How do you change the spark plugs in a 2001 Chevy Prism and where are they?

I have a little experience with spark plugs on Prisms. I own a '99 myself, so I don't think GM has changed the engine design in three years.

The plugs sit below the surface of the engine inside a tube. I use a 5/8 socket on my car, in case you are wondering. Removel is easy, just grasp the wire and remove it. After that is done, insert your plug socket and it's out.

Removal is more difficult since you cannot see the spark plug. I use a snug fitting rubber tubing. First you slide it over the top of the plug then you drop the plug in the hole and wait till it catches. Do a few more turns, then use a Torque wrench to tighten the plugs, I do mine at 11 in/lbs. Also don't forget to set the gap on the plug.

-Second - How to change spark plugs on a 2001-2002 Prizm:

The manufacturer recommended iridium plugs cost about $10.00 apiece and last about 150,000 miles. The platinum plugs cost about $2.00 apiece and last about 50,000 miles. For the hassle involved in repacing the plugs, Iridium plugs are better

Tools you will need before you start

1. 1/4" ratchet

2. 1/4" extention

3. 10 mm socket, 1/4" drive

4. small flat bladed screwdriver

5. 3/8" ratchet

6. 3/8" long extention

7. 5/8" spark plug socket, 3/8 " drive

8. air compressor with blow gun or can of compressed air

9. long needle nose pliers

10. 1/4" internal diameter rubber hose 8 inches long

11. wire coat hanger

12. neverseez lubricant


1. Remove the two 10 mm cap nuts on the top plastic housing over the engine

2. Remove the two fasteners on the back of the housing and remove the plastic cover

3. You will see four plastic blocks with four wire clips on each block.

4. Use compressed air to blow out debris around the blocks

5. Use the small flat bladed screwdriver to carefully lift up on the tab that holds the electrical connector onto the block and slide the wire clip off the block.

6. Remove the 10 mm bolt that holds the plastic block onto the engine. Use the needle pliers (I found that a pair with a 5-7 mm tip are best) to firmly grasp the plastic screw and pull straight up to remove it

7. Loosen the 10 mm nut on end of the plastic rail that holds the wiring harness for the blocks so that the round plastic washer on the bottom of the block will not break when you pull off the block

8. Carefully pull the plastic block out of the engine. There is a 4 inch tube attached to the block that extends into the engine to the spark plug. It will take some twisting and pulling but you must be careful not to catch the back part of the round plastic washer that you cannot see, on the bottom of the plastic wiring harness.

9. The spark plug is at the bottom of the 4 inch hole.

10. Blow compressed air down the hole to remove debris

11. Use a 5/8 sparkplug socket with a rubber collar on the 3/8" extention to remove the spark plug. The rubber collar will hold onto the spark plug as it is removed.

12. The NGK website recommends making sure the spark plugs have the correct gap .044 but the spark plug box says not to adust the gap because you might damage the needle point iridium tip. The new spark plug has a protective cardboard tube that is removed.

13. Spark plugs can stick inside aluminum heads and break off when you try remove them, leaving only the threads of the plug inside the engine which will necessitate removing the head to remove broken spark plug. Putting neverseez on the threads of the new spark plug will prevent that in future spark plug changes

14. Now comes an interesting choice. You can use the rubber tube over the neck of the spark plug to slowly drop it down the hole and hand tighten it or you can use the spark plug socket with the rubber collar. If you use the spark plug socket, the rubber collar will stick to the plug and you will pull off the extention, leaving the socket in the hole. A pair of long needlenose pliers will reach into the hole and remove the socket, but the rubber collar may remain on the plug and you will have to bend a piece of coathanger with a short 90 degree tip to reach into the hole and pull out the rubber collar. The rubber collar is there to prevent you from cocking a regular 5/8" deep socket at an angle which will break off the neck of the sparkplug, necessitating another 10 dollars and another trip to the auto parts store.

15. After the spark plug is hand tight, give it 1/2 turn more.

16. Replace the square block, being sure that the black silicone gasket on the bottom of the round plastic washer does not get bound up on the engine post where the 10 mm bolt goes. Tighten the bolt

17. replace the electrical clip.

18. Go to the next spark plug and repeat the procedure.

19. After the last spark plug is done, be sure to retighten the 10 mm nut on the wiring harness rail

20. Replace the plastic cover over the engine and you are done