Spark plug cost on a beetle

I have a 2001 volksagon beetle. It ha been acting like it just wants to die while taking off and makes a weird noise. It always has a small vibration feeling aswell my dad said it may need a tune up and new spark plugs. I’m only a 20 year old girl who’s still in college. I can’t really afford to spend a great deal.

In that case spend the first $20 on a Haynes repair manual at the local parts store and look through the process for doing a tuneup. It’s actually a lot easier in new cars than it used to be a few decades ago.

The manual will save you a bundle, even if you have to buy some basic tools. Just be sure to follow it closely.

A few tips:

  1. spend an extra $20 for a torque wrench at a discount tool store. And use it when installing the new plugs. When starting them, they should screw in easily with minimal finger effort. Keep playing with them until they do. Forcing them may cross-thread the holes.

  2. if the vehicle has plug wires (rather than coil-on-plug), change the wires one at a time. That’ll prevent crossing them up.

  3. change the filters too. The instructions are in the Haynes manual.

And relax. This level of maintenance is easily do-it-yourself as long as you follow the manual and use some common sense.

Is your dad willing to help pay for a mechanic to look at this? Ordinarily I’d encourage you to do as Mountainbike suggests, but you’re saying it’s having problems that might leave you stranded, and you know next to nothing about cars. Do you know of a reliable independent VW mechanic (ask your friends)? If not, see if there’s one listed near you here:

Regardless, get the manual for your car, and, if possible, take a car care course (often your college will have something like this, check around).

I see this torque wrench instruction a lot when it comes to spark plugs but in reality thats not how its done. I have never myself use a torque wrench to install plugs or had a co-worker use one. I am sure I know 30+ mechanics just here in Tucson and I personally must have installed 1000 plugs.

Torque wrench gets used on the wheels and the transmission guys use those 1/4 wrenches. I did use my torque wrench quite a bit when I was doing VW heavy line

For the OP consult you owners manual, are you due for plugs? don’t be suprised when a new plug set does not change anything and that Haynes manual can’t pick up the slack (they are almost useless).

I am also a College student and the library has a contract with the ARRC data base it is light years ahead of a Haynes manual. Check you College library and see if they subscribe (look under vocational periodicals).

Oldschool, let me start by saying that I have a great deal of respect for you and for your automotive knowledge, experience and expertise. But I have to disagree on a few of your points.

In days of old I used to just use a “stubby” ratchet with, of course, a spark plug socket to install plugs. But many years back when aluminuminimum heads became commonplace and I started hearing of too many thread strippings I bought a beam-type torque wrench. I still think it’s a great and inexpensive way to prevent overtorquing.

With years of experience and thousands of installations as practice I have no doubt that any tech that used care could easily install a plug and probably get it pretty close to it’s range…in my case I think it’s 18-24 lb/ft…I always read the spec because my memory is so poor. I could probably get it there too. But would you trust a newbie??? I’d have more faith in the average newbie’s ability not to exceed the typical 100 lb/ft that’s typical of lug nuts.

Good point about checking the owner’s manual, but hey, it’s eight years old and running rough. A tuneup is always a good place to start for someone with little money. Although I admit that suggesting stopping by the local parts store to see for free if there are any codes stored probably should have been included in my post. And perhaps yours also?

I have a higher opinion of Haynes manuals, although I admit their use is limited to basic maintenance. But that’s what this is, basic maintenance.

Colleges that don’t offer automotive technology programs are unlikely to support a subscription to any online repair database.

Surly there are guys at your collage who would be happy to show you how to change the plugs, or maybe even do it for you. Of course there is always the risk that that aren’t as good as they think they are and do costly damage.

Plugs run from $2 to $9 each, you need four, unless its a diesel, then you don’t need any. Beam type torque wrench $10-15, click type $25 and up. Spark plug gap tool $1-2. Spark plug socket and an extension, a couple more bucks. Takes less than an hour.

Whoever puts in the plugs, get the exact original equipment replacement specified by VW, brand and number.

One thing to keep in mind when using a torque wrench is to use it in conjunction with common sense, especially with an aging car. My father has a set of good quality Craftsman click type torque wrenches he likes to use on everything, and I have seen him do some damage with them. I have seen him break a brand new belt tensioner trying to install the idler pulley to the spec in the (factory) manual, break all the bolts holding a steering box to the frame of a truck trying to tighten them to the spec in a Chilton’s manual, and tear the spark plug threads out of the head of my little brother’s Dodge Shadow. A good rule to go by is that if it feels too tight, it probably is, regardless of what the torque wrench says. I personally go by feel for external parts and accessories, torque wrench for internals and either torque wrench or torque stick for wheels.

I had a 01 Passat 1.8T with 70K that has very similar problems, after $2000 at the dealer for other “fixes” it ended up being the Mass airflow sensor, which they replaced for free since I had already paid too much for unneeded repairs. And the spark plugs are $22 each for the 1.8T iirc. Good luck.

I’m with oldschool…and NEVER EVER used a torque wrench for sparkplugs…And NEVER EVER had a problem either.

That’s a good point - these symptoms are probably not from spark plugs, but from something like the mass airflow sensor. Didn’t VWs of this era also have coil problems?

I did without for many, many years and installations without a problem too, but I still think it’s a good idea, especially for someone who’s new to wrenching.

I guess we’re just going to agree to disagree on this one.

, especially for someone who’s new to wrenching

I’ll agree with that.

And the spark plugs are $22 each for the 1.8T iirc.

Those are dealer prices…you can find those exact same plugs a LOT cheaper then going through the dealer.