder. Being careful can also prevent a situation where the spark plug wont come out just keeps spinning because there are probably no more threads left on the cylinder head.

– Install a New Spark

After successfully removing your spark, you’ll need to install a new one. It would be best to clean any rust and corrosion from the ports using compressed air before installing the new spark.

You also must ensure regular maintenance for your new spark. Routine maintenance will expose any potential problems with your sparks. These problems include corrosion and debris buildup around the threads.

Avoid coating the threads using anti-seize unless the manufacturer recommends it. Also, ensure your new spark is tightened properly by using a torque wrench to achieve the correct torque. Proper tightening will help avoid spark issues in the future. Remember to use a spark socket with a foam or rubber insert that will protect the spark’s ceramic shell and prevent misfire issues.

How To Know if a Spark Will Get Stuck

Reasons of Spark Will Get Stuck

To know if a spark will get stuck, look for these symptoms: corrosion on the plug’s electrodes, misfiring, and fouling problems. Understanding how each of these happens is essential to avoid unnecessarily getting into the same problem over and over again.

– Corrosion

It can happen when the spark plug’s electrodes become corroded. That can cause the engine to run into problems, such as failure to start.

Corrosion is a big problem that doesn’t only affect the sparks but also wires and connection points around them. As mentioned, regular maintenance can prevent this problem and prolong the life of your spark plugs.

– Misfiring

Another common problem with spark plugs is misfiring. It happens when the spark plug fails to generate a spark. That means one or more cylinders fail to produce power.

That will also cause the engine to stall, suddenly lose power, and feel like it’s accelerating slower than normal. Misfiring can also cause the engine to run rough.

– Fouling

Lastly, fouling occurs when deposits accumulate on the spark’s electrodes, reducing the performance of the plug and causing the engine to perform poorly.

In addition to faulty sparks, fouling could be due to excessive driving at low speed, dirty fuel injectors, and fuel-air mixture that is too rich.


In our article above, we have discussed the steps to remove a stuck spark plug.

Before we leave you, let’s have a recap:

  • Removing stuck or seized spark plugs requires a lot of patience and care.
  • Applying too much force on sparks can cause major damage, which is expensive to repair.
  • You need the best penetrating oil to remove the spark successfully.
  • Allow the car to cool down before dealing with the spark to avoid injury.
  • Sparks get stacked due to misfiring, fouling, or corrosion.

You now have all the relevant information you need to remove your spark plug, so gather your tools and get right to it!

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