Is the check engine light appearing on your Volkswagen due to a faulty spark plug or ignition coil? Learn how to fix the problem by replacing the spark plug/ignition coil and resetting the fault code using an OBD-II Scanner.
This guideline applies to most Volkswagen equipped with the four-cylinder engine typically found on VW Jetta, Golf, Beetle, EOS, Passat, etc. Spark plugs and ignition coil part numbers may vary, but the procedure for changing VW spark plugs and ignition remains the same.
Spark plugs wear over time and should be replaced at the recommended interval. If the spark plugs are not replaced at the recommended interval, you will eventually notice the following symptoms:
- Check engine light on
- Engine misfires
- A decrease in fuel economy
- Loos of engine performance
- DTC Fault codes
- P0300 P0301 P0302 P0303 P0304 up to P0312
- Check engine light flashing.
A faulty ignition coil will almost always cause the check engine light to flash. A worn spark plug may turn on a solid check engine light or cause the check engine light to flash.
What you will need
- Spark Plugs
- Spark plugs typically last between 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Depending on spark plug type and driving habits.
- Spark Plug Socket
- Ignition Coil
- Ignition coils typically last around 100,000 miles.
- 3/8 Ratchet Wrench
- 3/8 Ratchet Wrench Extension
- 3/8 10mm socket
- Magnetic pick tool
- Spark plug gapper
How to change VW spark plugs and ignition coils
Step-by-step instructions on how to change the spark plug on most VW four-cylinder engines.
- Park your Volkswagen on level ground and set the parking brakes.
- Allow the engine to cool down if it was recently driven.
- Pull the hood release under the dashboard and open the hood. If you need help with this step, follow our guide on how to open a VW hood.
- Disconnect the negative battery terminal.
- Remove engine cover or any hoses going over the ignition coils. In this case, we have an air filter hose that must be removed.
- Unplug all the electrical connectors from the ignition coils. Press the connector tab, then pull it away from the ignition coil.
- Remove the 10mm bolts that hold the ignition coil in place.
- Remove all the ignition coils by pulling the coil up. If the coil does not come out, try twisting it slightly.
- Use a spark plug socket, extension, and ratchet wrench to remove the spark plug.
- Remove all spark plugs one by one. Do not allow any dirt to fall in the spark plug hole. You may use a magnetic pickup tool to remove the spark plug.
- Install the new spark plugs. The new spark plugs should be already pre-gapped, but it is important to check the spark plug gap to ensure they are still within range.
- Torque the spark plug to specification. See the notes below for the recommended VW spark plug torque.
- Install the new ignition coil and secure them by installing the 10mm bolts.
- Connect all the ignition coil wires. Do not switch the ignition coil wires around. The coils themselves can be switched, but not the connectors. If the first connector was to spark plug on cylinder one, it needs to stay on that spark plug even if you swapped the ignition coils around.
- Reinstall the engine cover and any hoses that you may have removed.
- Reconnect the battery. Start up the engine and turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, then right to reset the ABS and traction control lights.
Now that the spark plugs and ignition coils are new, the check engine light should stop flashing anymore. The check engine light will stay on but should reset within two to three days if there are no other problems. You can reset the check engine light on your own or follow our VW check engine light troubleshooting guide if the light stays on for more than a week. The pictures in this guide are from a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta equipped with a 1.4L turbo engine.
- Spark plug 14 mm: 25 to 30N·m (2.5 to 3.0 kgm)
- Spark plug 12 mm: 15 to 20N·m (1.5 to 2.0 kgm)
Values in your owner’s manual supersede these torque values.
How long does VW spark plugs last?
VW spark plugs can last anywhere from 30,000 miles up to 100,000 miles. The life of the spark plug depends mainly on the spark plug type. Copper spark plugs last longer, while platinum or iridium spark plugs last much longer.
VW Spark Plug Change Recommended Interval
Copper spark plugs should be replaced every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Iridium and platinum spark plugs should be replaced between 60,000 and 80,000 miles. Some iridium spark plugs can last well over 100k miles.
What is the best spark plug for VW?
The best spark plugs for VW are those that meet the manufactures specifications. The tip material can help the spark plug last longer but will not increase performance or horsepower.
Here are some highly-rated spark plugs for VW:
- Bosch 4417 Platinum+4 FGR7DQP Spark Plug
- NGK 7092 BKR6EGP G-Power Spark Plug
- DENSO 5304 IK20 Iridium Power Spark Plug
- Champion RE14MCC4 (570) Copper Plus
- Bosch 9652 Double Iridium Spark Plug
- NGK 5464 BKR5EIX-11 Iridium IX Spark Plug
- Autolite APP104 Double Platinum Spark Plug
What happens if I don’t change the spark plugs on my VW?
If you don’t change your spark plugs at the recommended interval, what will happen is that fuel economy will decrease. The decrease may be small, and at first, you may not notice it at all. If you keep ignoring the spark plugs, the spark plug will wear to the point that it will trigger the check engine light. The engine light will not only stay on but also flash due to a misfire caused by a bad spark plug.
How much does it cost to change VW spark plugs?
Changing the spark plugs on a Volkswagen, especially on models with 1.8 and 2.0 L engines, is very easy, and some shops will change them for as low as $200. Changing VW spark plugs at the dealer costs between $350 and $500. If you have to change the ignition coils, the price goes up significantly, and you are looking at over $500 to change the spark plugs and ignition coils.
If you decide to change Volkswagen spark plugs and ignition coils yourself, you will be looking at spending around $100 on parts, assuming you buy the parts online.
We hope you find the Volkswagen Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Replacement DIY with Pictures guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Volkswagen.