The best way to sidestep the Chevy Cruze ignition coil problem is to not touch it. Most people run into this issue when they attempt to replace the spark plugs on their Chevrolet Spark and Cruze models.
After making my rounds and doing some research I find a large misconception about when to replace these maintenance items.
According to the official simplified maintenance guide from Chevrolet, these spark plugs will not require replacement until the vehicle reaches 97,500 miles.This is amazing, but I've found they can go even further than that.
In fact, I recommend leaving things alone unless you have a rough running engine. Of course, if you’re setting misfire check engine light codes then you won't be able to wait. We'll talk more about this issue in the ignition coil symptoms section below.
Also included in this brief article covering the Chevy Cruze ignition coil problem, we'll discuss the repair procedure. This remains one of those pretty darn easy repairs that falls within the skill level of many DIY minded individuals.
Unlike the coolant leak in the Chevrolet Cruze the ignition coil makes an excellent first time do-it-yourself auto repair. For this reason, we'll include the two inexpensive tools you might want to pick up before you start the operation. Hint: you need a Torx 30 size socket to remove the ignition coil.
The reason why the Chevy Cruze ignition coil fails is because it doesn't want to come out. More specifically, the rubber boot gets fused the ceramic portion of the spark plugs.
If I’m fortunate enough to reach you before breaking the boot, you might be able to stop this from happening. We'll talk more about this in the repair procedure below.
This is another reason that I stress, you shouldn't replace the spark plugs until they reach their recommended maintenance interval of 97,500 miles. Since the tune-up costs you an extra $90 if you rip or break a spark plug boot, why do it early?
Sidebar: Chevrolet let us down here. When manufacturers apply liberal amounts of dielectric grease to the inside surface of the spark plug boots it stops it from sticking to the porcelain of the spark plugs.
On the Chevrolet 4 cylinder engines I've worked on, I see, in some cases only a small amount of this tune up grease. In other words, they skimped on this probably to save money.
With that said, sometimes owners of the Chevrolet Cruze are forced to replace the spark plugs earlier than the recommended maintenance mileage. Sometimes the spark plugs wear out prematurely. Then you experience a rough idle, bucking, poor fuel economy and a lack of power.
All of these symptoms stem from a spark plug not firing correctly. As you can imagine, if you have a four-cylinder engine with one or more cylinders malfunctioning the problem needs dealing with right away.
When these engines misfire on one or more cylinders they set check engine light computer trouble codes. The random misfire code is P0300. If an individual cylinder misfires it sets a designated code for that hole. Example, if the number one cylinder misfires it sets a code P0301. If number 2 cylinder is the one with the issue it sets a code P0302.
The ignition coil is under a small plastic panel on the center of the valve cover. This plastic panel says Ecotec on it. It's held on by pressure clips and snaps off. From a tools point of view you'll need a Torx number 30 size bit to remove the two retaining bolts from the coil. If you're replacing the spark plugs you'll need a 5/8 size spark plug socket.
If you're reading this before you attempted to remove the ignition coil congratulations. There’s a chance that you can get the coil pack assembly out without breaking the boot. However, don't feel bad if you do rip a boot, because I've done it a few times myself.
Sometimes it just won't come loose. Giving it the old college try includes a lot of wiggling and pulling. More of the wiggling then the upward pulling become necessary to work the boots loose. A quick note about the electrical connector. There is a red safety lock that stops the connection from coming loose.
You need to slide the lock to the left before pushing down on the release button. You don't want to break this electrical connector. Although there's a lot of videos on how to replace the Chevy Cruze ignition coil I see they missed some critical steps recommended by professional mechanics.
After you get the coils off of the spark plugs you'll see they fit down deep inside of a tunnel. Before you remove the spark plugs you need to try and blow any dirt or sand out from around the spark plug. How much collects really depends on the driving conditions in your area.
If you're a city slicker you might not have any dirt in the spark plug tunnels at all. Although you don't want these sand and dirt particles inside the engine it's more important to keep the aluminum spark plug threads clean. Since you probably don't have a shop compressor, you can use those compressed air dusters for computers in a pinch.
I have a couple of notations to think about before you reinstall the Chevy Cruze ignition coil pack. The original spark plugs lasted about 97,000 miles.
If you replace these with Iridium high performance spark plugs you'll probably never have to do the job again. One more thing about these four-cylinder spark plugs, they thread into an aluminum cylinder head.
Don't crush them when you tighten it down, because you can damage the cylinder head threads by over tightening them. If you decide to go with the cheaper two dollar plugs make sure you get some dielectric tune up grease. This stuff is cheap and keeps moisture out. A $5 tube lasts me 10 years.
Try using a small detail paintbrush to apply a liberal coating inside of the coil to spark plug boots. This is what the factory should’ve done in the first place. But I digress.
Nevertheless, it should provide you the edge you need to remove the ignition coil rail assembly without breaking the fragile boots on the next tune up and maintenance interval.
If you're reading this and you know somebody with a Chevrolet Cruze, do them a favor and point them to this page so they can learn about the situation before they attempt to replace the spark plugs for the first time.