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Kia Soul Engine Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to check or change the engine spark plugs in a 1st generation 2009-2013 Kia Soul with photo illustrated steps.

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2013 Soul Nu 2.0L Motor
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Lift Off Plastic Engine Cover
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Rubber Friction Fasteners

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 2012 and 2013 Kia Soul with the Hyundai Nu 2.0 liter inline four cylinder engine in checking or changing the spark plugs.

Owners of other Hyundai or Kia vehicles equipped with the Nu 1.8L or 2.0L engines such as the Elantra, Tucson, i30, i40, Optima Hybrid and K5 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The steps should be similar for the 2010-2011 Soul with the 1.6L Gamma or 2.0L Beta II engines and the 2012-2013 Soul with the 1.6L Gamma GDI or Diesel motors.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a small flathead screwdriver, a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a 5/8" spark plug socket, a 6" extension bar, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a spark plug gap gauge, dielectric grease and (optional) anti-seize lubricant.


A few compatible replacement spark plugs for the 2012 and 2013 Kia Soul "+" Plus or "!" Exclaim with the Hyundai Nu 2.0L engine including their part numbers are as follows: NGK Iridium SILZKR7B11 (9723) (OEM spark plugs), Champion REC12WMPB5 (9055), Autolite Iridium XP5702, Denso SC20HR11 (3444) and Denso FXE22HR11 (3442).

Replacement spark plugs for the 2012-2013 Soul with the 1.6L Gamma GDI engine are as follows: Autolite Iridium XP5703, Denso SC20HR11 (3444) and Champion Copper RER8MC (445).

Replacement plugs for the 2009 (Korea, Japan, China, Europe), 2010 and 2011 (North America) Soul vehicles with the 1.6L Gamma I4 engine are as follows: Denso Iridium IXUH22 (5353), Denso Iridium XU22HDR9 (3445) and Autolite XP5701.

Replacement plugs for the 2009-2011 Soul with the 2.0L Beta II I4 engine are as follows: NGK Iridium ZFR5FIX-11,  Autolite Iridum XP5224, Denso Iridium IK16L (5357) and Champion RC10WYPB4.

I'd recommend purchasing Iridium tipped spark plugs since they can last up to 100,000 miles.

Please use the Amazon Part Finder website to verify the correct spark plugs for your Soul before buying new ones.

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Engine Cover Removed
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Clean Off Top of Engine
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Pop Out Grey Locking Tab
The first two steps are to open the hood and then pull off the plastic engine cover.

It is held in place by four rubber friction fasteners attached to metal pegs on the top of the motor.

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

Use the small flathead screwdriver to pry out the light grey plastic locking tab on the electrical connector.

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Lock Tab Released
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Press Release Button
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Pull Off Electrical Connector
Then press the release tab on the power plug and slide it straight off the ignition coil.

I'd recommend only checking or changing one spark plug at a time to further reduce the risk of having debris fall in to the cylinder or having dust contaminate the electrical connections.

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Loosen Counter Clockwise
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10mm Bolt Removed
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Rotate Ignition Coil
Loosen the bolt holding the ignition coil in place by turning it counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Set the bolt aside in a safe place.

Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to make sure that the rubber dust boot is not stuck to the top of the old spark plug.

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Lift Out Ignition Coil
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Spark Plug Well
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Loosen Old Spark Plug
Carefully lift the ignition coil straight out of the spark plug well and set it aside in a safe place.

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

Your spark plug socket should have a rubber insert or a strong magnet to securely hold the spark plug in place.

Lower the socket down over the old spark plug and gently loosen it in the counter clockwise direction.

If you can't loosen the old spark plug, do not use excessive force to avoid 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.



 

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Spin Out Counter Clockwise
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Lift Out Old Spark Plug
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Inspect Old Spark Plug

Once the old spark plug is loose, detach the ratcheting wrench and spin it out by hand using the extension bar.

Lift the old spark plug out of the well and pull it out of the socket.

If the rubber insert comes out of the spark plug socket, pull it off the end of the old spark plug and re-insert it in to the socket.

To keep the rubber insert from repeatedly coming out of the spark plug socket, apply a small amount of super glue to the outside of it and push it back in.

Inspect the electrode tip of the old spark plug.

If the end of the old spark plug looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures due to engine 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 by a professional mechanic.

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. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend against using anti-seize grease 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 properly tighten them.

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Lower In New Spark Plug
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Spin In Clockwise
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Tighten With Wrench
The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spark plugs in this 2013 Kia Soul with the Hyundai Nu 2.0L I4 engine are NGK Iridium SILZKR7B11 (A.K.A. SILZKR7B-11 or "9723").

If you have a spark plug gap gauge, check that the gap on the new spark plug matches the manufacturer's specification. If the gap is incorrect, the plug may have been dropped or damaged in shipping and should be exchanged for a new one.

Push a new spark plug securely in to the socket and carefully lower it down in to the well.

Spin in the new spark plug in the clockwise direction by hand until it makes contact with the cylinder head.

Attach the ratcheting wrench and very carefully tighten the spark plug to just past the point when you feel the new crush washer collapse.

This should be a small fraction of a turn past when the plug could not be tightened any more with just your fingers spinning the extension bar.

Do not over tighten the spark plugs to prevent from cracking the ceramic body or stripping the aluminum threads.

If you applied anti-seize lubricant grease to the threads of the new spark plug, less force will be necessary to properly tighten the plug.

Double check that the new spark plug is tight before moving on to the next steps.

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Apply Dielectric Grease
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Re-Insert Ignition Coil
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Rotate Ignition Coil

Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the opening of the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil.

The dielectric grease will help keep out moisture and dust which may disrupt the electrical contact.

Lower the ignition coil down in to the well and over the new spark plug.

Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to help evenly spread the dielectric grease.

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Spin In 10mm Bolt
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Tighten Clockwise
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Push On Power Plug
Spin in the ignition coil bolt by hand to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the bolt in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench until it is snug.

Avoid over tightening the bolt to prevent from cracking the plastic ignition coil housing.

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Pop In Grey Locking Tab
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Push On Engine Cover
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Spark Plugs Replaced
Push the electrical connector straight on to the ignition coil until it clicks securely in to place.

Push in the grey lock tab on the power plug.

Line up the friction fasteners on the bottom of the engine cover and push it back in to place.

Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds that may indicate a problem or a loose ignition coil power plug.

Be sure to record the spark plug change in your Soul's maintenance records.

For more, check out my other Kia Soul DIY Maintenance Guides.
 

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