How do you change the spark plugs on a 1996-2002 Rav4?


Replacing the spark plugs on the Rav4 is a bit harder then on many other vehicles. You start by removing the air filter holder. I have been able to get by removing only the front half of the air filter holder. Once this is done there are 4 holders in the center of the valve cover. Each has a 10 mm screw holding them in. Remove the screws and then pull the plug connectors out of the holes. The spark plugs take a 5/8" spark plug socket to remove them. You will also need a fairly long extension to reach the plugs. I prefer a 6" extension and a swivel head ratchet. If you find oil in the holes that indicates the seal for the valve cover wasn't installed properly. Normally you will have to replace the gasket to stop the leak. This isn't something for the non-mechanically minded people. I have found the spark plugs sold by Toyota are rated to last about 90k miles. They generally also will give you about 1 to 2 miles per gallon better mileage than the auto parts store's version. The auto part store version normally only last 30k. When replacing the screws to hold the holders, don't over tighten them. They can crack and then you will have to replact them. They aren't very cheap. Also start the bolts by hand to make sure you don't cross thread them. They are steel screws and are going into Alum. I hope this helps a bit.


UPDATE: 1998 Rav4/4dr/4wd If you do the above steps you will want to hunt down the person that wrote it and kill them. :)

The spark plugs are located on the top of the engine block, under 4 square rubber covers that have wires running to them from the right side of the engine block. You do have to pull pretty hard to pull up the rubber stopper and it has a long black tube that is attached to the bottom. PLEASE use a 6" or longer socket extension, but if you use one with a rubber 'helper' inside you may have to have a realllllllly good connection or it will make it very hard to get the socket back out after you tighten up the plug. I used a socket with the rubber 'grabber' inside to unscrew them.. and one without to screw them back in. Just a hint.

If you want a picture of what it looks like after you remove the 4 rubber plugs and the tubes attached look at this: