If you’ve got a gasoline engine, you’ve got spark plugs. From race cars to lawn mowers, if it has a gas engine, sooner or later, you’ll also have to change your plugs. Sometimes this is as easy as popping off the spark plug wire and using a box end wrench. Most of the time, however, you’re going to need a deep socket to get the job done. Not just any deep well socket will do the trick though…
Spark plugs might look very robust since they have no moving parts, but the truth is that they are pretty fragile. The ceramic portion of the plug can crack easily if you drop the plug, especially on hard surfaces. Many times you won’t be able to see the crack right away, so you’ll install a bad plug and find out you have a misfire as a result!
Fortunately, there is an easy way to change spark plugs, and all you’ll need a spark plug socket. From the outside, these sockets look like any ordinary deep well socket. But look down inside, and you’ll see a rubber ring designed to hold the spark plug securely in the socket, eliminating the chance of the spark plug being dropped while installing it.
Once you use a spark plug socket for the first time, you’ll never go back. Unfortunately, different engines use spark plugs of different sizes, and you’re going to need several different spark plug sockets if you want to be able to work on a variety of cars. But no need to worry – spark plug sockets can be bought in sets, and if you’re smart about which set you buy, they don’t have to be expensive!
Normally, you aren’t going to need extremely small or large spark plug sockets. Sure, there are engines out there that you might come across that will require a ridiculously large spark plug. For the most part though, there are really only 5 sockets that you’re going to need in order to change spark plugs in pretty much all modern passenger vehicles. Every once in a while you’ll need a thin walled socket for certain special cars (such as 80’s BMW M cars) but it’s not that common.
For almost all import and domestic cars and trucks, 5/8”, ¾”, 13/16”, 14mm, and 18mm spark plug sockets are all you’ll need to get the job done.
The Best Spark Plug Sockets
Of course they aren’t. If all spark plug sockets were the same, it wouldn’t matter which set you bought. They would all be the same quality and they’d all cost the same amount of money. The fact is, there are great spark plug sockets and there are junk spark plug sockets. Fortunately, we found a hidden gem in a pile of rocks, and it isn’t from a company you would expect it to be from.
The best spark plug socket set is the Powerbuilt 640855 3/8” Drive Spark Plug Socket Set, which can be bought for less than a case of beer. They are a rock solid value and should already be in your tool box if you don’t have a set of spark plug sockets. These sockets are built to last. The company serves customers on literally every single continent and that’s hard to do if you are making junk.
The sockets feature the spark plug standard 6 point deep well socket with a rubber retaining ring. We found the retaining ring to be the perfect size to hold the plug securely. The thing about these retaining rings is that if they are too lose, they won’t be any better than a standard deep socket. On the other hand, if they are too tight, the socket can lock to the plug and make it really difficult to get the socket off the plug, which can be a problem on engines with spark plugs sunk down in the cylinder head. They also meet ANSI standards, meaning they are size matched appropriately to their respective bolt sizes (unlike cheap tools with poor tolerances that will sometimes be oversized and result in rounded off corners.
One more thing we love about these extremely well priced beauties is the lifetime warranty that comes with them. It is hard to find a problem with a great tool at a great price with a lifetime warranty, and that is exactly why we are naming the Powerbuilt set as the best spark plug sockets on the market today.
As far as where to buy, Amazon typically has very competitive pricing on account of their free shipping deal. That’s where we’d recommend buying from. Overall, we think you’ll be extremely satisfied with the Powerbuilt spark plug sockets and give them a solid recommendation. Happy wrenching!