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2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to check or replace the spark plugs in a 10th generation 2009 to 2013 Toyota Corolla with the 2ZR-FE 1.8L I4 engine.

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2010 Corolla 1.8L Motor
Pull Off Plastic Engine Cover
Toyota 2ZR-FE Engine
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 10th generation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013) Toyota Corolla in checking or changing the spark plugs in the 2ZR-FE 1.8 liter inline four cylinder engine.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, RAV4, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Allion, Premio, Auris, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, tC, xB, xD, iQ and FR-S may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this spark plug change include a 10mm socket, with a 1/4" drive ratcheting socket wrench, a 14mm spark plug socket (or a 9/16" spark plug socket would also work) with a 6" extension bar, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, dielectric "tune-up" grease, anti-seize lubricant (optional) and a spark plug gap gauge.

A few compatible spark plugs include the following with their part numbers: NGK LKAR7BIX-11S, NGK ILKAR7B11 (4912), Denso SC20HR11 or # 3444, Autolite APP5683, Toyota 90919-01275 and Pulstar Pulse gg1i.

Spark Plug Ignition Coil
Prying Up Stiff Release Tab
Slide Off Power Connector
The first step is to lift off the plastic engine cover which is held in place by four friction fasteners.

If you have access to compressed air or a wet/dry shop vacuum, thoroughly clean off the top of the engine to help reduce the chance of having debris drop in to the spark plug well.

Then press the release button on the power connector and slide it straight off the ignition coil. If you have trouble releasing the power plug, try gently prying up the locking tab on the connector with a small flathead screwdriver.

I'd recommend checking or replacing one spark plug at a time to further reduce the risk of dropping something in to the combustion cylinder.

Loosen 10mm Bolt
10mm Screw Removed
Twist Ignition Coil
Loosen the single bolt holding the ignition coil in place with a 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning it counter clockwise. Set the bolt aside in a safe place.

Gently twist the ignition coil back and forth a few times to ensure that the rubber boot is not stuck to the tip of the old spark plug.

Pull Ignition Coil Out
Attach Socket & Extension
Loosen Old Spark Plug CC
Lift the ignition coil straight out of the spark plug well and set it aside in a safe place.

Attach the 14mm spark plug socket (or a 9/16" spark plug socket) to the 6" extension bar and lower it down over the top of the spark plug.

The spark plug socket should have a rubber insert or magnet to securely hold the plug when it is removed.

Snap the 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench in place on the extension bar and gently loosen the old spark plug by turning it counter clockwise.

If the spark plug won't turn, spray in a very small amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil down into the spark plug well and wait 15-30 minutes or more before trying again.

If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying a very small amount of WD-40 into the spark plug well or just warm up the engine for a few minutes to expand the metal engine block.

Spin Out Plug By Hand
Lift Out Old Spark Plug
Spark Plug Well
Detach the ratcheting wrench and spin out the old spark plug by hand.

Lift the old spark plug out of the well and pull it out of the socket.

The OEM spark plugs on this 2010 Corolla S are part number Denso SC20HR11 (also known as # 3444).

I chose to buy a four pack of the NGK LKAR7BIX-11S iridium spark plugs for our car and I changed the original plugs at just over 95,000 miles.

If the end of the old spark plug looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures such as engine overheating or they are the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions and/or environment.

If the old spark plugs are dark grey or covered in black soot, the engine may be burning oil and should be checked out by a professional mechanic.

Lower In New Spark Plug
Spin In New Spark Plug
Tighten New Spark Plug
The new iridium tipped spark plugs should be pre-gapped at 0.044" from the factory. It is still a good idea to check that the gap is correct using a spark plug gap gauge disc.

If the gap is not very close to 0.044", exchange the plug for a new one.

Push the new spark plug in to the spark plug socket and make sure that the rubber insert or magnet holds it securely.

An optional step is to apply a tiny amount of anti-seize lubricant to the upper threads of the new spark plug. This will make the plugs easier to remove if they are not replaced again for another 100,000 miles. Do not get any anti-seize on the electrode tip at the bottom of the new spark plug.

Carefully lower the new spark plug down in to the well while trying to avoid hitting the electrode tip on the cylinder block.

Spin in the new spark plug by hand until it makes contact with the cylinder head to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Then attach the ratcheting wrench and carefully continue tightening the new plug until just past the point when you feel the crush washer at the top of the threads collapse.

If you applied anti-seize lubricant to the threads, less force will be necessary to tighten the plugs.

Do not over tighten the plugs to avoid cracking the ceramic part of the plug or stripping the aluminum threads in the cylinder head!

If you insist on using a torque wrench, the service manual specification for tightening the spark plugs is 11 lb-ft is you applied anti-seize to the threads or 18 lb-ft if the threads are dry.

I prefer to just tighten the plugs by hand until they are snug.

Apply Dielectric Grease
Lower In Ignition Coil
Rotate Coil - Spread Grease
Double check that the spark plug is tight before continuing on to the next steps.

Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the opening of the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil.

This will help prevent it from becoming stuck to the tip of the new spark plug and keep out moisture.

Lower the ignition coil down over the tip of the new spark plug and twist it a few times to distribute the dielectric grease.

Insert 10mm Screw
Tighten With 10mm Socket
Push On Power Connector
Insert the ignition coil screw and spin it in a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten it with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight.

Do not over tighten the bolt or you risk cracking the plastic body of the ignition coil.

Slide the power connector straight on to the ignition coil until it snaps in to place.

Spark Plugs Replaced
Press On Engine Cover
Engine Cover Replaced
Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds. If all goes well, push on the engine cover and close the hood to complete the job.

For more, check out my other Corolla DIY tutorials at the links below -

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides

2003-2008 Toyota Corolla DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides

2014-2019 Toyota Corolla DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides

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