Engine issues are difficult to fix and diagnose, but the whole process is even harder when the component you need to replace gets stuck.
As you don’t want to destroy the engine when you remove a stuck spark plug, can you remove them with WD-40 or PB Blaster?
PB Blaster is one of the most effective substances to remove stuck spark plugs as it is penetrating oil. WD-40 is a general-purpose lubricant and so is better suited to cleaning spark plugs.
I’ll explain how PB Blaster works and how you can use it to remove that stubborn spark plug in your motorcycle, lawnmower, or car. I’ll also take you through how to clean the spark plugs so that they function as good as new.
What Is Penetrating Oil?
Penetrating oils, also known as penetrating fluids, are a type of oil with low viscosity that are primarily used to make nuts and bolts easy to remove. This low viscosity helps them penetrate into the smallest gaps and spaces.
A notable example of such oil penetrating products is the PB Blaster which can be found on Amazon. This product has been a number one bestseller for decades for a reason.
PB B’laster will get between even the smallest gaps of a rusted or stuck spark plug. However take note that due to its surface tension and product makeup, it is volatile and will evaporate quite quickly.
Why Do Spark Plugs Get Stuck?
Given the pressures and battering that an engine has to put up with, it’s not surprising that certain parts need to be replaced. Spark plugs are a common component that can fail and need new ones put in their place.
However given their proximity to heat and pressure, spark plugs often get stuck. Trying with force to remove stuck spark plugs will often just result in shearing off the threads, meaning your new spark plugs will not be able to be installed.
Not only can this make an engine unusable, but fixing it will be a major repair. You will find yourself with a repair bill that will go into the thousands. On top of that, the damage may be such that the engine may be unfixable, requiring a whole new engine.
- The fundamental issue with a stuck spark plug will be that rust or corrosion has fused the old plug.
Getting lubrication into the problem area to allow you to extract the spark plug properly cannot be done particularly easily given the confined space.
However certain products called penetrating oil will likely do the trick. Most lubricants will do wonders in getting rusted bolts and nuts to begin to work again but not all have the penetrating power needed for removing a rusted spark plug.
How To Remove A Stubborn Spark Plug
First, you will want to make sure the area around the spark plug is clear. Even small amounts of debris can fall into the hole, gumming up the threads and causing even more issues with getting the spark plug out.
Then you will want to spray a large amount of PB B’laster around the spark plug. The goal is to give the penetrating oil as much opportunity to get into the nooks and crannies so that it can get to the area where it needs to do work.
To let this process occur, you should leave it to sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Really stubborn spark plugs may benefit from even longer periods.
After this time has elapsed, do your best to loosen the spark plug. The idea is that you’re trying to allow the lubricant to get in between the threads, so if you can’t loosen the spark plug, try and tighten it. This will still allow the threads to turn and get lubricant in them.
If it’s really rusted in there, a few turns will likely result in again meeting solid resistance. You can add more lubricant and wait again before attempting to tighten or loosen it.
You may even find yourself going backward and forwards by tightening and loosening the spark plug and adding PB Blaster occasionally, but your end goal is to try and get as much lubricant in the area as possible.
If the oil does its job and you get the spark plug out, next you have to prepare the cylinder for the next spark plug. You should clean up as much of the penetrating oil as possible using a dry rag.
After that, certain automotive products can be used to remove the remaining oil on the threads. Some mechanics tend to use products like brake cleaner to do this the best.
How To Clean Spark Plugs
Once you have removed the spark plug, it is important to inspect it for any signs of damage. Excessive carbon buildup or blackness on the tip of the spark plug likely means too much fuel is making the mixture too rich.
However, if the spark plug looks burnt, this can mean that instead of too much fuel, it is likely running too lean so you should look to adjust the air intake or increase the fuel supply.
Once this issue is sorted, the next step is to clean the spark plug. You have several options of products that work well, but brake cleaner is one of the best options. The other usual substances include gasoline, WD-40, carburetor cleaner, Seafoam, or alcohol.
Use these products to wet the surface and then use a brush, sandpaper, or a wire brush to clean off the metal surface near the electrodes. Once clean, dry the spark plug and cylinder using compressed air.