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I just bought a 2007 2.4 automatic and had an overall inspection. The car has 58k miles on it. The mechanic quoted me what I think is a pretty outrageous amount of cash to change the spark plugs. Ive changed my own spark plugs in my previous cars. Can anyone tell me what would be special or difficult about changing them out in our cars? Other than a torque wrench do I need some special tools? Things to look out for?
 

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The spark plugs are rated for 100 thousand miles. They likely are fine st your current mileage. There have been instances where plugs have welded themselves to the head and been difficult to remove. Use of anti seize compound is a good idea. You can access the plugs very easily and see if they break lose nor,ally. If they do, it’s a few minute job to swap them
 

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It should take someone that hasn't done it all of about 15 minutes to change them. Pick up a container of Permatex copper anti seize I know NAPA has it and I am sure that other parts places will have it as well. It is a short white bottle.
Get 4 Iridium spark plugs and a spark plug gap tool. The spark plug gap spec for the car is going to be in the owners manual. it might be on the catalyst label under the hood, I have never looked at the catalyst to see if it is on there.

make sure that the plugs have the proper gap. do not rely on the gap being correct even if the plugs are new.
Pick up some electrolytic grease as well.

You are going too need a 10mm socket an extension and a ratchet, you will also need a spark plug socket. It has to be a spark plug socket specifically because the spark plugs are down inside the head of the car and getting them out would be a pain without a spark plug socket.

the plastic cover over the engine pops off, you have to pull up on it one corner at a time. right on the top of the engine you will see 4 black boxes. You can't miss them. Those are the coil packs, under them is the spark plugs. take the 10mm bolt out holding each one down, Unplug the harness to each one. Then twist each one 90 degrees one direction then back to where they were and 90 degrees the other direction. You may have to go a little further then 90 in each direction. you are doing this to unstick the rubber stem on the bottom of the coil pack. It gets stuck to the spark plug.. You will know when they unstick. Then pull up on each coil, they might be latched onto the spark plugs pretty good so you might have to use a screwdriver and pry up on it some while pulling up on it with your other hand..

Put the spark plug socket on the ratchet and put it down one of the tubes. spin the ratchet until it drops fully and then push down on the ratchet until it drops a tiny bit more. The last drop is the socket grabbing onto the spark plug. Too loosen a spark plug you need too smack the ratchet handle you may have to do this more then once to get it to move. do not apply constant force until after you have gotten the plug too turn by smacking the handle. once you have the plug out put a new one in the socket and push it in until it catches. be mindful of the electrode you do not want to close it any. take the anti seize and use the brush it comes with and put a coat on the threads of the plug. Take the ratchet off the extension. put the plug down into the hole and screw the plug in by hand it should screw in easily. if it's not then back it out and try it again. screw the plug all the way down by hand. once it is all the way down put the ratchet on it and snug it up. You want to have it tight, not to the point of having the veins pop out on your forehead while tightening it... take the electrolytic grease and put a blob in the end of the coil that snaps onto the top of the plug.. put the coil down the tube and push down until you feel it clip onto the top of the plug. Put your 10mm bolt in and also snug it up.

as a suggestion do not bolt the coils down until you have all of the plugs changed and all of the coils in place. It sucks having to fish out a bolt that falls into one of those holes. It sucks even more if there is no spark plug in the hole.
 

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... It has to be a spark plug socket specifically because the spark plugs are down inside the head of the car and getting them out would be a pain without a spark plug socket. ...
A piece of 5/16-ish rubber hose pushed over the ceramic works wonders, and you don't have to deal with fighting the spark plug socket on and wondering if it is fully seated, or taping up the spark plug socket so it doesn't come off the end of the extension.

Anti-seize is never recommended on spark plugs, but plenty still use it. Personally I don't use it on plugs (but I do use it on wheel lugs, where it's also not recommended.)

It's also never a bad idea to vacuum or otherwise blow out any crud from the spark plug well before you remove it, so said crud can't fall into the engine when you remove the plug.
 
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As far as the anti seize is concerned. That is the reason why I has said to get the Permatex in the short white container instead of the packets. It has an applicator brush that comes with it and a thin coat can be applied easily. When the head on the car is cast iron I do not use any anti seize, this is because the threads on the plug are steel and so is the head. when you have an aluminum head the spark plug can get really bound up because the expansion and contraction rates are different between the metals. It sucks having a plug snap off, it sucks even more when that plug is down a tube inside the head. I have had to deal with that once in my life, I am not the one that snapped the plug off but I was the one who managed to get the thing out.

