How to Change Spark Plugs on a 2016 Subaru Outback: A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Vehicle Performance

Performing basic car maintenance on your own might seem daunting, but it’s an excellent way to save money and learn more about your beloved vehicle. One of the easiest tasks you can tackle is changing the spark plugs, a vital component in keeping your 2016 Subaru Outback running efficiently. In this article, we’ll provide a simple, step-by-step guide to changing spark plugs on your Subaru Outback, and highlight some of the benefits of doing so.

Benefits of Changing Spark Plugs in a 2016 Subaru Outback

Before delving into the process of changing your car’s spark plugs, you might be wondering why you should do it in the first place. Here are some benefits of changing spark plugs:

  • Cost-saving: Changing spark plugs yourself is inexpensive and saves on labor costs.
  • Improved vehicle performance: Failing spark plugs can cause reduced engine power, which impacts acceleration and fuel efficiency.
  • Increased engine efficiency: Worn-out spark plugs can’t burn fuel effectively, leading to increased fuel consumption and emissions.

What You’ll Need

Before starting the process, prepare the following tools:

  • Spark plug socket
  • Socket extension
  • Ratchet
  • Spark plug gap gauge
  • Dielectric grease (recommended)
  • New spark plugs (refer to your vehicle’s manual for specifications)
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Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Spark Plugs

  1. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool before working on it.
  2. Locate the spark plugs. In a Subaru Outback, they’re located on top of the engine, under the engine cover.
  3. Remove the engine cover by unclipping or unscrewing it, depending on the model.
  4. Remove the first spark plug by gently unscrewing it with the spark plug socket attached to the extension and the ratchet. Turn it counterclockwise to remove it. Be careful not to damage the threads or the porcelain of the plug while removing it.
  5. Measure the gap on the old spark plug (the space between the central electrode and ground electrode at the tip of the spark plug) using the spark plug gap gauge.
  6. Check the gap specification in your owner’s manual, and adjust the gap on the new spark plug, if necessary, using the gap gauge tool.
  7. Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the metal threads of the new spark plug to prevent sticking and extend the life of the plug.
  8. Insert the new spark plug in the hole and hand-tighten it until it is snug. Then, use the ratchet to tighten it further with a clockwise motion, but don’t overtighten, as it can cause damage.
  9. Repeat this process for the remaining spark plugs, making sure to use the correct torque settings for your vehicle’s model. Refer to your vehicle’s manual for the specific torque values.
  10. Reattach the engine cover and reconnect any hoses or wires you disconnected before.
  11. Start the engine and make sure it runs smoothly. If you notice any problems, double-check that the spark plugs have been installed correctly.
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Q: How often should I change the spark plugs in my 2016 Subaru Outback?

A: Subaru recommends changing the spark plugs in your Outback every 60,000 miles.

Q: Can I use any brand of spark plugs in my Subaru Outback?

A: It is essential to use the spark plugs recommended by the manufacturer. Consult your owner’s manual or a certified Subaru mechanic to ensure you purchase the correct type.

Q: How do I know if my spark plugs need to be changed?

A: Common signs of worn or faulty spark plugs include reduced engine power, misfires, slower acceleration, decreased fuel efficiency, and difficulty starting the engine.


Changing spark plugs in your 2016 Subaru Outback is a simple task that can yield significant benefits in terms of vehicle performance and efficiency. By following the steps outlined above and using the recommended tools and materials, you can tackle this DIY project with confidence and keep your Subaru running smoothly.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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