Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Spark Plug Blew Out/Camry

Okay I Have a 98 Toyota Camry, Bought it as Is. Got home and had a Crack at the Top of the Radiator, okay that means im having to put water in it just about every single day. Don’t run hot as long as I keep an eye on the water level. I’ve been driving it like that for about 3 months and a week ago the second spark plugs and decided to shot out while I had it in reverse. A friend says it only needs tightening and it will run again just like that. And it did. BUT it still runs with a little hesitation when I’m idle. These “ABS” Light has been on but it came on ONLY after we put a spare tire on. I’ve been scared to run the A/C but I have to keep making it to my job so I can fix my ONLY way of transportation. If anyone has any Opinions or Options on what I shouldn’t do or what’s the first thing I should Do on getting this fixed or Looked At. Do I just need new Sparks/wires or is something stripped to make it still hesitate a lil. Thanks. IMG_20180711_162016

Honestly, it sounds like the car has multiiple problems and I don’t think there is a one size fits all fix for this.

A spark plug blowing out means that someone in the past did not tighten it enough or they tightened it too much which then damaged the threads. If so, it will blow out again.

Plugs and wires are a start but if it were me I’d run a compression test with the plugs out just so I would have a rough idea of what I’m dealing with.


The ABS light is on because the wheel speed sensor sees the mini spare rotating faster than the other 3 wheels. I don’t believe the ABS works when the light is on. Otherwise, you need a shop to take a look at it. Just my $.02.


The hesitation at idle could be due to compression being lost through a poorly seated and sealed spark plug. A compression test is a worthy basic diagnostic that helps decide the internal workings of the engine: are the valves and the piston rings sealing OK, etc.

Have 2 spark plugs come loose? Are the threads in the cylinder head intact enough to let them both be tightened securely (not overtightened!)? Usually plugs that shoot out of the engine are a sign that the threads in the head are too damaged to hold the plugs securely. This can often be repaired with an insert in the affected holes in the head. Opinions vary as to what exact insert and technique to use.

Good luck and let us know what’s up.

As rainflurry stated - small mini spare is the reason for the abs warning. And the system is disabled when warning lamp is on… Get the tire fixed.

As shanonia stated - you need to repair the spark plug thread - via inserts. There might exist some type of chemical epoxy which has some procedure to do it… not sure. But either Heli Coil it; or some other - but get the threads fixed.

If this is your only mode of transportation - please purchase a new radiator. Or your mode of transportation will be destroyed - come winter. You are putting in Water (only I hope) into the cooling system. Water cools the very best. However - it does not lubricate the water pump bearings; or keep corrosion and Electrolysis from happening. Anti-freeze is not free and extremely toxic and bad for the environment - and tastes SWEET and wonderful to dogs and cats… and KILLS extremely painfully. A leaking radiator of antifreeze - is just BAD. And antifreeze costs money. So it is good to use just water; and not kill anybody’s nearby pets or birds…

However - water doesn’t lubricate the BEARINGS of your water pump. Which is being driven by the TIMING belt. So it is extremely important to get the radiator fixed. Assuming your camry has the 2.2L engine - you can purchase a Brand New Radiator for your car - from RockAuto for only $43.79 (part number: 1909) or with the 3.0L - $55.79 (p/n 1910) Don’t forget to apply the 5% discount easily found all over on the web for all rock auto parts…

But get the Radiator fixed; or you are going to crack your block with expanding ice - in the winter - and no longer have any type of running vehicle.


Yes. A new radiator is so inexpensive, and usually so easy to install, it’s like Russian roulette to keep driving with a known bad radiator. And the hazard to animals from leaking or carelessly handled antifreeze deserves our compassionate attention.

