Spark plugs are one of the most critical components inside your engine that need to be maintained. There’s a good probability you will need to replace your old and worn out spark plugs several times over the course of owning a 2004 Nissan Xterra. Spark plugs are one of the most critical parts inside your engine as they begin the entire combustion process that starts and keeps your engine running for many thousands of miles. Similar to most engine components, spark plugs experience wear over time and eventually need replacement, but fortunately this is a repair you can do on your own. Chances are, if you’ve found yourself here, you have no idea how to do that, or maybe you’d just like to know what kind of spark plugs you need to buy. The complete process of changing your spark plugs should take about 20-45 minutes. This article will go over everything you should need to know about your Nissan Xterra’s spark plugs, whether you need some baseline information or a full, step-by-step guide to performing a spark plug change.
Correct spark plugs on a 2004 Nissan Xterra
NGK 5464[/caption]For any 2004 Nissan Xterra, you can use NGK 5464 spark plugs. These will be an exact fit and will match the required specifications of your engine. Make certain that you purchase the correct number of spark plugs for your engine corresponding to the number of cylinders. Often, manufacturers will bundle spark plugs in quantities that make it impossible to buy the exact amount you need for your engine. In this case, it can’t hurt to purchase enough for your next two spark plug changes just so you will always have a new set ready. We always try to recommend the best possible spark plugs for the money, and these spark plugs are either a factory recomendation or an equivalent replacement available now at an affordable price.
How often should I change my spark plugs?
Generally, it is advised that you replace spark plugs once every 20,000 to 40,000 miles. Of course, please make sure to check your owner’s manual to determine the specific interval determined by Nissan for the 2004 Xterra. Of course, if you drive your vehicle more aggressively or own a Xterra with some modifications, you may want to consider changing your spark plugs closer to the 20,000 miles end of that spectrum.
However, there are also telltale signs of a car that may potentially need a spark plug replacement earlier than the recommended schedule, such as:
- Rough idle
- Problems starting your engine
- Engine misfiring
Consider that this list is of course not comprehensive, and these problems on their own do not necessarily point to the spark plugs being the solitary culprit. However, the best way to prevent any issues with your vehicle is to take care of it with routine maintenance, and you are definitely doing so with the responsible decision to replace your Nissan Xterra’s spark plugs on a regular basis.
Changing spark plugs on a 2004 Nissan Xterra
This is a process you should be able to do on your own with some commonplace garage tools. Of course, consult your owner’s manual, as well as a factory service manual (FSM) or an equivalent Haynes or Chiltons manual. The video shown below does a good job of outlining the process.
As noted before, you should be able to do a spark plug change with some regular tools you probably already have. However, there are a few tools that are specific to this job that you may not have, and we also want to recommend some general tools that you should absolutely have in your toolbox if you don’t already.
- A spark plug gap tool. This allows you to check the gap of your spark plugs and increase or decrease it if necessary. Most plugs will come pregapped, but if this is not the case, you should for sure have one of these.
- I also highly recommend you have a feeler gauge as it makes it a bit more straightforward to check the exact gap, and it is useful for a decent number of other jobs.
- A set of spark plug sockets – These come in very handy because many standard sockets are not deep enough for spark plugs. Also, some spark plug holes are a bit smaller, so it requires a thinner wall like the one featured in the product here to fit. The linked product also features a magnet to keep a good hold of the spark plug so you do not drop it into your engine bay!
- A spark plug tester – this is definitely a niche tool, but it can save you lots of time. Although we’ve discussed spark plug replacement being a good thing to replace regularly and not just when issues occur, you may also be replacing your spark plugs because of an issue. This tool can help you diagnose the definite problem.
- A torque wrench is a very important tool to have in your garage. You should check your factory service manual to determine the correct torque rating to use when inserting the new spark plugs for your 2004 Nissan Xterra to be confident they are installed properly.
Tips for changing spark plugs on your 2004 Nissan Xterra
Ensure you review the video above before you attempt to repair the spark plugs on your 2004 Nissan Xterra, as well as review your FSM (factory service manual). Additionally, we have some tips below here to help you as you perform this repair.
- It’s not a bad idea to use dielectric grease when installing new spark plugs. You can apply a a very light coating to the inside of the boot and the ceramic part of your spark plugs. It prevents voltage leak and helps avoid the misfortune of the boot fusing to the spark plug over time.
- Before beginning, remove the negative terminal of your battery. It’s a good idea to disconnect the battery anytime you work on the electrical system of your Nissan Xterra or any other vehicle.
- The most important thing is to avoid overtightening the plugs or worse, cracking them due to overtightenting. Use a torque wrench capable of lower, more precise torque ratings to be sure that you don’t make this mistake.
- Take this (unofficial advice) lightly as many spark plug manufacturers advise against the use of anti-seize. However, I have heard from numerous old-school mechanics that they always apply a small amount of anti-seize to the threads of their spark plugs, especially on older vehicles.
- You should replace spark plugs on a cold engine. Wait at least 30 minutes after any kind of operation before attempting to replace the spark plugs on your 2004 Nissan Xterra