Spark plugs, themselves, can cost anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on the make and model of your car. Mechanics and auto shops will typically charge anywhere from $115 to $200 for a professional spark plug replacement.
The average spark plug replacement entails about four to eight total plugs –thus, the higher replacement cost. The labor time for such a job can be up to two hours, once again depending on the make and model of your car.
What Are Spark Plugs, and Why Do I Need To Replace Them?
Spark plugs supply the ignition source inside the piston of a gas-powered car. The spark happens up to thousands of times per minute. The tip of the spark plug is inside the cylinder of the car, and it is exposed to incredible forces that want to pit and degrade the business end.
Iridium and other exotic materials are now used to create the tips of the plugs so that they can last much, much longer than older spark plugs.
Despite the longevity of modern plugs, they do eventually need to be replaced because they suffer degradation in normal use.
Spark Plug Replacement Cost
On average, a spark plug replacement at a mechanic will cost between $115 and $200. The replacement cost includes both the price of the parts and the mechanic’s hourly rate. The mechanic will read the spark plugs, obtain replacement parts, and then remove and replace the plugs.
- Cost of parts: Spark plugs cost between $5 and $20 each, depending on the type of plug needed. Since you need as many plugs as there are cylinders in your engine, that means you’re looking at four to eight plugs, or anywhere between $20 and $160.
- Cost of labor: This is not a particularly labored procedure, so expect to pay for one or two hours of labor at approximately $30 per hour. Note that labor costs change dramatically from one zip code to the next.
There are two components to spark plug replacement cost: parts and labor. Spark plugs vary depending on the vehicle, but more so on the type of technology, they use for the center electrode’s core.
Here are the different types and a range of prices for each:
- Copper spark plugs are the most common and cost-effective with the majority under $4 per spark plug.
- Platinum spark plugs are more conductive, and most options are under $6 each.
- Double Platinum spark plugs use platinum for both the center and ground electrodes. They’re more expensive, ranging from around $5 to $20 per spark plug.
- Iridium provides a more dependable spark, and the price ranges from about $8 to $30 each.
- Double Iridium requires less energy, and they’re a good price point at around $8 to $15 each.
- Ruthenium spark plugs are longer lasting and burn more completely, and command around $15 to $209 each.
Related Posts: 7 Symptoms Of Bad Spark Plugs and How To Read It!
How Often Do I Need To Change My Spark Plugs?
In the past, experts recommended changing spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so. With today’s extended-life spark plugs, life expectancy can go as high as 100,000 miles.
Checking and replacing the spark plugs is usually part of your vehicle’s routine service interval. Rarely do you need to make an appointment just for the spark plugs.
Consult your Owner’s Manual for more details.
Should I Replace all Spark Plugs?
Ideally, yes. A spark plug replacement is done to ensure that worn spark plugs do not cause an engine misfire or problems with ignition coil packs. Even the power steering can be affected by power loss due to spark plug issues.
Regardless of type — whether copper, iridium, or platinum spark plugs, if you replace one failing spark plug at a time, each spark plug will end up on different replacement cycles. As a result, you’ll spend more time and effort changing spark plugs whenever you encounter a problem.
Another reason why spark plugs need to be replaced as a set is that you need your car’s spark plugs to be on parallel levels of performance.
For example, if you have a faulty spark plug in two out of your four-cylinder engine while the others are relatively new, it will put the car’s engine out of sync.
Note: Other parts, like the ignition coil, can also cause car troubles that might look like a spark plug issue. So, it’s best to get your car checked out by a professional before you replace your spark plugs.
Do I Need to Replace the Spark Plug Wire too?
Usually, yes. Spark plug wires often get chipped or cracked with regular engine wear and tear.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your spark plug wire every time you change a faulty spark plug. Failing spark plug wires are obviously more prone to damage and wear.
It’s also a good idea to have your fuel filter, oxygen sensor, coil pack, etc. replaced around the same time. An old air filter can foul your new spark plug, cause a rough idle or engine misfire, affect fuel efficiency, and may trigger the check engine light.
Applying dielectric grease on spark plug threads helps prevent the plug from getting stuck to the boot when removing them next time. Make sure to keep the dielectric grease off any metal terminals, as it’s an insulator.
Note: A spark plug socket with a torque wrench is useful while handling a new spark plug. Along with dielectric grease, a spark plug socket can help appropriately install the new plug or remove an old spark plug.