Diesel often has a reputation for ruggedness and reliability, but even the most legendarily bulletproof examples need some TLC now and again. There are small things that you can do yourself to keep your diesel motor in top condition. You can add diesel fuel additives to clear gunk from your engine or top up your car with fresh oil.
You can also change your glow plugs to make your car run better. The best part is, you can quite easily do it all yourself with a couple of tools and a bit of spare time. We've put together a comprehensive guide
If you're a committed diesel fan you may also be wondering what the future holds for diesel now they're on a downward spiral. We've put together a handy guide on what your next car should be powered by.
The best glow plug removal tools
1. Stanley MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench
Before you try and do anything you'll be needing a wrench to remove the nut that holds the glow plug wire to the glow plug. We like this adjustable wrench from Stanley because it is designed to fit in small spaces, has a comfortable grip and is a quality tool. Pros:Top-quality An essential tool that everyone should ownCons:Only useful for one part of glow plug removal
2. Laser Glow Plug Socket Set 3/8"d 3pc
A handy set designed to fit the most common glow plug sizes. Offering 8mm, 10mm and 12mm sockets, these will have standard glow plugs out with ease. Made of Chrome Vanadium for durability and featuring a universal joint, they should fit even the tightest of engine bays. Pros:Great value Good quality Cons:Not the best for jammed glow plugs
3. MasterPro Damaged Glow Plug Removal Kit
It is really easy to damage a glow plug by over-tightening it when installing it. While the glow plug will still work fine when it comes to taking it out it'll be next to impossible with standard kit. Thankfully this glow plug removal kit is designed specifically to remove damaged glow plugs. Featuring a low-torque air-powered impact vibration wrench set with multiple settings, it can help remove 8mm, 10mm and 12mm glow plugs. It also comes with three impact glow plug sockets and a universal joint to make access easier. Pros:Everything you could need to remove glow plugsCons:Very expensive
4. Laser Extra Deep Socket
A basic option perfect for most jobs, this extra deep socket set will make navigating tight engine-bays easy and can be used with 10mm and 12mm glow plugs. Made of Chrome Vanadium they are a quality tool.Pros:Good value for moneyEasy to useCons:Only fits 10mm and 12mm glow plugsNo good if your glow plugs are damaged
5. HomeAutomotive ToolsVehicle Repairs & ServicingInjection & Sensor Tools Sealey 11 Piece 3/8" Drive Master Spark/Glow Plug and Oxygen Sensor Service Set
This choice won't be useful for everyone but will be a great addition to a budding mechanic or someone who owns multiple cars. Designed for glow plugs, spark plugs and oxygen sensors this kit will prove itself invaluable. Each tool is made from Chrome Vanadium and fits 8mm, 10mm and 12mm glow plugs. It also includes two extension bars and a universal joint for hard to reach areas.Pros:Do more than just glow plugsGood value for moneyCons:Only useful if you own both petrol and diesel vehicles
6. Neilsen Glow Plug Socket Pliers
A simple but effective way to remove glow plugs, these pliers can grip and remove stubborn glow plugs with ease. This tool from Neilsen is easy to use and but you'll need plenty of space to be able to use it.Pros:Good valueCons:Won't be useful in tight engine bays
7. Normfest Inject-Crack - Injector, Glow Plug and Spark Plug Loosener
This spray will penetrate and loosen a jammed glow plug. Also designed to remove injectors, heater plugs and spark plugs, it loosens rust and oxidization while also being mineral oil and silicone-free to prevent any damage being done to your engine. Pros:A very versatile thing to keep in the garageCons:Won't actively remove a glow plug for you
8. Sealey SA141 Air Impact Wrench and Diesel Glow Plug Set 1/4" Drive
Designed for use with an air compressor, this impact wrench will make removing even the most stubborn glow plugs easy. The kit fits 8 - 12mm glow plugs making it one of the most versatile products available. But remember that you'll be needing an air compressor. Pros:Remove stuck glow plugs easilyFits every glow plug size Cons:ExpensiveRequires an air compressor to work
9. Laser Glow Plug Aperture Cleaner
A more advanced step you can take when removing your glow plugs is to clean the hole once it's removed. This will get rid of deposit build-ups and make your car run smoother. This cleaner is an expensive tool but won't damage anything when you're cleaning. Pros:Clean your engine out safelyCons:Expensive Only designed for 10mm glow plugs
What you need to know about glow plug removal tools:
How do I change glow plugs?
- Disconnect your battery and locate your glow plugs (they're usually found above your cylinder but you can check your car's handbook if you aren't sure). Remove the glow plug wires from the glow plug. This will be done by removing a small nut that keeps the wire attached to the glow plug. Do this for each glow plug remembering that there will be one glow plug for each cylinder.
- Remove the glow plug using an appropriate tool (make sure you use the right size). If you find them to be overly stubborn then you might need to purchase some lubricant or a kit designed to remove damaged glow plugs.
- Once all of your glow plugs are out you'll be wanting to clean away any carbon deposits. Using a glow plug reamer or aperture cleaner, clean the glow plug hole. Also clean the electrical contact point, removing any dirt that has built up.
- Using the same tool you used to remove the old glow plugs, install the new glow plugs being careful not to over-tighten them (this will make them harder to remove next time).
- Reconnect the glow plug wires and the nut using a wrench. Then all you need to do is reconnect your battery.
What do I do if my glow plugs are stuck?
If you have to use a bicep-building level of force to remove a glow plug they might either be damaged or have been in the car for too long.
If the car has been idle for an extended period then in most instances it should simply be a case of spraying some lubricant on your glow plugs. They should then be easily removed with a standard glow plug removal tool.
If they're broken, on the other hand, then it can be a tricky affair to remove them. It is incredibly easy for a glow plug to become damaged when being installed. Over-torquing them can strip the threads, effectively locking the glow plug in place. Thankfully, there are glow plug removal kits that will help get these glow plugs out without damaging your engine.
Glow plug size guide:
The standard sizes for car glow plugs are; 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm and 12mm. Check your car's handbook to find the size your car uses and then find a glow plug removal tool that fits your glow plug.