Dear Auto Frankie,
My Acura MDX failed to start on my way to a very important PTA meeting, and I was all alone at that time to figure it out. The minute I popped the hood open, I was baffled with all the wirings and I really did not know where to begin inspecting, since my husband usually does these things. Luckily my neighbor was kind enough to drop by and lend me a hand, and he suspected that the spark plug wires failed. Can you give me some friendly tips (meaning, in the simplest terms that a mother like me would understand) on how to change it? Thank you very much.
–Annie James, IL
Sure Annie, no problem at all, Frankie’s got you covered.
Your engine is made complex by all the tubings and wires that are specifically crafted to make the engine operation possible. First of all, you should know that one of the main suspects for a failed engine start is really the spark plug wires. Try popping up your hood again. The spark plug wires are the ones that are fit into the cylinder heads of the engine. If your car is new, this will probably have four cylinders. This means four spark plug wires for you, which can be colored either black, blue, red, or orange. The spark plug wire acts as the main component that ignites the compressed gas of the engine to make it start. This is why spark plug wires are very vital to the operation of the vehicle.
Usually, replacing spark plug wires should come with the 30,000-mile tune-up. In your case, Annie, you can go to your local auto parts dealer, or just shop online to find great deals such as the Acura Spark Plug Wires to replace your old worn-out ones. Once at hand, check and inspect the wires. If they are not labeled as “1”, “2”, etc, then lay them out according to their length. Here are the steps on how to replace them:
Replacing Spark Plugs
- Start at one end of the engine and remove only the first spark plug wire. Be sure to pull on the boot, or the end of the plug wire until it pops off. You don’t need any tools to do this, you can use your hands, but make sure it wouldn’t chip off your manicure. *wink
- Follow the wire to its other end and locate where it is plugged into the distributor cap. Remove the wire from the distributor cap by pulling on the end of the wire. After the plugs have been removed, hold them up and check for heavy deposits, or if the core nose is damaged. This confirms a bad spark plug that needs to be replaced. A healthy one will be lightly coated with grayish brown deposits only.
- Replace the old spark plugs with the new ones you’ve bought. Match each with the same length or number. The plug wire will make a quiet “pop” when it snaps on the spark plug. Your MDX probably has small slots to hold the wires in place so that they don’t rub against each other, or on any other part of the engine. Make sure to put the plug wires back to their corresponding slots.
- Do the same with the next spark plug wire. Remember to take one off and replace it ONE AT A TIME, until you’ve replaced all the wires.
Thank you for writing Annie, hope I helped you out.