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Spark plug change for 3.5 liter V6 Toyota Highlander

My wife’s 2013 Toyota Highlander V6 is just north of 110k miles. I was driving it today and though, hmmm…probably time for plugs. I asked my wife to look in the glovebox at the manual and see when Toyota recommends a plug change. She said the manual recommended it at 120k miles, although I haven’t looked for myself.

What I did look at was the plug location and a couple of YouTube videos on the process to replace them. Upper intake manifold must come off, which isn’t a surprise. It appears the windshield wipers, their linkage, and part of the cowl need to be removed also. Ok, I wasn’t expecting that! Has anyone here performed this? Possibly have some tips?

I may let a shop do it. If I drove it, I’d do it myself. My wife isn’t a patient woman, and I’m not sure I want to do the work with the thought of her wanting it back ASAP in the back of my mind the whole time. Anyone have access to how many shop hours are usually billed for the repair? Thanks.

Yes, I’ve replaced plugs on my brother’s 2008 Highlander with the 3.5 liter 2GR-FE V6 . . . same engine and body style as yours, the only difference being the headlights

The upper intake does need to come off

but the wipers, linkage and cowl do not need to be removed . . . I didn’t remove them, in any case, but it was a little tight back there

I bought the correct plugs from napa, and I also bought a fel-pro intake gasket set, because the toyota brand gasket set was WAY too expensive.


It appears you have to remove the intake air surge tank (which I presume is the intake manifold) and the ign coil ass’y, then the plugs. 3.5 hours labor for the change-out, so it seems like it will be a bit of a chore. Don’t see anything about having to remove stuff related to the ww wipers. It may however make sense to do it that way for a diyer, no experience on this myself.

I’d leave the plugs alone.

Drive the vehicle until the Check Engine light comes on with a misfire code.

Then pay a shop to replace the plugs. (if that’s the problem)

My 97 Accord with 220.000 miles has the original plugs.

Runs smooth, no Check Engine light.


Good info on the cowl / wipers, thanks. Most of the videos showed that removed. Which I’d rather avoid, really. The intake doesn’t bother me. I figure if I can replace intake gaskets on a 98 Dodge Ram V8, this should be much less daunting. Appeared to be anyway. Although the Dodge was not driven by my wife and I didn’t mind it being down half a day!

The if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach - that’s tempting! I did have the thought - what if I replaced all the plugs, then a coil went bad on one of those back cylinders a few thousand miles later. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the beans!

With those engines where it is a tight space against the fire wall. I’ve just lowered the front of the motor, by dropping the front engine carriage bolts most of the way out. This will rotate the engine enough to give a little more room.
This too will build those biceps if you do not have an air gun.