That is also the reason why I said to smack the ratchet handle instead of pushing on it to loosen the plug. You do the same thing when removing an O2 sensor and they usually come out without a bunch of grief. The impact is what will usually break it free. If it won't loosen when doing that then tighten it a little also by smacking the ratchet handle. The tightening has always worked for me if a plug is giving me a hard hour and doesn't want to loosen.


@phil1734

I forgot about the fuel line or vacuum line trick. another one is to put some Vaseline in the end of the socket. You wouldn't think that using a lubricant would work but it does. The Vaseline actually creates suction when removing the bolt.. This is what I did when taking the bolts out of the timing gear when I did the water pump on my car. I also did it when I put them back in. I didn't want to drop a bolt inside the timing cover.


also good point about checking the hole for debris. There really shouldn't be any down in the tubes because of the top seal on the coil packs. but you never know if a piece of rubber breaks off the coil pack when taking them off the plugs.. so you should at least look down the holes and if you see something get it out first.
 

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Thanks for all of your responses with tricks and tips. Sans the coil packs it sounds pretty much like changing the plugs in my older cars. There are a lot of things I’m willing to pay a mechanic to do on newer cars, but this isn’t one of them, at least not for the nearly $200 they want for it.
 

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Thanks for all of your responses with tricks and tips. Sans the coil packs it sounds pretty much like changing the plugs in my older cars. There are a lot of things I’m willing to pay a mechanic to do on newer cars, but this isn’t one of them, at least not for the nearly $200 they want for it.
Who initiated changing the plugs in the first place? Is it necessry? I would leave them alone until you really need to do it. Why create unnecessary work and potential problems? The explanations here for changing them are very well explained. I don't think the dealer price of $200 is outrageous at all. Good luck.
 

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Iridium plugs can cost over 20 bucks a piece. I use the ones that are in the 12 dollar area. and even at that price you are looking at 50 bucks for the plugs. then you have the shop charge that is typically 10% of the labor, and taxes and what have you. so if they charge 120 an hour for labor (you always pay for an hour) then the 50 for the plugs you are at 170. Add in 12 for the shop charge and now you are at 182. if you add on 8% tax that bring the total to 196.56.

so the price you got of 200 is not being overcharged.

I am not justifying the price. I think it is a ripoff as well. paying 170 bucks to get the serpentine belt replaced is a joke. It is literally a 2 minute thing to do on the Solstice. I can do the plugs in 5 minutes, If I was to charge someone there is no way I would charge them 120 bucks labor to do that. I might charge 20 bucks.

The serpentine belt... I wouldn't even charge for.

I have a mechanic that I bring my cars to to get alignments, I do not have it done at a tire place I go to an actual mechanic. reason why is the mechanic is the one that had to buy the 20,000+ dollar machine not a company. The machine is going to be treated with the utmost care...

I really do not need to bring my cars in for alignments, I know how to do them without the fancy machine. Every time I do an alignment I do it because I have replaced something in the suspension that warrants it. I do it so I can get the car to the place. every time I have done this I have been within spec and didn't need to have the alignment done and my mechanic charges me 20-30 bucks to set the machine up... The last time I had an alignment done I replaced some bad suspension parts and I didn't do the home alignment, i drove it there and dropped it off... I dropped the car off in the morning and at the end of the day I was told that they are still working on it and that it would be done in the morning.. I had figured that they didn't get to it until late in the day.. Nope not the case.. he pulled it into the bat at 10:00 am and was working on it until the end of that day, and then until 10AM the next day.. 4 times he had to set the thing back up on the machine. The car is older and there is some play in the steering rack and the steering wheel was not perfectly centered. I asked how much. maybe a 1/2 a fingers width off. or he didn't like how the camber was in the back, he also set it up so that even with the crown in the road the car still went perfectly straight and didn't drift to the right. alignment machines do not compensate for that, that is a whole lot of test and change test and change to get it right. he kept on working on it until he knew I was going to be happy with it.... I was charged 100.00 for the alignment. I gave the guy another 100 because of how good it came out. The handling was better then it was when the car was brand new.

that kind of a mechanic is the kind that you do not have a problem paying..
 

