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Ignition Cable Spark Plug Wires Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your ignition cable (spark plug wires) replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your ignition cable (spark plug wires) replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does an ignition cable replacement cost?

The average total cost for a spark plug wire replacement is $156, including $49 for parts and $107 for labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model.
The total parts cost includes new ignition cables, but may extend to a replacement ignition switch, a new set of ignition coils, and several pairs of spark plugs as well. As for the labor costs, it takes around 0.9 hours hours for a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle, diagnose the problem, and complete a ignition cable/spark plug wires replacement.
Here’s how much you’ll pay to replace the ignition cables in some popular vehicle models:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
June 11, 2024
Geo Metro
$93
$49
$44
0.4 Hours
June 8, 2024
GMC Envoy
$74
$37
$37
0.3 Hours
June 5, 2024
Mercedes-Benz E
$77
$37
$40
0.3 Hours
June 2, 2024
Dodge Grand Caravan
$95
$49
$46
0.4 Hours
May 30, 2024
Infiniti QX50
$74
$37
$38
0.3 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do you need for an ignition cable replacement?

There are three main types of ignition system. From oldest to newest, they are: the “contact breaker” (or “breaker point”) ignition system, the electronic ignition system, and the distributorless ignition system. Only the distributorless ignition system lacks spark plug wires.
As for the first two, here are some of the major components they have in common:
  1. The
    ignition switch
    ($5-$2,800) completes the ignition system circuit and fires up the engine when you turn the key or push the ignition switch. Hitting the ignition switch again will interrupt the circuit and shut down the engine.
  2. The
    car battery
    ($90-$700) supplies the raw power in the ignition system. When the circuit is completed by the switch, the car battery sends a low-voltage current toward the ignition coils.
  3. The
    ignition coils
    ($15-$910) transform the 12-14V current of the car battery into 60-120,000 volts of raw power. The distributor or distributor caps use either breaker points or pickup coils to time the bursts of electricity it sends to the spark plugs.
  4. Ignition cables, or spark plug wires, ($4-$805) are present in both breaker-point and electronic ignition systems. They pass the voltage created by the ignition coils and timed by the distributor to the spark plugs.
  5. Spark plugs
    ($2-$65) shoot a high-voltage bolt of power across a small gap in each of the vehicle engine’s cylinders, igniting the mixture of air and fuel inside at just the right time. These electrical explosions bring your car’s engine to life like a mechanical Frankenstein.
Keep in mind Depending on your vehicle’s ignition system, you might require new spark plugs, ignition coils, pickup coils, or breaker points to get it started again.
You can buy all the parts you need at auto part stores such as AutoZone or NAPA Auto Parts. You could also purchase them online from websites such as Amazon and eBay. 
Some popular brands of ignition switches are Standard Motor Products, ACDelco, and Dorman. For car batteries, Optima, ACDelco and DieHard are reputable brands. When shopping for an ignition control module, you may want to consider ACDelco, Standard Motor Products and Delphi. Bosch, Delphi and ACDelco are recommended ignition coil brands, and NGK Denso and ACDelco are recommended ignition cable/spark plug wire brands. NGK, Denso and Bosch are popular spark plug brands. The correct parts for your vehicle depend on the type of vehicle you drive. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to ensure you’re purchasing the proper parts. 
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts cost much more than aftermarket parts but often include better warranties. For example, if a certified Toyota mechanic installs genuine spark plug wires in your car, you’ll get a 24-month/25,000-mile warranty. On the other hand, an aftermarket spark plug wire set will do the same job at a lower price.
You can buy replacement parts at auto parts shops, dealerships, or online stores like Autozone or Amazon. If you prefer OEM parts, you can also try your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Check your owner’s manual for any crucial specifications so you don’t buy the wrong part.
Some popular brands of ignition switches are Standard Motor Products, ACDelco, and Dorman. For car batteries, Optima, ACDelco and DieHard are reputable brands. When shopping for an ignition control module, you may want to consider ACDelco, Standard Motor Products and Delphi. Bosch, Delphi and ACDelco are recommended ignition coil brands, and NGK Denso and ACDelco are recommended ignition cable/spark plug wire brands. NGK, Denso and Bosch are popular spark plug brands.

Spark plug wire replacement near me

Finding the right place to get your timing belt replaced can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a go-to mechanic. Luckily,
GarageGuard™
can help you compare costs from over 2,500 vetted repair shops in the US. 
GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates* from each shop using their real hourly labor rate. With GarageGuard, you can find out if you’ll need to budget for diagnostic fees (and if it’s included in the service cost), and you’ll receive real reviews to help you choose the best service.
Check out some of our partner shops below and download the app to compare auto repair quotes in your area.
128 Reviews
Goodyear Auto Service - Kenmore
address
1795 Sheridan Dr, Kenmore, NY
Ignition Cable Spark Plug Wires Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$185
(Parts - $65, Labor - $120)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
186 Reviews
Oak Street Station
address
2403 US HWY 18 INWOOD, Inwood, IA
Ignition Cable Spark Plug Wires Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$150
(Parts - $65, Labor - $85)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$30
125 Reviews
Franklin Auto Repair
address
133 McAleer Rd, Pittsburgh, PA
Ignition Cable Spark Plug Wires Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$158
(Parts - $65, Labor - $93)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$89.95
102 Reviews
Craftsman Auto Care - Chantilly
address
14510 Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA
Ignition Cable Spark Plug Wires Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$225
(Parts - $65, Labor - $160)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$170
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How do mechanics replace ignition cables?

