I am installing new spark plugs in my 2013 Chevy Cruze and I dropped a spark plug in the well upside down. I tried to get it out with 8" needle noose pliers but it will not budge. Any help would be appreciated.

  • 3
    I, for one, would like to see your 8-foot needle nose pliers ;)
    – Hobbes
    Jan 11, 2017 at 8:16
  • 2
    I'd throw this plug out if you ever retrieve it.
    – cory
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:52
  • 1
    Just for spite? Or would you be concerned about damage?
    – dlu
    Jan 11, 2017 at 20:11
  • 2
    @dlu Damage. After dropping it and potentially cracking the ceramic, and picking it out with pliers or some other tool that may further damage it, yeah, it's probably a good idea to replace it. It's a couple bucks and cheap insurance.
    – cory
    Jan 12, 2017 at 14:02

7 Answers 7


I have a telescopic magnet which is invaluable for this very scenario. It even has a light built into the end of the magnet. I bought it because I saw it in the tool shop and it's gotten me out of a mess so many times that I can't even think how I coped without it.

  • 1
    This is the way forward. I use a telescopic magnet to get spark plugs out during normal removal as I've lost the rubber part from the spark plug socket.
    – DizzyFool
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:37
  • @DizzyFool They sell spark plug sockets with magnets in them semi-expensive but awesome.
    – Ben
    Jan 11, 2017 at 23:50
  • If it's too lodged in there to use a magnet, you can try fishing it out with some string or a zip tie. Loop the end of it and see if you can lasso the side electrode.
    – atraudes
    Jan 12, 2017 at 19:20

Have you got some rubber tube the correct internal diameter for the threads, that can be pushed onto the threads. You could even attach the other end of the tube to a vacuum cleaner to suck the spark plug in.


It may be, since the plug is upside down, the porcelain of the plug may be stuck in the threads of the spark plug hole. If this is the case and it is in there tight enough not want to budge, you may be able to knock it free using the piston by rotating the engine.

I'm going to assume the sparkplug hole is directly inline with the cylinder, directly over the top of the piston. By rotating the engine, the piston should come up far enough to gently touch the sparkplug which is sticking down in the hole. By moving the piston up into it, you'll knock it free of the threads, which should allow you to more easily grasp the plug with which ever method you use (take your pick from the other posts, as most are reasonable). This may also push the plug up far enough to more easily grasp the electrode end.

As @cory suggested, do not reuse this plug. There are too many ways it may no longer be serviceable, it doesn't make sense to even try it. Replace it with a brand new plug and know it's golden.


The first thing to do it to be sure that the well is wide enough to allow the pliers to open up enough to actually grip the plug, you may only be able to grab it by the electrode. You probably don't want to try to grab it by the outside of the threads because there may not be enough room for you to pull it up if you do that.

Assuming that you're grabbing it by the ground electrode a bit of gentle wiggling should be enough to get it to come free. There is nothing that should be catching the plug and holding it in (but double check that, I'm saying it doesn't seem like there is anything that should be trapping it, but if it seems like something might be trust that), so if it really won't come then it is time to rethink the strategy.

It could be that you're not able to open the pliers wide enough in the well to grab the electrode, if that is the case you might try getting a fine piece of wire and make a loop that you can use to snag the ground electrode.

  • 1
    "make a loop", how about a hook - welding rod is good for this...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 11, 2017 at 8:56
  • As @SolarMike said, but any stiff wire would work in this situation. Jan 11, 2017 at 17:15

I think one of the listed solutions should get the job done, but there's one thing I have not seen mentioned. Once the plug is out, examine the ceramic insulator carefully. If there are pieces missing, look for them in the well. If they are not there, they are likely inside the cylinder. To confirm that there are pieces in the cylinder you can use one of the scopes that let you see the inside of the cylinder. You may be able to borrow one from some parts stores, or buy one fairly inexpensively.

Just be careful you don't run the engine with bits of the ceramic in the cylinder. If it gets lodged in a valve or somewhere else inconvenient, you could cause really serious damage.


Use a length of wire folded in half with an eyelet on the folded end and hook it on the electrode and gently pull it out.


Amazon- “VASTOOLS Telescopic Magnetic Pickup Tool,5LB Magnet Stick,24” Extendable Magnet with Pocket Clip” It’s less than $10. Some of the stronger ones are too big to fit in the cylinder. Mine is a Craftsman rated for 3lbs and it works great for retrieving spark plugs.

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