Have you checked the spark plugs and you’ve noticed oil in spark plug well? If this is the case and you are finding yourself in this really uncomfortable situation, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover when it comes to this topic.
Having a problem like this with oil in the spark plug well is something that nobody wants. Firstly, because your spark plugs are trashed instantly and you will have to replace them. That’s certain. But the main uncertainty is the root cause of this problem. And we are interested in finding the culprit for this problem.
This is why you need to learn all of the causes for this issue on your car. But first, we will elaborate on the symptoms. This will be the case because a ton of people are unaware that they have oil in spark plug well and need to learn how the car will behave in this situation. After that, we will come to the causes and the diagnostics process.
Finally, we will discuss how much will cost you to sort out this problem permanently on your car. Which in some cases is not cheap at all. So, you need to be really careful when it comes to these things because fixing them can be a pain. So, if you want to learn how to tackle this problem, follow along.
What Is Oil In Spark Plug Well?
Now before we learn the symptoms of running oil in spark plugs well, let’s first learn what is this problem in the first place. Because people who are not familiar with this occurrence might be really confused trying to figure it out. So, what is oil in spark plug well?
Well, this is a situation where the valve cover tube seals fail and oil starts to drip down into the plug holes.
Imagine that between the engine head and the valve cover there is a rubber gasket. And for each of these spark plug holes, there are circular gaskets known as tube seals that make the right seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head.
What happens is that this rubber seal or gasket can fail and when it fails if this is the circular part where the plug lies, you can expect the oil to start dripping inside of the spark plug well. So, consequently, you will end up with this problem.
These leaks can be really big and cause a ton of issues down the way. So, you need to be especially cautious when it comes to problems like these and make sure that you tackle them in time in order to prevent some permanent damage to be done. But how serious is this problem with oil in spark plug well? Well, that’s what we are going to cover next.
How Serious Is This Problem With Oil In Spark Plug Well?
Before we learn more about the symptoms that you will face when you have oil in spark plug well, let’s first take a look at the level of concern when it comes to this problem.
This is not something big of a deal, to be honest. Sometimes these gaskets leak a little bit of oil and the only solution will be to replace them.
But if I were you, I will do this sooner than later because this oil should not be there in the first place. So, be really aware when it comes to issues like these.
These problems can easily damage your ignition coils, spark plugs, and can even enter the cylinders of your engine.
So, whenever this problem occurs. You will have a ton of dirt caused by this oil inside of your engine and sludge that is a pain to remove. So, be really aware of these things.
And when you consider that a new valve cover gasket with new tube seals is only $20 or less, I think it doesn’t worth the risk of running your engine like this and risking the health of your engine for something this cheap. That’s my two cents on this problem when it comes to whether or not you should be concerned.
Now let’s dive into the symptoms of oil in spark plug well and learn what are the common situations that you will face when there is oil in the spark plug well.
Oil In Spark Plug Well Symptoms
Now let’s get to business and learn more about the oil in spark plug well symptoms and cover what you will experience when you are having this issue.
I bet that since you are aware of this problem, you recognize some of these symptoms. But there are people who are experiencing these types of symptoms and it is the last thing on their minds to check these components on their car.
Knowing the symptoms will help you understand how this problem with the bad tube seals on the valve cover is affecting your car and causing different symptoms. So, if you want to learn more about the oil in spark plug well symptoms, follow along.
1. Check Engine Light
Now let’s start with the oil in spark plug well symptoms and learn more on what are the possible symptoms when you have an issue like this.
The first thing that we would like to cover is the check engine light. The check engine light will be present if you have oil in spark plug well. But why this will be the case?
Well, this will be the case because the ignition coil is probably soaked in the engine oil. And this is not a good situation for your coil.
The coil will not work as it should. So, there will be problems with the ignition coil on your car. In some more extreme cases, the oil can crawl down into the cylinder and also foul the spark plug in the process. Double trouble.
So, when this happens, you not only you will get misfire codes such as the P0300, P0301, P0302, etc. You will also get codes for the respective ignition coil that is affected. More precisely the cylinder that has oil in spark plug well. These codes range from P0350 up to P0364.
