For today’s adventure, we replaced our own spark plugs!
Service cost at the dealership: $160
Do-it-myself total cost: $23 + 30 minutes
What you’ll need…
- New spark plugs ($6 for 4)
- A good ratchet set ($30 if you don’t already have one)
- An extender for your ratchet set ($6 if you don’t already have one)
- A spark plug gapping tool, or guage ($1.30)
- An iced caramel latte ($3 – optional, but recommended on a hot day)
Turns out this is one of the easiest jobs you can do on your car — easier and quicker than changing your oil!
I guess it’s a little bit different on a 6 or 8 cylinder car. But on our little Saturns, you just pop out 4 spark plug cables (each set of two has a single bolt holding them in place) and ratchet out the spark plug. Then use the gapping tool to measure the gap at the bottom of the plug (top?) and set your new plugs to match — literally just prying apart the gap with the tool. Ratchet the new plugs in place, pop the cable back in, and start the car to test.
I got it right my first try — although next time will be easier and probably a little less greasy because I’ll have less exploring to do. Nonetheless, this job took not even 30 minutes, once I had the tools I needed. No need to make an appointment anywhere, and no need to fork out a wad of cash. I am very pleased with myself. eHow has a great tutorial video that helped a lot.
The serpentine belt, unfortunately, is next, and there’s no way I’m trying that one myself.