In need of a spark plug replacement and planning to visit the local Autozone to get the work done? Then, you have come to the right place. Today, we will answer give a comprehensive answer to the question, “Does Autozone replace spark plugs?”
Spark plugs play an important role inside your vehicle’s internal combustion engine. In addition to finding out whether Autozone changes spark plugs, we’ll also explore some common spark plug issues.
To put things bluntly, Autozone won’t replace your spark plugs. But that shouldn’t prevent you from getting the plugs swapped out at the scheduled intervals for the best engine performance.
History of AutoZone
If you know anything about cars, you already know what Autozone is. But, in case you have been living under a rock, let us give you a brief introduction.
Autozone Inc. was first established in 1979 in a small town called Forrest City, Arkansas. Initially, the store was called “Auto Shack” and was a division of Malone & Hyde, Inc. The company changed to its current name 8 years later in 1987. This was also the year when they introduced the world’s first electronic auto parts catalog.
The company went through rapid changes during the years that followed, booming into the giant we all know and love today. They revealed their website – AutoZone.com to the world in 1996 and made it to Fortune 500 list three years down the line.
Nowadays, AutoZone is a household name in the automotive world and has more than 6,700 locations across several countries, including the United States, Brazil, and Mexico.
Next up, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what spark plugs are and what they accomplish.
“Small but mighty” is one of the simplest and best ways to describe your engine’s spark plugs. But why are they so important?
For an engine to produce power through internal combustion, it needs three basic ingredients – fuel, oxygen, and an ignition source. As you might have guessed, spark plugs play the latter role.
As the air-fuel mixture enters the combustion chamber, the spark plugs are responsible for igniting it, creating the burst of energy which drives the pistons, turns the crankshaft, and drives your vehicle forward. Spark plugs create this powerful spark by sending a powerful arc of electricity through its two leads. These plugs are an essential part of the ignition system, which also includes the timing mechanism and other electrical components.
You can find different types of spark plugs on the market. Some of the most popular varieties include copper plugs, platinum plugs, and iridium ones.
Spark Plug Replacement at AutoZone
As you now understand the importance of spark plugs, you might be interested in driving to the nearest AutoZone and having them replaced. However, this raises the question, “Does AutoZone replace spark plugs?”
Unlike Walmart, which will happily replace your spark plugs at their Auto Care Center, AutoZone refuses to do this repair for their customers. AutoZone does not provide any mechanical services at their locations.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy spark plugs at AutoZone. They sell spark plugs for all vehicle varieties, with the average costs varying depending on the type of plug.
The cheapest spark plugs you can buy at AutoZone are made of copper, with the average cost often falling below $4. The more conductive and durable platinum spark plugs will run you $6 per plug.
For those of you who are after more dependable spark plugs, have a look at ones made out of iridium. These plugs usually cost anywhere between $8 – $30. Ruthenium spark plugs are the longest-lasting variety available for sale at AutoZone, but they are the most expensive too. A plug of this variety costs $15 to $209.
In addition to selling the spark plugs you desire, AutoZone employees will also offer you advice on how to replace the spark plugs, and their website offers valuable resources on everything you need to know about different mechanical repairs.
At the end of the day, if you were planning to purchase spark plugs from AutoZone, you’ll have to either replace them yourself or pay a mechanic to do the job for you.
How To Replace Spark Plugs?
If you are planning to tackle the spark plug replacement challenge by yourself, here is everything you need to know.
Before changing the spark plugs, it is important to take some safety measures. Park your vehicle on a flat and dry surface, and turn off the engine. Make sure to let the engine cool off before attempting the spark plug replacement. It is a good idea to disconnect the negative battery terminal at this stage too.
Depending on the age of your vehicle, it might have a coil-on-plug design or spark plug wires. Coil-on-plug is the more modern technology of the two, where each spark plug comes with an individual ignition coil. Older vehicles employ spark plug wires to carry electricity from the ignition to the plugs. In any case, you have to carefully remove these components to gain access to each spark plug. Make sure to keep track of them after removal to avoid unnecessary parts costs.
Now, you can move on to removing the spark plugs individually. You’ll need a spark plug socket to unscrew the plugs from the engine. Apply moderate pressure, as too much force can damage the plugs and cause debris to fall inside.
After removing all the old spark plugs, you can move on to installing the new ones. Simply thread the plugs into each hall until finger-tight, and give them another half-turn using the socket. Be careful not to cross-thread the plugs when installing. Finally, reinstall the coil-on-plug connectors/ spark plug wires and the battery.
Congratulations! You have just replaced the spark plugs on your own.
Most Common Bad Spark Plug Symptoms
As we have already covered many important aspects related to spark plugs, it might interest you to learn the most common symptoms which indicate that they have gone bad.
- Bad Fuel Economy
- Engine Misfires
- Startup Issues
- Rough Engine Idle
- Check Engine Light
Let us go through each of these symptoms to learn more about them.
Bad Fuel Economy
When the spark plugs go bad, the engine won’t run as efficiently as it previously did. In return, you’ll find yourself making frequent visits to the local gas station. If your car has taken a sudden dip in fuel economy, it might be the time for a spark plug replacement.
Engine misfires are another tell-tale sign which indicates your spark plugs have gone bad. Bad plugs won’t create an adequate “spark” to fully ignite the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. This leads to a whole host of issues, including engine hesitation, poor acceleration, and misfires.
Having trouble firing up the engine? If so, your spark plugs might be on their way out. As you already know, the proper functionality of the spark plugs is essential for getting the internal combustion process underway. And if the plugs are bad, your car might not start at all!
Rough Engine Idle
Rough engine idling is never a good sign, and bad spark plugs are one of the most common culprits behind it. In addition, you might also start feeling bad vibrations while driving down the highway.
Check Engine Light
Bad spark plugs affect several major systems on your vehicle. This can trigger various error codes, causing the “check engine” light on the dashboard to illuminate. In this case, plugging in an OBD 2 scanner will help you pinpoint the source of the issue.
Preventative Maintenance Tips To Make Spark Plugs Last Longer
Want to make your spark plugs last as long as they possibly can? If so, here are some tips you should follow.
- Clean the Electrodes
- Apply Antiseize to the Threads
- Maintain a Balanced Spark Gap
Clean the Electrodes
When cleaning spark plugs, make sure to give the electrodes some love. Use a cleaning solution like a carburetor cleaner and a nylon brush to remove all dust and residue that has accumulated on the electrode.
Apply Anti-seize to the Threads
When installing new spark plugs, coat the threads with some anti-seize compound. Doing so will make removing the plugs much easier when the time comes to replace them. Just be careful to make sure that the anti-seize compound does not get on the spark plug electrodes.
Maintain a Balanced Spark Gap
The spark gap refers to the space between the two electrodes of the plug. A gap that is too wide may lead to engine misfires. On the other hand, too short of a gap may weaken the plug. You can find the ideal spark plug gap by referring to the owner’s manual.
Although AutoZone won’t replace spark plugs, that shouldn’t prevent you from swapping them out according to the service schedule. In addition, don’t forget to follow the aforementioned maintenance tips to extract the maximum service life out of your spark plugs.