4 spark plugs--three finally changed but one won't come out and is apparently stuck with a deposit of carbon. Has a service every year so not as though it is ignored. we don't want to change the car but can't afford a major problem with it as it's our workhorse as well. Mechanic has added something to petrol to see if it will help but nothing has---any suggestions please. Ford Focus Zetec Estate about six years old.Thanks


Buy a can of good quality penetrating fluid (not WD-40, which is designed as a lubricant). Spray plenty of it into the plug recess, and leave overnight. Repeat this two or three times.

Using a proper spark plug spanner (with the little rubber insert to grip the plug properly), try to rock the plug back and forth, tightening then loosening. Eventually, with a bit of luck, you'll get it to move slightly. Once it is moving, carefully work it out, continuing to work it back and forth - as it sticks, tighten it a bit then try again. You may find further applications of penetrating fluid help.

If you're lucky, you'll get it out without breaking it or damaging the threads on the cylinder head - if you do damage them, you should be able to get it helicoiled (effectively inserting a new thread) in order to fit the new plugs.

  • If it is available use PB Blaster aerosol penetrant I have found nothing better.Spray the plug then wrap a small rag soaked in PB Blaster around the plug base and let it sit overnight. – mikes Sep 4 '12 at 20:02

If penetrating fluid, time and rocking (as described by Nick C) do not work, you may need to take it to a mechanic who can heat up the plug (usually with a torch) to get it out. With all of the plastics in a modern engine, you don't want to do this yourself as it can be tricky to keep for doing more damage than you are fixing. Good luck!

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