Spark plugs are what ignite the fuel in your engine to power your vehicle and get it moving. When your car won’t start, faulty spark plugs could be the problem.
Many vehicles will need the spark plugs replaced at some point, so it’s helpful to know how much they should cost.
Spark plugs may cost as little as $10 or as much as $25 each. The number of cylinders in your engine will determine how many spark plugs you need, plus some vehicles have two spark plugs per cylinder.
You should expect to pay between $50 and $250 to replace all your spark plugs.
Cost to Replace Spark Plugs
Replacing your spark plugs is not a major repair, and many people can do the work themselves for under $50. However, not everyone has the experience needed to work under the hood, so you may be wondering how much it will cost to have someone else replace the spark plugs for you.
The price for replacing spark plugs may vary depending on the type of vehicle, how many spark plugs you need, and where you have the work done.
For example, taking your car to a dealership will typically cost more than taking it to an independent local mechanic.
Estimated Cost to Replace Spark Plugs
Replacing the spark plugs is one of the easiest repairs that your vehicle will need, so you shouldn’t expect to pay a large amount for that repair alone.
It’s a good idea to have your spark plugs checked whenever you take your car in for a tune-up or oil change so that you can have them changed out before they go bad.
The bulk of the cost to replace spark plugs (unless you do it yourself) can be attributed to labor costs. That’s because the spark plugs themselves are quite inexpensive.
Wherever you take your car for service, the mechanic shouldn’t charge you for more than one hour of labor because changing the spark plugs is a very quick and simple task.
You should expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $150 for the labor to have your spark plugs changed. This cost will depend on the shop’s hourly rate.
Many shops charge around $85 per hour, so it will often be around $80-$85 or less for labor.
Let’s look at a cost comparison for some different garages and auto service shops.
Cost Comparison for Spark Plug Replacement
|Midas||$85 - $250|
|Mr. Tire||$55 - $275|
|Your Mechanic||$65 - $190|
|Dealership||$125 - $300|
When to Change Your Spark Plugs
Spark plugs in modern vehicles last much longer than those in older vehicles. At one time, people had to change theirs every 30k to 50k miles.
Now, spark plugs may last anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your vehicle. You should check your owner’s manual and follow your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications to know when to expect to change your spark plugs.
Some brands of spark plugs are designed to last even longer, and under ideal engine conditions may last for up to 120,000 miles.
Even before your spark plugs fail completely, when they start to get worn out they can impact your vehicle’s performance. For example, you may have poorer fuel efficiency.
The spark plug’s lifespan can be impacted by various factors including what material the electrodes are made of, the thread contact and insulator nose lengths, and the projection of the electrode.
Spark Plugs Intended Life Expectancy
|Mercedes Benz||100,000 miles|
|Mini Cooper||24,000 miles|
|Honda CRV||30,000 miles|
|Toyota Camry||100,000 miles|
|Toyota Prius||120,000 miles|
Some vehicles may have specific issues related to spark plugs, such as 2004-2008 Ford trucks with 5.4L V8 and 6.8L V10 engines, as well as a few Ford Mustangs.
These vehicles come stock with spark plugs that are welded with two pieces that can break off and leave the electrode tip in the head, sometimes resulting in expensive repairs.
In cases such as this, it may be recommended to change the spark plugs before their recommended life expectancy and replace them with some aftermarket plugs that are one-piece to prevent this problem.
Sample Costs to Replace Spark Plugs
|Ford Fusion||$110 - $155|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$170 - $240|
|Toyota Camry||$95 - $135|
|Ford F-Series||$110 - $155|
|Nissan Altima||$110 - $155|
|Honda Civic||$85 - $125|
|Toyota Corolla||$95 - $135|
|Ford Focus||$110 - $155|
|Honda Accord||$85 - $125|
One of the main factors that impacts the life expectancy of your spark plugs is what kind of materials they’re made of. There are many different types and brands of spark plugs, and some are better suited to withstand longer use and harsher conditions than others.
Types of Spark Plugs
- Copper Spark Plugs: Copper is not an ideal material to make spark plugs, and these are not as good as some of the other types. Their lifespan is among the shortest, typically lasting for only 10,000 – 20,000 miles.
- Iridium Spark Plugs: These are designed to be a good quality, long-lasting auto part. As long as they’re not exposed to too much oil and spend an excessive amount of time idling, these should last for 100,000 miles or more.
- Denso Iridium Spark Plugs: One of these has an iridium center electrode and a nickel center for the ground electrode. These spark plugs last longer than copper, but they’re not usually as durable as iridium. Usually, the ground electrode wears out before the other. These spark plugs will typically last for 60,000 – 80,000 miles.
- Platinum Spark Plugs: These are comparable to iridium spark plugs. They have a long lifespan and will last for around 100,000 miles as long as they’re not exposed to abusive conditions.
- NGK G Power Spark Plugs: This brand and type of spark plug has an iridium electrode center and a nickel construction for the ground electrode, just like the denso iridium spark plugs. These typically last for 40,000 – 50,000 miles.
- NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs: This brand and type of spark plug has a platinum ground electrode and a center iridium electrode. It will last longer than the other NGK spark plug, typically for 80,000 – 100,000 miles.
- E3 Spark Plugs: E3 spark plugs are a well known brand that have a unique ground electrode that has a direct impact on the air/fuel mixture. These are durable plugs with a lifespan of around 100,000 miles.
It’s helpful to know that when you replace your vehicle’s spark plugs, they don’t have to be the same brand as the original manufacturer’s equipment. Any brand is fine as long as the fit and heat range is correct.
The replacement plugs should typically be the same type and material, whether platinum or iridium, so that you’ll get the same continued life expectancy from the replacements.
If you don’t replace your spark plugs when you should can result in avoidable damage and costly repairs. Your engine performance may suffer as well as your gas mileage, all of which can cost you money.
Ignoring a failing spark plug could lead to having to repair an ignition coil, which typically costs around $400. Even worse, replacing your catalytic converter usually costs well over $1,000.
Changing Your Own Spark Plugs
If you can change your own spark plugs, you can definitely save some money versus paying a mechanic to do the work for you. While you’re at it, you can also change the spark plug wires which is an even easier repair.
If you do the work yourself, you’ll only have to pay for the parts, which are quite inexpensive. Of course, the prices can vary based on where you buy them from and what type you need.
You should expect to spend anywhere from $15 to $165 on parts to replace your spark plugs.
You can usually get a better price at a chain retailer like Pep Boys, Advance Auto Parts, or Walmart versus ordering them from the dealership.
For example, some of the top selling plugs from Advance Auto Parts cost $8.79 each, which is a much better deal than spending well over $100 on parts and labor at a garage.
To change your spark plug wires, you may spend anywhere from $75 to $150, depending on the type of vehicle and the brand of wires.
However, to have this work done at a garage may run you anywhere from $175 to $250, so it’s a significant price difference.
The Bottom Line
Replacing spark plugs is one of the most affordable car repairs you’ll need to do. Most people will need to change them at some point as long as they keep the same vehicle for several years.
To do the work yourself will cost under $100 and it’s not a difficult job, but you can also just add the service on to your next tune-up or oil change.
It’s important to keep up with regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure your vehicle is performing its best. Easy fixes like changing spark plugs can help to prevent damage and costly repairs later on.