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Toyota RAV4 Engine Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to change the engine spark plugs in a 4th generation 2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 with the 2AR-FE 2.5L I4 motor.

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2013 RAV4 2.5L I4 Engine
Pull Off Plastic Engine Cover
Rubber Friction Fasteners
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and maybe also the refreshed 2017 model year) Toyota RAV4 SUV in checking or changing the engine spark plugs in the 2AR-FE 2.5 liter inline four cylinder motor.

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

The OEM spark plugs in this 2013 RAV4 are Denso brand part number SK16HR11 (3417) Iridium.

A few other compatible replacement spark plugs for the 2.5L I4 motor with their part numbers are as follows: NGK LFR5AIX-11 (4469) or 5018, Bosch (9609) FR8MII33X, Pulstar dg1i, Autolite APP5325 and Champion REC12WMPB5 (9055).

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket, a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a 5/8" spark plug socket, a 6" extension bar, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench and a tube of dielectric grease.

Clean Off Top of Engine
Ignition Coil
Press Release Tab
The first two steps are to open the hood and then pull off the plastic engine cover.

Set the engine cover aside in a safe place.

If you have access to compressed air or a wet/dry shop vacuum, thoroughly clean off the top of the engine to help prevent from having debris fall down in to the cylinders.

I'd recommend only checking or changing one spark plug at a time to further reduce the risk of having something fall down in to the engine.

Press the release tab on the black plastic electrical connector attached to the rear of the ignition coil.

Gently Pry Up Retaining Clip
Pull Off Electrical Connector
Loosen Counterclockwise
If you have trouble lifting the retaining clip, use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry it up.

Slide the power plug straight off the ignition coil pack.

Loosen the single bolt that holds the ignition coil in place by rotating it counterclockwise with the 10mm socket and 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

Remove 10mm Bolt
Rotate Back & Forth
Pull Out Ignition Coil Pack
Set the 10mm ignition coil bolt aside in a safe place.

Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to make sure that the rubber dust boot is not stuck or "frozen" to the top of the old spark plug.

Lift the ignition coil straight out of the spark plug well and set it aside in a safe place.

Old Spark Plug In Well
5/8" Spark Plug Socket
Loosen Counterclockwise
Attach the 5/8" spark plug socket to the 6 inch extension bar and the 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Lower the 5/8" socket over the top of the old spark plug.

Gently loosen the old spark by rotating it counterclockwise.

Try to avoid using excessive force to loosen the old spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic portion of the plug.

If you have trouble loosening the old spark plug, spray a small amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil and wait at least 15 to 30 minutes before attempting to loosen it again. If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying some WD-40 or warm up the engine for a few minutes to help expand the metal engine block.


Spin Out Old Plug By Hand
Lift Out Old Spark Plug
Denso # SK16HR11
Once the old spark plug is loose, detach the ratcheting wrench and spin it out the rest of the way by hand.

Lift the old spark plug out of the well and detach it from the socket

Carefully inspect the old spark plug.

If the electrode end of the old spark plug looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures due to overheating or they might be the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions or environment.

On the other hand, if the old spark plug is grey or covered in dark black soot, the engine may be burning oil and should be examined by a professional mechanic.

(An optional step is to apply some anti-seize grease to the threads on the spark plug. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that you should not use anti-seize grease since it can lead to over tightening. Some mechanics believe that using anti-seize grease on the spark plugs will help prevent them from becoming stuck or "frozen" in to the cylinder head if they are not removed again for another 100,000 miles.)

If you have a spark plug gap gauge, check that the new spark plugs are gapped to the manufacturer's specification listed on the side of the box. They should already be pre-set from the factory.

Lower In New Spark Plug
Spin In Clockwise
Tighten With Wrench
The OEM spark plugs in this 2013 RAV4 were Denso brand part number SK16HR11 Iridium (Gap 0.043" or 1.1mm).

Push a new spark plug in to the socket and carefully lower it down in to the well.

Your spark plug socket should have either a rubber insert or a strong magnet to hold the new plug securely in place.

Spin in the new spark plug in the clockwise direction by hand until it makes contact with the cylinder head.

If you are re-installing the old spark plug, tighten it to just a very small fraction of a turn past hand tight.

If you are installing a brand new spark plug, tighten it to just past the point when you feel the new crush washer collapse.

If you have a very sensitive and reliable torque wrench, the service manual specification for tightening the new spark plugs is 18 lb-ft (or 25 Nm).

Do not over tighten the spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic body or stripping the aluminum threads.

Double check that the new spark plug is tight before moving on to the next step.

Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that you do NOT use anti-seize on the threads since it can easily lead to over tightening. If you do apply anti-seize to the new spark plugs, use less torque to tighten them. I've read that NGK recommends using 30% less torque when using anti-seize which would be 12.6 lb-ft (or just set your torque wrench to 13 lb-ft).

Apply Dielectric Grease
Lower In Ignition Coil
Rotate - Spread Grease
Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the opening in the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil.

The dielectric grease will help keep out any moisture and prevent corrosion.

Lower the ignition coil in to the cylinder well and rotate it back and forth a few times to help spread the dielectric grease.

Re-Insert 10mm Bolt
Tighten Clockwise
Push On Power Plug
Re-insert the 10mm bolt in to the ignition coil and tighten it in the clockwise direction until it is snug.

The service manual specification for tightening the ignition coil bolts is 7 lb-ft (or 10 Nm).

Try to avoid over tightening the 10mm bolt to prevent from cracking the plastic ignition coil housing.

Push the electrical connector straight on to the ignition coil until it clicks securely in to place.

Electrical Connector Replaced
Push On Engine Cover
Spark Plugs Replaced
Line up the rubber friction fasteners on the underside of the engine cover with the metal pegs on the top of the engine.

Gently push the engine cover back in to place.

Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds which may indicate a problem such as a disconnected power plug or a loose spark plug.

Be sure to record the spark plug change in your SUV's service records.

According to the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual the service interval for the iridium spark plugs is 120,000 miles or 144 months.

For more, check out my other 2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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