Sooner or later the spark plugs in your Honda CR-V are going to need to be replaced. And if you've been wondering which spark plugs to buy or how often to replace them or even if you can do it yourself, then this is the article for you.
The cool thing about the 1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V is that the spark plugs are very accessible. And the fact that you don't need a bunch of expensive tools to replace them makes the job a breeze for the DIY'er.
Contents of this tutorial at a glance:
What Does A Spark Plug Do?
The engine cylinders, in your Honda CR-V, need three things to create power. These are: air, fuel, and spark.
And as you've already guessed, it's the humble spark plug that provides the spark that lights the air-fuel mixture inside the cylinder.
What wears out the spark plug is the spark that jumps from its central electrode to its Ground electrode.
Of course it takes many miles and many years for this to happen but it will happen.
Symptoms Of Worn Out Spark Plugs
Since the spark plugs are a key component of your Honda CR-V's engine operation, the engine is going to feel it when they wear out or the air gap (between the center and side electrode) closes due to carbon buildup.
You're going to see one or several of the following symptoms:
- Rough engine idle.
- Misfire problems and misfire trouble codes ( P0300, P0301, p0302, p0303, P0304).
- Your Honda CR-V's engine pollutes more.
- Hesitation under load (like when you accelerate the vehicle on the road).
- Bad fuel mileage.
What Causes A Spark Plugs To Stop Working?
As mentioned previously, one of the things that's going to wear out the spark plug is the job it's designed to do (have spark jump from its central electrode to its Ground electrode).
But that's not the only thing that will cause a spark plug to stop functioning.
Another thing that will cause the spark plug's performance to degrade is carbon buildup on its central electrode.
Over many miles, this carbon buildup will accumulate to the point that it'll block the air gap between the center and Ground electrodes. The end result is a spark plug that cannot spark.
The major source of this carbon buildup is engine oil being burned in the cylinder especially in high-mileage engines that are consuming oil on a weekly basis.
Which Spark Plugs Should I Buy?
There are so many different brands of spark plugs and each makes a spark plug that will fit and work on your 2.0L Honda CR-V.
So you might be asking: which spark plugs should I buy? Do they all work the same? Should I buy the expensive ones?
The answer is that most if not all spark plug brands will work on your Honda CR-V since they are all designed to spark and light the air/fuel mixture inside the cylinder. But the factor you should consider, when buying your next set of spark plugs, is if your Honda CR-V's engine is burning oil.
Because if it is, then it doesn't make sense to buy the most expensive spark plugs. Whatever superior performance those spark plugs might have will be nullified by the carbon buildup they'll start to accumulate as soon as you start the engine.
So if your Honda CR-V engine is burning oil, you're going to have to replace the spark plugs at shorter intervals. In this case, using the most inexpensive spark plug is probably the way to go.
If your Honda CR-V engine is not burning oil, then the best spark plug to use is the original equipment spark plugs.
The two brands that are considered original equipment are NGK spark plugs and Denso spark plugs.
Should I Buy 100,000 Mile Spark Plugs
The spark plugs that are designed to last 100,000 miles are the platinum tipped or iridium tipped spark plugs.
These spark plugs can really last 100,000 miles without needing to be changed but they'll only last that long if the engine is new or not burning oil at all.
What causes the spark plugs to be changed at shorter intervals, is not the fact that the engine is worn but that it's burning oil.
So if your engine is burning oil, the oil is going to cause the gap between the electrode and the tip to close due to carbon buildup. And once this happens the spark plug will stop sparking and the end result will be a misfiring cylinder.
Important Suggestions And Tips
Replacing the spark plugs is something that you can do yourself. What makes the job easy, even for a beginner, is the fact that they are very easy to get to. Not only that, you don't need a bunch of expensive tools to do it. And you can find a written or a video tutorial on how to do it online.
If you do plan to replace the spark plugs yourself, here are a few important suggestions and tips:
TIP 1: Replace the spark plugs with a cold engine. If the engine has been running for any length of time, you can cool it down by placing a box fan on top of it.
The spark plugs are threaded into spark plug holes in the aluminum head (which is made of aluminum). If the engine is hot, the cylinder head will be hot too and this increases the risk of stripping the spark plug holes (if the spark plugs are removed with the engine hot).
Stripping the spark plug holes is a very common problem that can be easily avoided by removing and replacing the spark plugs with a cold engine.
TIP 2: Check the spark plug gap with a spark plug gapper before installing the spark plugs.
Some spark plugs come with a notice on their packaging that they are already pre-gapped. It's still a good idea to check the gap just to make sure the gap hasn't closed.
I have diagnosed and resolved quite a few misfire problems that were caused by a pre-gapped spark plug that had its air-gap closed.
If you have pre-gapped spark plugs, my recommendation to you is to check the air gap very gently and carefully with a spark plug gapper just to make sure it is as advertised.
On the multi-electrode spark plugs, like the Bosch Plantinum+4 spark plugs (these have 4 side electrodes), you do not need to check the air gap.
TIP 3: Use a torque wrench to tighten the spark plugs. Using a torque wrench is very important.
If the spark plugs are not tightened enough, they will work themselves out and possibly damage the threads in the spark plug holes.
If you over tighten the spark plugs, you run the risk of stripping the threads in the spark plug holes of the cylinder head.
The way to avoid causing any kind of damage to the spark plug holes in the cylinder head is by torquing the spark plugs to the spark plug torque specification.
The spark plug torque specification for the 1997 through 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V is 13 ft.lbs.
More 2.0L Honda CR-V Tutorials
You can find a complete list of tutorials here: Honda 2.0L Index of Articles.
Here's a sample of the tutorials you'll find there:
- How To Test For A Blown Head Gasket (1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V).
- How To Test The Ignition Coil (1999-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V).
- How To Test The TPS (1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V).
- How To Test The MAP Sensor (1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V).
- How To Test Engine Compression (1997-2001 2.0L Honda).