Johnny is a longtime online writer and car enthusiast who has expertise in fixing car problems.
This guide is specific to 2004-2006 model year Toyota Tundra V8 engines, but it can also serve as a general guide to how to change spark plugs in most vehicles. The tips, tricks, and pitfalls to avoid apply to just about any vehicle. I've tried to make this as basic as possible, so that someone who has never changed spark plugs can use it as a guide.
Changing your spark plugs is something that can easily be done on a Tundra with minimal tools necessary and should save you quite a bit of money over a shop or dealer install. It should only take about an hour or less, depending on how fast you work.
Service Interval And Plugs
The 2004 and earlier Tundras typically use a standard tip spark plug that has a 30,000 mile life span [lookup owners manual type recommendation].
The 2005 and forward models typically use an iridium tip plug that has a service interval of 100,000 miles. I replaced the original OE "regular" plugs on my 2004 Tundra with nicer iridium plugs since it's relatively inexpensive upgrade over the normal non-iridium spark plugs (8 plugs costs less that a tank of gas).
Change spark plugs ONLY when your engine is completely cool
- The threads in the cylinder heads expand and contract at different rates from those on the spark plugs. This can cause problems extracting/inserting the plugs.
Always use a small bit of anti-seize on the threads of the spark plugs
- This will help to avoid the plugs ever becoming fused in the cylinder heads.
When inserting spark plugs, thread them in by hand
- (or by hand with a ratchet extension bar) Tighten carefully according the spec from the spark plug manufacturer or your engine spec. Do NOT use an air ratchet or other automatic tool.
Make sure no dirt falls into your cylinders through the spark plug hole
- When removing the old spark plugs, be careful not to let any loose dirt or debris fall into the holes once the spark plug is removed.
Typically all you will need is a 3/8" drive ratchet, a 5" ratchet extension bar, a 10mm socket, and a 5/8 inch spark plug socket. See the photos at right for more details.
Since a picture is worth 1000 words, just follow along with the photos and captions at right. The process is the same for each cylinder, but essentially the process is:
- Check and adjust the gap on your new spark plugs
- Apply a small amount of anti-seize to the threads (only) of the new plugs.
- Use the 10mm socket to remove the hex nut from the spark plug coil and remove the coil.
- Using the ratchet, extension bar, and 5/8" spark plug socket turn the spark plug to the left to loosen and remove the old spark plug (again take care to clean any dirt that might fall into the cylinder head BEFORE doing this).
- Insert the new plug tightly into the 5/8" socket so that it will not fall out, insert the plug back into the cylinder head thread using only the extension bar and hand tighten.
- Once hand tight, use the ratchet to to about 1/2 turn further or 13 ft lbs of torque if using a torque wrench to fully tighten the spark plug.
- Re-insert the ignition coil and tighten the 10mm hex bolt securely.
- Repeat for each cylinder until finished!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.