I saved $145 by changing my own spark plugsAnyone who reads this blog knows that I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. I especially have no qualms when it comes to getting my hands dirty and saving money at the same time. While there are times when it’s better to hire a professional, I’m a guy who loves to DIY. Not only does it help me save money (most times), but it also provides me with knowledge about a particular subject. I love keeping money in my pocket and learning at the same time. Win-win baby!

Oh, the Car Dealer

Since my car is still under warranty, I take it to the dealer when things need to be repaired. They are always very nice to me, but they have some of the worst pricing models. I expect it though, they are a dealer! Anyway, I was there two weeks ago because I broke the end link on my sway bar. It actually broke off because I slammed into a pothole that could have eaten my entire car :).  Either way, after some driving and hearing the sway bar bouncing around, I decided to take it in. They found the issue pretty quickly, but also went over the car to tell me what “services” I needed done.

They already know not to sell me on the filter change, as I did that myself some time ago and saved a good amount of money.  That entire job took no time at all and it saved me $39 immediately. They came back with a list of services. One of them was to replace my spark plugs. I have 55,000 miles, so it’s time I get some new ones in there. Since they already had the car up on the lift, I figured I would inquire into the expense.  The service rep started saying “changing spark plugs only costs…

Then, he hit me with this doozy.

$188

Holy dealership ripoff batman! I hope he doesn’t talk to his mother with that mouth. How in the world does it cost nearly $200 to change spark plugs? I know I have a turbo model, but that doesn’t mean I have 30 plugs in there. I have four. I looked at the service guy with a befuddled stare and just asked “how can you charge $188 to change spark plugs?” He was nice and just said he doesn’t control the pricing. I understand that he doesn’t, but dang.

How in the world does it cost nearly $200 to change spark plugs? Click To Tweet

I laughed a little bit and kindly declined the spark plug change. I knew it was time to get my DIY on!

45 Minutes, Four Plugs, and Amazon Prime

After I left, I decided to find out the kind of plugs I need in my car. The manufacturer recommends these iridium tipped Denso plugs. They are a little more expensive than other plugs, but I didn’t mind. After looking at some local auto parts stores, I decided to jump on Amazon. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, I figured if I can find them, I could get them in two days. That’s exactly what I did. I found my spark plugs for only $8.60 a piece, all eligible for Amazon Prime.

For the plugs, I spent $34.14, but I also bought some anti-seize lubricant to put on the plugs before I installed them. It helps to make sure you can get the plugs back out later down the road. I paid $3.89 for that little tube that will last some time. I also bought some new feeler gauges to help me gap the plugs to the manufacturer specs.

Right before I went on vacation last week, I decided to take some time to put the plugs in. The dealer said it would take an hour to complete the job. Well, I was able to replace the plugs and fill up my fluids in 45 minutes. This also included some time it took me to recover a bolt I dropped into the engine compartment. Thank goodness for telescoping magnet pick up tools!

How it Feels to Save Money and Do it Yourself

Based on the prices I paid, I saved a little over $145 by doing this job myself. I don’t even know if sales tax was included in the dealers price, but I don’t think it was. That means I saved much more. I can say that I feel completely satisfied I was able to change my own spark plugs and save a ton of money while doing it. Many might feel a little overwhelmed by doing this, but it takes very little skill and a few tools. Seriously, you can watch videos about it online, probably for your specific vehicle. I’m rarely afraid to tackle a project on my own. I only have reservations and choose the pros when I don’t have the detailed knowledge or specific tools to complete the job. Luckily for me, I have a garage full of random tools. That’s what you get when you used to work on a rusting Jeep Wrangler!

Now, my car starts up with a nice purr and the turbo power seems to be running much better than before. I did notice my old spark plugs were starting to have issues and this fixed it nicely. I’m also getting a little better gas mileage than before, but I would say that’s a combination of new spark plugs and new tires. Either way, I’m happy with the savings, and will be putting that nice chunk into my Motif Investing account!

Have you saved some serious money with DIY lately?

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5 Comments

  1. I did this last month for my car too as it was one of recommended maintenance tasks coming up. I had to change the idle air control valve, and saw how it easy it was via a youtube video to also change the spark plugs.

    I think last time I just had the dealer do it and probably ended up being around $100 with parts and labor. My car actually works better with the cheap copper plugs so I think it cost $10 and about 30 minutes of work. Definitely worth it!

    1. Nice work, plus with the idle air control valve. Spark plugs are an easy change. If you can get away with the copper plugs than go right ahead. I was reading on some forums about my car before I did it and everyone recommended going with the dealer suggest plugs. I still saved a lot, so I’m happy!

  2. Nice savings! I did something similar last summer with my Camry. The air conditioner wasn’t blowing cool air and the AC button was flashing, I asked a buddy who had the same model Camry and he said the same thing happened to him and he paid $200 to get it fixed.

    I’m not a car guy at all but I figured it couldn’t hurt to do some research so I googled the problem and watched a YouTube video on how to fix it. All I had to do was pop the hood, open up the fuse box and replace a bad relay that cost about $12. It was literally as simple as plugging in the new relay and it saved me about $190. Plus, it gave me a great sense of satisfaction!

    1. Nice work Mike. I always will search first. You would be surprised on how many videos and information is out there about these problems. You can learn a lot on Youtube, as long as the people in the video are doing it right.

  3. It feels great, I know. DIY gives self-satisfaction and creates a sense of self-belief within us. You don’t need to be very competent in automotive to master these fundamentals. All you’ll need is the proper detailing of materials to make sure that you’ll achieve your wanted.