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the 100K mile thing on a set of plugs.. I call bull on that one.. after 50K miles the gap is going to be about 50% more then what the spec is. Pull the plugs and check the gap you are going to find that it is way off. The electrode burns off from the spark making the gap bigger. Sure the spark will still jump across the large gap but it sure isn't going too be as hot as it should be... depending on how you drive the car is what is going to dictate when you change the plugs. I have put 40K miles on my Solstice since I got it, I just replaced the plugs for the second time, the car has 60,000 miles on it and this is the 3rd set of plugs. Not because the plugs could be considered "bad" because the gap had increased close to 20% above spec.
 

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Who initiated changing the plugs in the first place? Is it necessry? I would leave them alone until you really need to do it. Why create unnecessary work and potential problems? The explanations here for changing them are very well explained. I don't think the dealer price of $200 is outrageous at all. Good luck.
I had an inspection done when I bought the car. The mechanic suggested it.
 

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I had an inspection done when I bought the car. The mechanic suggested it.
That said, he also suggested changing out the auto trans fluid. Both are 100,000 mile maintenance in the manual so I’m not in a hurry yet. its a used car so I don’t know how it’s been driven. I’ll be taking care of these sooner than later. The car is in incredible shape though.
 

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You make a good point that I always follow when I purchase a used car "I don't know how it's been driven ". If GM recommends I change the plugs at 100000 miles do I need to follow that ? At 100000 miles these items are worn out why wait ? It's a recommendation that for me is based on people who do minimal maintenance on their cars change the plugs , easy to do , and fluids for your piece of mind .
 

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well one of the things that GM didn't account for in the book was the oil getting into the intake system on the GXP's this does a number on the plugs and reduces the life of the plug. after 20K miles they don't look like they should when you take them out. there shouldn't be a black soot like coating on them.. but there is.

is a vehicles maintenance schedule the golden rule?? Nope. I bet if you read it it states something to the effect of that this is the "recommended" service interval and not the "required" service interval. and when things get changed in going to depend alot on the environment and also hot the car is driven.

The owners manual probably says 20 or 30K miles for the air cleaner. I live on a dirt road, think I am going to have to change it more often? I would say yes.. and I do clean it every 10K miles or so.
 

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IDK if the transmission on the automatics has a filter in it. If it does then every 45,000 miles is when I would be replacing the filter and also doing a 100% fluid change. In order to do a 100% fluid change 2 tee's need to be added onto the transmiision lines that go to the radiator, the internal pump in the transmission is what is used to pump the fluid out and at the same time it pumps the new fluid in. This is the only way to do a complete fluid change, draining it only replaces a reallly small amount of it.
 

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You make a good point that I always follow when I purchase a used car "I don't know how it's been driven ". If GM recommends I change the plugs at 100000 miles do I need to follow that ? At 100000 miles these items are worn out why wait ? It's a recommendation that for me is based on people who do minimal maintenance on their cars change the plugs , easy to do , and fluids for your piece of mind .
Yeah, I had a full inspection and oil change, brake fluid change and flush, and injectors cleaned right away. I’m going to change out the plugs as soon as I have a good sunny day here in Seattle. I’ll have auto trans and differential fluids changed out next. I’m on a budget so I have to spread the work out.
 

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The plugs and coils on this car so very easily accessible. No reason to not keep them fresh.
In general, the Kappa engine bay is quite straight forward to work on. The reverse clamshell really opens up access way better than the regular hood opening.
 

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I'm with kgschlosser. I have never let spark plugs go 100K miles on any vehicle. I tried it once and changed them at 80K when the Mercury Sable Station Wagon was beginning to start after several revolutions instead of first click. But my 4 cylinder Tacoma I changed at 68K mules and it didn't make much difference. I still do it at 50K miles if I can. $200 is a good price for that job if it is done properly.
The question is: do you trust someone else to set the Gaps as precisely as you would? I know for sure some of them simply take them out of the box and slap them in there, never checking once for proper gap.
Also, in my view, anti-sieze is not a good idea. I never used it but I do not live near the ocean. I dont understand why people think they need it, except for slick advertising. They'll sell you anything if you'll buy it.
 
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