Rookie spark plug mistake

I am fairly new in working on my car. I was changing my spark plugs on my 2001 Hyundai Elantra and teaching my son how to do it as well. We changed two with no problems. However in the rush of putting on the anti seize on the new plug, we forgot to take the old one out. This bent the new plug and broke the ceramic and bent the metal tip. I was able to get most of the ceramic out but am not able to put the spark plug socket in because the tip is bent and almost touching the wall. Any advice? Thinking of a way to straighten the metal. Am destined to just break the plug and use EZ out solution? Thanks.

Please explain your situation a little more. For example, is your damaged new plug completely out of the engine? Is your old plug bent and so you cannot get a socket on it?

And for future reference, use a short piece of tubing or hose on the top of a spark plug to thread it in by hand using the tubing. Once the plug is sufficiently in, the tubing can be pulled off before using a socket. This is useful to prevent cross threading the plug, but in your case, it would have prevented whatever happened between the new and old plug.

And I will let others discuss the pros/cons of using anti-seize on plugs.

Bend or break off what’s left of the old plug so a socket can get on the hex.



Thanks for a quick response. The problem is the old plug is bent and still in the engine. The new plug tip is bent so I plan to get a new one.

Then I’m generally with Tester’s suggestion but you should be careful to get ALL pieces and debris out before finally using a socket to get out whatever is left of the old plug.

Hopefully, your first two plugs came out easy and so will this one.

Pictures worth a thousand words right? I thought I submit it before taking action. Thanks

Just wondering what is the best way to break this.

Note Tester’s suggestion. You have the option of bending it (straightening it) until you can get a socket on it. (You might not have to break it.)

looking at the picture, it seems to me there is still plenty of space to put a spark plug socket around the spark plug. Are you using the proper socket to remove the plugs?

If yes, perhaps you can bend the tip back towards the middle with a long screw driver or needle nose pliers.

I would try a 3/8ths inch deep socket on a 12 inch extension but OP may not have those tools. From the photo it should be fairly easy.

Disaster avoided!:+1:t3: Thanks for all your help and advice.

I know it is a little late now, but when you break the ceramic, you can get the pieces out with a Q tip with some grease on the tip. Do this before removing the rest of the plug.

piece of plastic tubing connected to shop-vac works even better :slight_smile:


Way to go! You did it!

What did you use to start the plugs in when you bent/broke one, a front-end loader? :construction: :grin:

It seems that you slowed your operation down a bit when it came time to try and save a botched DIY job. That’s the key, working carefully and methodically, taking time to think.

When I change spark plugs I use a socket that holds the new plug in and I use just an extension (No ratchet) to gently and carefully lower the plug into position and start it threading into the hole. Then I attach the ratchet handle (and I use a stubby one so that I don’t over-tighten).

Experience IS the best teacher. Congratulations on changing the plugs, yourself, and on learning some new skills. All is well that ends well.

I hope you stick around and join our conversations. :smile:

Glad you got the problem resolved. Just curious how it happened? Do you mean you were attempting to install a new spark plug in a spot where there was already an old spark plug installed? You pushed and pushed and it wouldn’t start threading, then you removed the socket and new plug and discovered the old plug still there? hmmm … suggest next time you & your son decide to try a new diy’er auto repair procedure, post here for ideas first. Father/son auto repair is a great activity to share, but no need to re-invent the wheel. There’s a few tricks you can use that will make the job much easier especially in that car’s arrangement where the plugs are down inside deep holes. It’s actually good probably that it was the two spark plugs that got damaged, b/c otherwise you might be trying to rectify stripped threads in the cylinder head now.

As far as getting debris out of those holes, as already posted above, I’ve had good using with a shop vac , aided by a paper tube about the size of the hole. As part of my spark plug replacement routine, I vacuum those holes out before I remove the old spark plugs to minimize any debris from dropping into the cylinder during spark plug removal.

We were working too fast because it was getting dark. And yes, we tried to put the new one in before taking the old one out. It was the 3rd one. We did the first two just fine. The fourth one went well because we were very careful and remorseful after the putting third one.
I will use the forum next time. I found this forum after the problem occurred and was in desperate need for help. The guys on the forum came through! Thank you all!! Stay tune for next project…

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