How to remove the lawn mower spark plug without a socket, step by step


Without any doubt, one of the most crucial parts of a lawnmower engine is the spark plugs. It is involved everywhere. If your lawnmower engine is not starting or runs rough, the spark plug is the first component you will check. To check if you have to remove it from the engine. The easiest way is to use a specifically designed socket with the correct dimension to unscrew the plug and extract it. However, people may find themselves with unplanned or random scenarios where such a tool is not available. This article will help you to extract the spark plug with essential tools available at your home.

How to remove the lawn mower spark plug without a socket, step by step:

  • Step 1. Park the lawnmower on the plane surface
  • Step 2. Gather some basic tools
  • Step 3. Pull the spark plug out using a wrench
  • Step 4. Pull the spark plug out using a nose plier or other tool
  • Step 5. Pull them out using a magnet and a wrench
  • Step 6. Pull it out by a rubber hose/ pipe
  • Step 7. Use lubricants if the spark plug refuses to turn

A clean and fresh spark plug helps your machine to start easily. The engine performs optimally without any jerks and at its peak performance. Typically, a spark plug can last at least a season or more, depending on the type of mower and your usage. But eventually, it will wear and get less efficient and needs to be changed. This article covers the scenario that you have to remove the spark plug from your mower, but you do not have the right tools available. Turning the spark plug is relatively simple. You can use a wrench with the correct diameter. In some mowers, the plug slot is deep in the body, so taking it out will be a problem. This blog post will look at the various methods and difficulties of removing a sparkplug without a sparkplug socket.

How to remove a spark plug without a sparkplug socket:

Spark plugs are present on the outside of the combustion chamber. The position may vary from model to model due to the complexity in size, design, and power. But the purpose of the plug is the same. Here is the detailed guideline to remove a spark plug without a socket.

● Step 1. Park the lawnmower on a leveled surface

Place the mower on an even smooth surface to allow easy access to the underside. Let the engine cool if you have been running it. Please do not turn the lawnmower on its side, as oil can run from the reservoir to other parts of the mower engine. Apply the parking brakes to stop it from moving.

Step 2. Gather some basic tools

All kinds of jobs have specially designed tools that make the job fast and straightforward. The same can be said for removing a spark plug. A special socket wrench is developed that helps to remove a spark plug. The spark plug sticks to a rubber part in the wrench slot, and you can easily pull it out. In case you don’t have the socket wrench, gather the following tools for an alternate approach:

  • An adjustable wrench
  • A plier
  • Strong magnet
  • A suitable size nut wrench

Disconnect the lawnmower’s spark plug cables. Wipe any dirt or debris, if present on the spark plug threads.

Step 3. Pull the spark plug out using a wrench

Lawnmower spark plugs are different in size than those of an automobile. Typically, their thread size ranges from 10 to 12 mm. Socket sizes required to remove them are also around 13/16 or 3/4 inches. So, you will need a wrench adjusted to the same size range. If there are no obstructions, a box-end wrench is perfectly suitable. Even an open-end or adjustable wrench may handle the job, though it is less desirable. Wrenches serve the same function as ratchets and sockets — tightening and loosening. A wrench with an open-end fits around a fastener instead of over it, so you can slip it into an area where there isn’t room for a socket.

Using the adjustable or box-end wrench (nut wrench), you need to twist the spark plug in an anti-clockwise direction. There are two things to be careful about here. First is that your wrench size should be a close match to the threads so that the connection is tight. The second point is to note that the wrench is used carefully. It would be best if you did not deteriorate any of the spark plug threads.

Step 4. Pull the spark plug out using a nose plier or other tool

Another way is to use a ‘nose’ plier. It is similar to a normal plier but has long metal gripping strands instead of common thick ones. Use it to grip the nut part of the spark plug. You will need a larger force, but it will do the job.

Step 5. Pull them out using a magnet and a wrench

When you have spark plugs that go deep in the mower engine, the adjustable wrench will not work to get the spark plug out. There’s a simple technique to plug it out. You can use some strong magnets at the end of the wrench or a screwdriver. Bring the magnets close to the spark plug’s top terminal. It is magnetic, so it sticks to the magnet and is pulled out.

Step 6. Pull it out by a rubber hose/ pipe

You can also use a piece of rubber hose and shove it on the plug end. Try rotating it in a clockwise direction to grab the spark plug’s top terminal. It will get a hold of it eventually, then pull it out.

Step 7. Use lubricants if the spark plug refuses to turn

Because of its long and continuous use, the spark plugs get blackened, and their terminals’ gap gets reduced over time. If the plug’s clearance is not ok and has black deposits, it may be a victim of rust and getting stuck in position. In this scenario, spray it with a penetrating lubricant like WD-40. Let the lubricant be exposed to it for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, try again to open the plug.

Additional Concern:

The two major concerns are listed below:

1.  When you don’t have the correct-sized socket.

If you do not have the correct sized socket for your sparkplug, what you have to do is take any aluminum sheet, roll it down according to your size, fix it in the wrench end and then try to pull out the spark plug. Keep adjusting till you get your correct size and your spark plug comes out. It will take a couple of time, but it is the easiest fix for your issue when you don’t have the correct sized socket or deep-socket.

2. Always make use of lawnmower spark plugs recommended by your owner’s manual.

Always use your mower parts according to your manufacturer. Match the plugs using the reference numbers, usually stamped on the white insulator. The new spark plug will come from the factory with the correct-size clearance gap, thread size, and working condition.

Frequently asked questions:

1. How to know if my lawnmower spark plug is bad?

If you have difficulty starting your lawnmower or experiencing jerks, your spark plug might be faulty. With time, the 2 electrodes of the spark plug get coated with a layer of carbon. This decreases the clearance gap. If you face similar issues, open the spark plug and check the gap with a feeler gauge. If it doesn’t match the correct size, it has gone bad.

2. What happens if you make use of the wrong spark plug in a lawnmower?

Spark plugs that are gapped incorrectly can be one reason for the engine missing, i.e., your engine is running erratically, especially at idle state. The incorrect plug gaps can be the root cause of uneven firing of individual spark plugs and delay engine combustion, both of which can cause an engine to jerk and shut off. The user manual mentions the brand and specifications of the spark plug, so use that always.

3. How often should I change the spark plug in my lawnmower?

The three things you must take care of are:

  • Check after 80 to 100 hours: Replace the spark plugs as often as the owner manual recommends it. Usually, you must check, clean, and, if needed, replace spark plugs each year after 80-100 hours of use.
  • Tuning: Whenever you are tuning your mower, the first step is to check the plug. If it is not in prime condition, change it.
  • Use the correct type: Use the same and correct-sized spark plugs recommended by your lawnmower manufacturer.

4. Can you clean a spark plug with wd40?

WD-40 removes carbon residue and keeps moisture away from spark plugs and spark plug wires. WD stands for Water Displacement, so if your spark plugs are wet or you need to drive moisture away from ignition distributors, WD-40 will do the trick.

Final remarks:

The spark plug is one of the core components of a mower engine. Without it, the fuel won’t ignite. For the same reason, it is the first component you have to check whenever you face some technical issue with the engine. Often, problems come randomly, and one may find himself in a situation where you do not have the right tools. This article presents you with some basic methods to utilize the tools you have to remove the lawnmower’s spark plug. Using the commonly available tools and the proper guidelines, you can perform the task anywhere with success.

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