What is worth noting is that the ignition coil codes definitions are marked with letters instead of a number so finding the right coil can be a bit tricky. But you should figure it out. Now let’s move to the next symptom.
2. Engine Misfires
The second frequent symptom of oil in spark plug well is the situation with the engine misfires, oil in spark plug well causes a misfire. But why is this the case and what are misfires in general?
Well, a misfire in simple words is a failed combustion. The ignition of the fuel is either premature or delayed. So, when a situation like this is happening inside of the engine we can say that the engine is misfiring. The engine will shake and the exhaust will start to pop. But why is this the case?
Well, this is the case, mainly because your plug wires or ignition coils are plunged in oil. The oil wells are somewhat full and the power is not transferring correctly to the spark plug. So, when the spark plug doesn’t work. The fuel will highly likely be ignited by the high compression and this will be delayed combustion.
The misfires as we mentioned previously, can be diagnosed with an OBD2 scanner. This tool will basically save your life when it comes to this stuff. Now let’s move to the next symptom.
3. Rough Idle
The third most in our list of oil in spark plug well symptoms is the situation with the rough engine idle. So, why is this the case?
Whenever there are misfires inside of the cylinder, your engine will struggle to run properly. The misfires will create this rough idle situation.
You will start noticing how the needle on the tachometer moves up and down all the time and fluctuate. There will not be a smooth ride at all. So, when you start experiencing misfires you should remove the ignition coils and check the spark plugs.
If the spark plugs are soaked in oil, then you will highly likely be having a problem with oil in spark plug well and this problem needs to be sorted out as soon as possible if you want to prevent further damage to your engine and end up stranded with a car that doesn’t run at all.
4. Low Engine Oil
The fourth in our list of oil in spark plug well symptoms is the low engine oil. The engine will run really low when you have a leak like this.
You will notice how the oil levels will drop a bit when it comes to a problem like this. But why is this the case?
Well, this will be the case because the oil basically will escape from the tube seals. So, if you have one or more rings affected on your engine you could lose some of the oil and the engine will be down on oil a bit.
Not that serious. But you will have to top off the oil whenever you decide on fixing the problem with the oil in spark plug well. And recommend you do that promptly if you want to avoid some engine damage because of this low oil level. There will be increased friction inside of the engine and who knows what could happen. This is why you need to address the problem sooner than later.
5. Oil Pressure Light Or Gauge Low
Another thing that you might experience when you have oil in spark plug well is the situation when you have low oil pressure light or the gauge is barely at the minimum. But why this could happen to you?
Well, the short answer is because of leaks of air inside of your system. As you know, you have the PCV system for the engine ventilation. But now when you have a leaky tube seal on the spark plug, you also allow more air to get sucked into the engine.
This could cause you to notice some symptoms such as low or high oil pressure and other symptoms associated with this problem.
The valve cover gasket and the tube seals are one of the most important components that need to be always in check if you want to avoid some of the symptoms that will come as a consequence of this problem.
So, if you notice a drop in pressure, oil light, and similar things, you should check the PCV valve as well as the spark plug wells to see if you have some oil in spark plug well and if some of your rings do not seal well.
6. Fouled Spark Plugs
The next in our list of oil in spark plug well symptoms is the situation with the fouled spark plug. This is the case because oil can creep in from the top of the engine into the cylinder.
Sometimes there is no perfect seal between the spark plug and the cylinder head and the oil can drip on the spark plug and cause it to foul.
Oil on spark plug threads will be present as well as oil on the electrode. Sometimes the spark plug is covered in oil situation. This greatly depends on the level of oil that will fall down into the spark plug well.
So, beware of this if you don’t want to have problems with burning oil like in this case. Checking the condition of the spark plugs here and there should be a good idea for you to implement. This way you will be aware that you have oil in plug well and prevent the engine damage to be even greater. Now let’s move on to the last symptom.
7. Soaked Ignition Coils
The last in our list of oil in spark plug well symptoms is the situation when you have soaked spark plug coils or wires.
When the tube seals are starting to fail, there will be a ton of oil that will leak down into the spark plug well and this oil will soak the ignition coils with oil.
