Oil on the Spark Plugs – Is This a Bad Head Gasket?

Reader Question I have a 1996 ford with 120,000 miles on it. My problem is the no2 sparkplug is covered in oil. Does this indicate a bad head gasket?

Hello there

I am assuming you mean the inside electrode part of the plug is covered in oil, not the outside part…which is probably due to a leaking valve cover gasket.

You need to do a compression test, and I would do it on all cylinders to see if you have weak compression on one or more cylinders. If you do, you could have an internal leak like in an intake gasket, piston ring, valve problem etc. etc. You probably need a valve job or cylinder head work, which can be costly.

You can try using thicker weight engine oil, and some of the oil additives that are available over the counter, ATP 205? Is one that I have used in the past. I have also used spark plug “anti foulers” which screw on to the end of the spark plug and shield off the oil. Some people say you can’t use them on newer cars, but it seemed to work ok for me. You might talk with your mechanic or auto parts store about it.


Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Exhaust Smoke

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