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Chevrolet Cruze Engine Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to check or change the engine spark plugs in a 2011-2015 GM Chevy Cruze with the Ecotec 1.4L Turbo I4 motor.

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2013 Cruze 1.4L Turbo I4
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Pull Off Spark Plug Cover
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Spark Plug Cover Removed

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 model years) GM Chevrolet Cruze equipped with the Ecotec 1.4 liter turbocharged inline four cylinder motor in checking or changing the spark plugs.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles such as the Spark, Sonic, Volt, Malibu, Camaro, Corvette, Impala, Equinox, Traverse, Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche, Colorado, Silverado, Express, Cadillac ATS, XTS, CTS, SRX, Escalade, Buick Verano, Regal, LaCrosse, Encore, GMC Sierra, Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Savana, Opel Corsa, Astra, Agila, and Ampera may also find these DIY instructions to be useful.

The OEM iridium tipped spark plugs are NGK brand part number IFR7X7G (91039).

Other compatible iridium plugs are the Autolite XP3923, Denso (5304) IK20, Champion 3344 and ACDelco 41-122.

The tools needed for this procedure include a Torx T-30 star bit screwdriver, a 5/8" spark plug socket, a 6" extension bar, a ratcheting wrench, spark plug gap gauge, dielectric grease and anti-seize lubricant (optional).

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Tan Ignition Coils Assembly
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Electrical Connector On Right
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Pry Out Orange Locking Tab
The first two steps are to pop open the hood and then pull off the black plastic rectangular engine cover. Set the engine cover aside in a safe place.

Below the engine cover you'll see the tan colored rectangular ignition coils assembly.

If you have access to compressed air or a wet/dry shop vacuum, thoroughly clean off the top of the engine to reduce the change of having debris drop down in to a spark plug well.

Unplug the ignition coils assembly by first sliding the orange locking tab out to the right.

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Press Tab - Remove Plug
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Remove Torx T-30 Screws
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First Screw Removed
Once the orange locking tab has been released, you can push down on the black plastic release button and pull the electrical connector straight off the right side of the ignition coils module.

The ignition coils are held in place by two screws in the center of the tan colored top of the assembly.

Remove the two screws with a Torx T-30 star bit screwdriver by turning them counter clockwise. Set the screws aside in a safe place.

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Remove 2nd T30 Screw
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Two Torx T-30 Screws
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Lift Off Ignition Coils
Carefully the ignition coils assembly straight off the top of the engine.

If you have trouble removing the assembly, try gently wiggling it back and forth while pulling up.

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Ignition Coils Removed
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Spark Plug Wells Exposed
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5/8" Spark Plug Socket
Once you've removed the ignition coils assembly, you'll see the four spark plug wells.

Clean off the top of the engine again with compressed air or a wet/dry shop vacuum.

Attach the 5/8" spark plug socket to the 6 inch extension bar and the 3/8" ratcheting wrench.

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Loosen Old Spark Plug
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Spin Out By Hand
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Lift Out Old Spark Plug
Carefully lower the spark plug socket down in to the well and attach it to the top of the first spark plug.

Loosen the spark plug by turning the ratchet counter clockwise.

If the old spark plug won't spin, do not use excessive force or you risk cracking the ceramic portion of the plug.

Spray a small amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil and wait at least 15 minutes or more before attempting to loosen it again. If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying some WD-40 or warm up the engine for a few minutes to help expand the metal engine block.

Once the spark plug is loose, detach the ratcheting wrench and spin it out by hand with your fingers at the end of the 6" extension bar.

Carefully lift the old spark plug out of the well and pull it from the socket. I'd recommend checking or replacing one spark plug at a time to further reduce the chance of having something drop down in to the cylinder head.



 

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Old NGK Iridium Plug
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Attach New Plug To Socket
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Spin In New Plug By Hand

If the end of the old spark plug looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures such as overheating or they are the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions or environment.

On the other hand, if the old spark plugs are dark grey or covered in black soot, the engine may be burning oil and should be checked out by a professional mechanic.

The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spark plugs on this 2013 Chevy Cruze were the "laser iridium" NGK IFR7X7G (91039).

I'd recommend buying the GM ACDelco 41-122 iridium spark plugs since they have great reviews on Amazon.

The new iridium tipped spark plugs should be pre-gapped from the factory. It is still a good idea to check that the gap is correct using a spark plug gap gauge disc.

If the gap is not very close to the number listed in the manufacturer's specifications, it may have been damaged in shipping or it is a defective part that should be exchanged for a new one.

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Tighten New Spark Plug
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New Plug Installed
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Apply Dielectric Grease
Securely insert the new spark plug in to the spark plug socket which should have a magnet or rubber insert to hold it in place.

Carefully lower the new spark plug down in to the well while trying to avoid hitting the electrode tip at the bottom on the metal cylinder head.

Spin in the spark plug by hand using just the extension bar until it makes contact with the cylinder head.

Attach the 3/8" ratcheting wrench to the extension bar and tighten the new spark plug just barely past the point when you feel the crush washer collapse. They should be tightened to a small fraction of a turn just past finger tight.

An optional step is to apply a tiny amount of anti-seize lubricant to the upper metal threads of the new spark plug. This will make the plugs easier to take out if they are not changed again for another 100k miles. Do not get any of the anti-seize on the electrode tip at the bottom of the new spark plug. Some spark plug manufacturers recommend against using anti-seize since it can lead to over tightening.

If you do apply anti-seize to the threads of the new spark plug, less force will be necessary to tighten them.

Do not over tighten the new plugs to avoid cracking the ceramic part of the plug or stripping the aluminum threads in the cylinder head.

Double check that the new spark plugs are tight before continuing on to the following steps.

Apply some dielectric grease to the opening of the rubber dust boots at the bottom of the ignition coils. This will help prevent them from becoming stuck to the tip of the new spark plugs and prevent water or dust from interfering with the electrical connection.

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Dielectric Grease & Anti-Seize
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Lower In Ignition Coils
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Insert 2 Long T-30 Screws
Carefully lower the ignition coils assembly with the electrical socket orientated on the right side down over the engine.

Push down until the ignition coils are fully seated over the spark plugs.

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Tighten With Torx Screwdriver
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Push On Power Plug
Re-insert the two long screws in to the top of the ignition coil assembly and tighten them with the Torx T30 screwdriver by turning clockwise to just past hand tight.

Push the power plug straight on to the socket at the right side until it clicks in to place.

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Push In Orange Locking Tab
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Push On Engine Cover
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Spark Plugs Replaced
Slide the orange locking tab on the electrical connector in towards the left to lock it.

Push the engine cover firmly back in place to engage the four friction fasteners.

Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds that may indicate a problem.

For more, check out my other Chevrolet Cruze Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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