This engine oil should not be there and you should be really concerned because of this problem. Mainly because these ignition coils can start to malfunction and if they become faulty, they are really expensive to replace. But what is the main cause for oil in spark plug well? Well, that’s what we are going to answer next.
Causes For Oil In Spark Plug Well
So, what is the main cause for the oil in spark plug well? The main cause for this problem in 99.9% of the cases is the tube seals that are installed between the valve cover and the cylinder head.
So, whenever you have oil in spark plug well, it means that one of these ring gaskets has failed and is allowing oil to sip in and foul your plugs and ruin your ignition coils.
In some applications, these ring gaskets are part of the valve cover gasket, while in some applications they are separate.
Either way, whenever you have to replace these rings for the spark plugs, you also need to replace the valve cover gasket. Because once this valve cover gasket is removed, it cannot be reused, in these situations, the oil will start to drip from the sides. Another problem besides the oil in spark plug well.
How To Diagnose & Fix Oil In Spark Plug Well
So, we came to the important bit and that is the diagnostics process as well as the repairs needed for this problem with oil in spark plug well to be solved. How you can tell that you have a problem with oil in the spark plug wells?
The only way to notice this will require a diagnostics process to be performed on your car. If on the OBD2 scanner you get codes that indicate misfires, you should check that specific cylinder. Or check all of them if you want. It is really easy to do so.
The only thing you will have to do in order to diagnose the problem manually is to remove the cover from the top of the engine and then remove the coils one by one. When you remove the coils, make sure that you align them in the same exact order.
Then once the coils are removed, you will be able to inspect them and if they are all oily and greasy then you definitely have problems with the tube seals.
The next thing will be replacing these tube seals as well as the valve cover gasket. Depending on the design of the engine. Some gaskets include these ring tube seals. Some do not. So, it is up to your engine in most cases.
Get replacement parts and then replace the seals as well as the valve cover gaskets. You can see how this procedure is done in the video above. After performing this work, no more oil in spark plug well.
Cost To Fix Oil In Spark Plug Well
So, what is the cost to fix oil in spark plug well? The cost to fix this problem is relatively low. This is the case because these plug tube seals are only costing a few dollars.
Along with the valve cover gasket you cannot expect to pay more than $30 for the parts alone. The repair on the other hand if you go to a shop, could cost you about $200 or so. This is the case because replacing these components takes some time and time is money. So, you can expect to pay some money to get it done at a shop.
Or if you are a DIY guy like I am, you can do this in your garage. But still, you will need some tooling that is needed for the removal of the valve cover in order to get to these seals and fix the problem.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the oil in spark plug well. First, we learned more about the problem and we elaborated on it in depth.
Then we have covered all of the symptoms associated with this problem as well as the causes of this issue. After that, we learned how we can fix the problem quickly and effectively and at what cost.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Causes Oil In Spark Plug Well
This problem is caused by bad tube seals. Each spark plug has a tube seal which is something like a gasket that is there to prevent these types of leaks. And what happens is that these tube seals fail and you have oil in the well.
Why Is There Oil In My Spark Plug Well
There is oil because you have leaky tube seals. The seals that are there for the purpose of preventing oil to escape have failed, so consequently, you have oil in the wells. The only solution to this problem would be to replace these rubber seals and the valve cover gasket and fix the issue permanently.
Is It Bad To Have Oil In Spark Plug Well
Yes, it is bad to have oil in these wells. This is the case because this oil can possibly harm the work of the spark plug. The ignition coils will get soaked in oil and you will have a problem with frequent misfires and other unpleasant symptoms.
Should There Be Oil In Spark Plug Well
No, there should not be oil in the plug well. Whenever you notice something like this, it is really important for you to act quickly and replace the plug tube seals and the valve cover gasket to avoid damage being done to the coils.
How To Get Oil Out Of Spark Plug Well
Removing this is possible with a microfiber towel. Just place it inside and will get soaked in the oil and there will be no more oil. But this doesn’t mean that you will not face this problem again. The oil will still continue getting into the well until you replace the plug tube seals.
How To Fix Oil In Spark Plug Well
Fixing this permanently is only possible by replacing the plug tube seals. These are rubber rings that sit between the engine head and the valve cover. When you replace these seals the problem will be solved permanently.