Spark Plug Replacement - A Video Tutorial

Changing spark plugs may sound like a difficult task, but in reality, it's not much harder than changing a lightbulb. The hardest part may be accessing the spark plugs, which can be buried under a plastic cover or at the back of the engine near the firewall. Fortunately, The Car Care Nut is back with a video on how to change spark plugs. In the video, he covers the Toyota 2GR-FE version of the 3.5-liter engine. However, the steps he shows for changing the spark plugs are similar to other Toyota models and engines.

How Often Should I Change My Spark Plugs?

Change toyota spark plugs

On the Toyota V6, it's recommended that you change your spark plugs every ten years or 120,000 miles. That's consistent with the service interval for most cars and trucks. However, you may need to change the spark plugs sooner if they are dead or fouled. When one or more spark plugs are dead or fouled, the symptoms are similar to other ignition or fuel system-related issues, including:

  • Rough or poor idling
  • Engine knocking or pinging
  • Sluggish performance or poor fuel economy
  • The engine won't start or is hard to start

What Tools Do I Need To Change Spark Plugs?

Toyota spark plugs

Changing spark plugs requires a few basic tools. In general, you'll need the following:

  • 14mm socket wrench or crescent wrench
  • 10mm socket wrench or crescent wrench
  • 5/8 inch spark plug socket
  • Torque wrench
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Intake plenum gaskets
  • Throttle body gasket
  • Spark plugs

How Do I Change Spark Plugs on My Car?

Changing spark plugs does not require raising your car, but you'll still want to park in a safe spot like a driveway or garage. Then open your hood and perform the following steps in order:

Remove The Cowl

This step is required if you own a vehicle with spark plugs located underneath the cowl at the back of the engine bay. If you own a four-cylinder model or a vehicle with plenty of room to access the rear spark plugs, you can skip these steps.

  1. Remove the wiper arms by first removing the 14 mm bolt holding them.
  2. Most cowls are held in place by four clips, two on each side. Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the clips and set them aside.
  3. Remove the rubber seal at the back of the cowl.
  4. Push in the clips at the front of the cowl.
  5. Remove the top portion of the cowl by pulling it forward and out of the engine bay.
  6. Disconnect the wiring harness from the wiper motor and remove the wiper motor using a 10 mm wrench.
  7. Remove the lower part of the cowl with a 10 mm wrench.

Remove The Intake Plenum

The next steps are to remove the intake plenum as follows:

  1. Disconnect the vacuum lines.
  2. Remove the air filter box and air intake to the plenum.
  3. Remove the four bolts holding the throttle body in place and set it aside. Then remove the throttle body gasket.
  4. Remove the bolts holding the intake plenum and carefully remove the plenum. Then remove the plenum gaskets. 
  5. Once you remove the plenum, make sure you cover the holes. You can use masking tape or shop rags, but you'll want to make sure you don't drop anything inside the engine.

Replace The Spark Plugs

To replace the back spark plugs, you may still need to remove a wiring harness or move it out of the way. Then perform the following steps:

  1. Remove the coils with a 10 mm wrench.
  2. Using a 5/8 spark plug socket wrench, remove the old spark plugs.
  3. Install the new spark plugs and torque them to 13-foot lbs.

Once you've installed the new spark plugs, reinstall the intake plenum and cowl. Don't forget to replace the gaskets on the intake plenum before you reassemble it.

Visit Olathe Toyota Parts Center For OEM Spark Plugs

If you want to replace the spark plugs on your Toyota car or truck, we have the OEM parts you need with up-front wholesale pricing. We also offer helpful resources like a free Toyota VIN decoder, diagnostic info for common Toyota trouble codes, and a wide variety of resources just for Toyota and Scion owners.