A guide to changing motorcycle spark plugs

Adventure 2 min read

Spark plugs are key to your bike’s overall performance. Changing them isn’t difficult, but you’ll need a few tools. Let’s look at how to replace the spark plugs on your motorcycle and when it’s necessary to keep your ride running smoothly. Inspecting your spark plugs should be part of your motorcycle maintenance checklist and road trip checklist if you are heading out for a long journey on the road.

When to change motorcycle spark plugs

According to FOD Sports, you should change motorcycle spark plugs every 8,000 to 10,000 miles. If you find your bike is riding rough or misfiring, it may be a symptom of a bad spark plug on your motorcycle, and you’ll want to inspect it.

How to change motorcycle spark plugs

The process to change a motorcycle spark plug is quick and simple, but it’s essential to maintaining your bike’s overall performance. Before you get started, make sure you have the correct tools. The tools you’ll need when changing motorcycle spark plugs include the motorcycle manual, spark plugs, socket wrench, and a spark plug gapper.

1. Remove the plug wires

The first thing you want to do on any motorcycle is remove the plug wires from the spark plugs. Depending on the model, your bike may have up to four spark plugs. The wire connects to your motorcycle’s coils and is easy to remove. On most bikes, you’ll pull up on the plug wire lightly to separate it from the spark plug.

2. Remove the plug

Next, you want to remove the plug. Insert a socket wrench over the spark plug and turn counterclockwise until the plug comes out.

3. Inspect the plug

Now inspect the plug to check the color and burn. You can learn a lot about your bike’s running condition by the plug’s color. If the plug is moist and dark in color, you could be running your bike too hard. What’s ideal is a plug that looks to have an even burn and resembles a toasted marshmallow. Look for an even, light tan/grey burn around the spark plug.

4. Install the new plug

Once you’ve inspected and discarded the plug, it’s time to replace it. First, check the gap of the plug with your gap tool. The best way to know the gap for your specific bike is to refer to the owner’s manual. To use the gap tool, insert the plug at the thinnest section of your spark plug and slide it up until you reach the desired gap.

5. Put it back together

The last step is to put everything back in its proper place in the reverse order you took it apart. A good rule of thumb when putting the plugs back in is to hand tighten them to avoid stripping the threads. Gently secure the plugs into the cylinder head with the socket wrench. Finally, put the plug wires back on, and you’re ready to go.

Learn more about how to protect your bike with motorcycle insurance.

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