There’s a decent probability you will need to replace your old spark plugs several times over the course of owning a 2013 Toyota Highlander. Spark plugs are one of the most critical components inside your engine as they trigger 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 entire 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 Toyota Highlander’s spark plugs, whether you need some general information or a full, step-by-step guide to performing a spark plug change.
Correct spark plugs on a 2013 Toyota Highlander
For any 2013 Toyota Highlander, you can use CHAMPION 975 spark plugs. These will be an exact fit and will match the required specifications of your engine. Ensure you purchase the correct quantity of spark plugs for your engine corresponding to the number of cylinders. Sometimes manufacturers will bundle spark plugs in quantities that make it nearly impossible to buy the exact amount you need for your engine. In this case, it is not a bad idea 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 a reasonable 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 exact interval determined by Toyota for the 2013 Highlander. Of course, if you drive your vehicle more aggressively or own a Toyota Highlander 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 needs a spark plug replacement prematurely, such as:
- Rough idle
- Problems starting your engine
- Engine misfiring
As a quick note, keep in mind that this list is of course not comprehensive, and these problems on their own do not necessarily point to the spark plugs being the standalone culprit. However, the best way to prevent any issues with your vehicle is to take care of it with regular maintenance, and you are definitely doing so with the responsible decision to replace your 2013 Toyota Highlander’s spark plugs on a regular basis.
Changing spark plugs on a 2013 Toyota Highlander
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 accomplish a spark plug change with some regular tools you likely 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 commonplace tools that you should absolutely have in your toolbox if you do not 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 definitely 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 comes in handy for quite a few other jobs.
- A set of spark plug sockets – These come in extremely handy because many standard sockets are not deep enough for spark plugs. Additionally, 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 torque wrench is a vital tool to have in your garage. You will want to check your factory service manual to determine the correct torque rating to use when inserting the new spark plugs for your 2013 Toyota Highlander to be confident they are installed properly.
- 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 a problem. This tool can help you diagnose the exact problem.
Tips for changing spark plugs on your 2013 Toyota Highlander
Be sure to review the video above before you attempt to repair the spark plugs on your 2013 Toyota Highlander, as well as review your FSM (factory service manual). Also, see the tips included below here to help you as you complete this repair.
- First, disconnect the negative terminal of your battery. You should always disconnect the battery anytime you work on the electrical system of your Toyota Highlander or any other vehicle.
- This is not official advice 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 light coating of anti-seize to the threads of their spark plugs, especially on older vehicles.
- 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.
- You should replace spark plugs on a cold engine. Ensure you wait at least 30 minutes after any kind of operation before attempting to replace the spark plugs on your 2013 Toyota Highlander
- During this process, one of the most vital things to ensure you do 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.