How tight should spark plugs be?

Changing the spark plugs in your car’s engine is a frequent task that car owners have to perform. There are several parts and instructions involved that can make installation of the spark plugs confusing, so it’s important to learn how tight the spark plugs should be when installing them.

The tighter you keep your spark plug in place, the better it will serve you and your car for a long time and prevent problems from arising when they’re still brand new.

In general, the correct tightness of a spark plug is when there is just enough space left to insert a thin knife blade between the spark plug and the head of the engine. This way, you can be sure that the spark plug is not too tight or too loose in its place but just as it should be.

There are several reasons why you do not want to keep your spark plugs too tight or too loose:

If done incorrectly and your spark plugs are either too loose or too tight, the oil may leak into your spark plug tube. Leaked oil can create heat and cause a fire while driving that can damage other parts of your car’s engine.

Spark plug torque is also important to avoid pinging and knocking sounds. Some parts in your car are connected with a push-rod system, and these cylinders may be damaged if you apply excessive force while pulling them out with a spark plug wrench.

This will also can impact the engine’s lubrication system and create problems for you. So, besides knowing how tight the spark plugs should be, know that your car has a certain process of changing spark plugs as well.

Every serious spark plugs manufacturer has a drawing on the package that shows with what force to tighten the installed plugs, as well as in the absence of a torque wrench, the drawing and text shows what angle the spark plug should be pulled, from the moment of twisting with your hands without effort.

If there is no torque wrench, the manufacturers also help us with advice and a picture on the box. Almost every plug maker, especially NGK, Denso and Bosch has it with some exception of course, just look around the package, you should find it.

The spark plug tubes are clean and clear, but you should always check them for leakage. If they are too tight in their place or are leaking oil in your engine, this will mean that they have to be changed soon. If there is a problem with the tubes it will also cause problems with other components of your car’s engine such as pistons as mentioned above.

What is the proper torque for spark plugs?

The proper torque for spark plugs is 3.9 to 4.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is the proper installation torque for all types of spark plugs, including copper and traditional platinum.

Can the spark plugs be overtighten?

It is never okay to overtighten the spark plugs, as this could cause valves to bend and even break. The biggest problem with overtightening a spark plug is that it can bend or break the valves in your engine.

If one of them is bent or broken, it will change the way your engine performs and can lead to major expenses if not treated correctly. It can also cause carbon deposits to build on the pistons and/or valves, making your car run worse over time.

What happens if spark plugs are not tight enough?

If your spark plugs are too loose the spark plugs may vibrate against the head of your engine. This will also cause problems when driving to the point where you cannot accelerate or slow down correctly since there is a risk of breaking your engine’s pistons. So, a correct tightness of the spark plugs plays an important role in the proper engine functioning

How much should the spark plug gap be?

The correct gap for your car’s spark plugs should be between 0.040 and 0.045 inches; anything else can cause misfiring from low or high rpm functioning at best and destroying your engine at worst. When installing new plugs into a pre-existing hole, you need to measure it with a wire gauge before placing them into the cylinder head of the engine.

How do I know if my spark plugs are too tight?

In addition to the spark plug failing early on, the symptoms of a spark plug being over-torqued are hard Starting, low RPMs, or random misfires.

What is the proper torque for spark plugs?

The proper torque for spark plugs is 3.9 to 4.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is the proper installation torque for all types of spark plugs, including copper and traditional platinum.

Can you tighten a spark plug without using a torque wrench?

Even if some manufacturers have recommendations if torquing without using a torque wrench, you can not tighten a spark plug without this tool, as there is an adjustment bushing in most engines that will keep the shims from slipping and not allowing you to overtighten. This will cause the spark plugs to be torqued too much and cause damage to your engine.

Conclusion

A properly tightened spark plug is an essential step for your engine’s longevity. It is not necessary to screw in the plug “all the way”, as this damages the fragile structure of the thread, not only the plug itself, but also the groove in the engine, and this is already fraught with serious consequences. It doesn’t take much experience or reading volumes of technical literature to learn how to tighten spark plugs. The main thing is to be careful, and also to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Perhaps the most significant feature of a spark plug for a different number of valves is the material that the manufacturer use. For example, spark plugs for an 8 valve engine are made mostly from common materials such as copper, while spark plugs for 16v ones are made from platinum and iridium. Here, the plugs require a smaller wrench to remove them. 

Spark plug wrench recommendations

Scroll to Top