A skilled mechanic should be able to replace your ignition wires in a short amount of time. Here’s what the garage will do:
  1. Preparation: The mechanic will let your car’s engine cool and then hook up an OBD-II reader to scan for trouble codes. They’ll confirm the diagnosis with a visual inspection and an Ohm test on each cable. If your car needs new ignition cables, they’ll disconnect the battery and get to work.
  2. Removal: The mechanic will twist or rotate the “boot” (a rubber cap) at the end of each spark plug wire to free it from the ignition coil and the spark plug.
  3. Installation: The mechanic will install the new ignition cables in order, from longest to shortest, roll the plug boots around to eliminate air bubbles, and snap the cables into place.
  4. Finishing up: The mechanic will reconnect the car battery and test the vehicle to make sure the new ignition cables work. If they aren’t installed in the right order (or there’s any cross-wiring or interference), the engine could misfire.

Can you drive with bad spark plug wires?

Spark plug wires are an integral part of your car’s ignition and engine firing systems. Depending on the severity of the problem, your ability to drive may be impacted by:
  • A car that won’t start: Obviously, if your car won’t start, you won’t be going anywhere. Don’t let it be; an inactive car can easily get stuck in place.
  • Engine misfires: Without any electricity, any cylinders connected to bad spark plug wires won’t fire, or will misfire. Besides a rough ride, you risk engine damage the longer the situation continues.
  • A faulty catalytic converter: If fuel floods the cylinder, but doesn’t get ignited, where does it go? Well, it follows the path of the exhaust to the catalytic converter. Needless to say, the converter isn’t equipped to handle raw gasoline, and it could be damaged the longer you neglect a bad spark plug wire. 

What is an ignition cable replacement?

An ignition cable replacement is a simple service that targets the wiring in your car’s ignition and powertrain. A fresh set of ignition cables can restore the connection between the ignition coils and the spark plugs, resulting in a more efficient engine and smoother ride.

When should I replace my spark plug wires?

In the absence of clear damage, it can be hard to determine whether your spark plug wires are failing or not. Here are some warning signs to watch for:
  1. It’s been a while since you last replaced the spark plugs: Depending on their material, spark plugs can last as little as 30,000 miles and as long as 150,000. Replace any ignition cables when you change the spark plugs to keep things in shape.
  2. Engine misfires, rough idling, unexplained vibrations, and sudden losses of power: If your car engine cylinders aren’t working as they should, a frayed ignition cable could be at fault.
  3. Poor gas mileage: Reduced fuel economy goes hand in hand with a misfiring engine, since your car’s powertrain isn’t operating at peak efficiency.
  4. A check engine light: The check engine light indicates a multitude of errors, but an OBD code reader (or a mechanic) can tell you if it relates to the spark plug wires.
  5. Trouble starting the car: Without the vital connection between the ignition coils and spark plugs, your car might not start at all.
Key Takeaway Any problem related to the timing of your car engine’s cylinders may indicate faulty ignition cables.

How many years do spark plug wires last?

Although they handle a terrific amount of power, spark plug wires generally last a decade or more. Spark plugs, however, don’t last as long, and most experts recommend getting a spark plug replacement whenever you swap out your ignition wires. Vibration, heat, and abrasion can cause damage that’s hard to spot, so getting new wires will ensure your engine cylinders keep firing smoothly.

Is it hard to replace ignition wires?

Replacing ignition wires is a fairly simple DIY job, but it comes with risks. As always, the biggest challenge while working on your car’s electrical systems is keeping track of the wires and preventing any shocks. Take special care to treat ignition wires gently—don’t pinch them, don’t cross them, and don’t dress them up with any tape or clamps. Any interference could result in problems when thousands of volts go coursing down the wires.

FAQs

Heat, vibration, and abrasions can all cause spark plug wires to go bad. To begin, they’re subject to thousands of electric jolts per second and wired around an incredibly hot part of your car, both of which can melt and burn the wire sleeves and boots. If your car judders or shakes, the wires may eventually come loose, requiring more and more voltage to bridge the widening gap. And finally, any friction against other wires or other car parts can cause the wires to wear out.
Brand names and high manufacturing standards can make spark plug wires very expensive. OEM parts are usually more expensive than their generic, aftermarket counterparts; the average cost of parts is even higher for luxury brands like Audi or Mercedes-Benz. As for performance parts, pricey spark plug wires are supposedly coated with extra sheathing to prevent interference and made of highly-conductive, low-resistance electrical wire.
If your vehicle detects engine misfires and other timing issues, it could illuminate a check engine light. However, determining whether the spark plug wires are to blame requires an OBD reader or visit to the mechanic. Further investigation will require a voltmeter or multimeter to test whether the individual cables are conducting electricity like they should.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.