I would just go to a local independent radiator shop and buy one

It’ll be Chinese, but it’ll be cheap, and I’ll bet you lunch they have it in stock. No point paying s/h, in my opinion

If you go this route, make sure you buy a radiator cap from the same place. Sometimes the radiator physically fits in place, but requires a slightly different cap, versus the original

As for spark plugs blowing out, you need to install insert(s) . . . I prefer time-sert, but heli-coil will probably be easier to find locally

I replaced the radiator in my Corolla a while back, the replacement radiator cost $89 (new, aftermarket), and took me about 1 1/2 hours to replace it. Pretty simple job. Suggest to do that rather than risk driving with a cracked radiator. That will give you an opportunity to flush out the old coolant too, and replace w/fresh. Make sure all the radiator fans come on when they should too. Fixing the spark plug problem might be as simple as just replacing the spark plugs. While doing that inspect the threads in the head the best you can, and if you see some are damaged, take the car to a good auto machine shop where they’ll fix that problem for what I think your find to be a pretty reasonable fee. They do that sort of thing all the time, and are all tooled up. Spark plugs have a special type of washer on them that compresses when installed. Once you remove a spark plug you are supposed to use a new washer to install it again. But those washers are nearly impossible to find, so new plugs are the way to go. They’ll come with fresh washers. I prefer NGK for my Corolla. Make sure they are installed properly, not cross threaded, and with the proper torque. The compressed washer is probably why you aren’t getting full compression and that results in an uneven running engine. If I had that ABS light problem myself, as long as it wasn’t flashing I’d just ignore it until the spark plug situation is straightened out and engine is running properly again. There’s probably a confused computer involved with the ABS, due to when you changed the spare tire.

Shipping on a Radiator from Rock Auto will indeed be fairly cheap. Around $10 or less. And they have the 5% discount available on all items they sell. And it will be at where you live - in usually 5 days or so…

And radiators on the vast majority of cars - are very easy to install. Especially if a person is coming to a website like this one - since that indicates they wish to do the work. And a Camry radiator comes out after removing the two front fan shrouds; and the holding brackets on top - very easily indeed. Since the entire job seems like it should take around 30 minutes - expect about 2.5 hours of total work; and so in 2.5 hours of your time - you have a brand new non leaking Radiator attached, filled, and working vehicle.


By the way, water does not cool best, use the reigh mix for your area. 50/50 will cover a\most of the US except the very coldest parts.

Before you do the time-sert, just torque down the spark plug and see if it stays in. My MR2 has the same engine as your camry, and I had the same problem when I first bought it. Someone hadn’t tightened one of the plugs down. The plug wires were loose enough that they weren’t gripping the plug, and vibrations from the engine eventually made the plug back out enough that the cylinder pressure blew the plug wire off of the plug.

I bought new plugs and wires, torqued the spark plugs down properly, and I haven’t had a problem with it since, and that was 15 years ago.

As far as COOLING the engine - and removing heat - WATER is the BEST. No anti-freeze solution comes close. However - since just Water also has some serious corrosion side effects - we are advised to use a mixture of coolant - ie - Anti-freeze and water.

If you have a leak going on; and are dumping your cooling fluid - you should just use plain water - for the benefit of the environment; wildlife, pets, etc. And get the leak fixed as soon as possible - and than the proper mixture of water and anti-freeze. But with regards to COOLING - water (at least it was in 1992 when I was in college earning an Aeronautical degree) absorbs the most heat. Maybe they’ve developed something since then that cools better than water - but I don’t think so… But just water doesn’t work so good for other considerations - so we use a mix…

I think there’s some cooling benefit w/the 50/50 mix also, due to the higher temp boiling point the mix offers. Running plain water in older cars with cast iron blocks and heads might could work in the summer, but modern cars w/aluminum heads, not something I’d risk.

The difference between the cooling effect of water or water/ethylene glycol in a closed pressurized environment is not enough to recommend one over the other. If temporarily in above freezing weather you want to use water, no problem. Long term for corrosion resistance and water pump life, use a proper water/antifreeze mix - usually 50-50. And if below freezing temperatures are to be faced, the proper 50-50 mix is important to keep the effects of expanding freezing fluid from damaging the car.