Spark plugs play a crucial role in the combustion process, allowing the engine of the vehicle to start and function correctly. The performance and efficiency of the engine are partially dependent on the type of spark plug you choose. Platinum vs iridium spark plugs is a major topic of debate between automobile manufacturers. Which one is the best for your vehicle?
The majority of the spark plugs come with a copper-core center electrode fitting – a great conductor of electricity. It fares better than other types of materials used to make plugs. In addition, it offers decent heat transferability. The copper section of the spark plug is generally shielded with a nickel alloy due to its low melting point and softness.
In order to increase performance, the electrode might come with an iridium or a platinum tip, based on the kind of plug. We will discuss platinum vs iridium spark plugs and how the difference between them affects your vehicle. Moreover, we’ll also look at the pros and cons of platinum and iridium spark plugs, among other types of spark plugs.
- Types Of Spark Plugs
- 1. Copper Spark Plug
- 2. Iridium Spark Plug
- 3. Platinum Spark Plug
- 4. Double Platinum Spark Plug
- Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs
- Iridium vs Normal Spark Plugs
- Effects On Performance
- Best Spark Plugs To Buy
- Final Conclusion
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The significance of spark plugs lies in making the layout of a vehicle simpler. Researchers in the automotive industry are endlessly working to make spark plugs even smaller in size so they can comfortably sit inside a combustion chamber.
On the other hand, spark plugs seem rather simple when it comes to operations as they need a large amount of energy which is later converted into immense work. Almost every spark plug comes with two electrodes – one located at the skirt and the other at the center. The central electrode features a copper core formation.
Thanks to its excellent physical properties of adequate electric conduction and quick heat transmission, copper is the metal of choice. However, copper is also soft and the melting point is low. Thus, nickel-alloy cover. The other one is called the ground electrode and it is also made of copper. Iridium or a platinum tip can exist on the central electrode to drive the performance.
A small space between the tip of the central electrode and the ground electrode is known as the electrode gap. Lately, the central electrodes are also getting smaller in size. These little spark plugs use less voltage to produce the required flow of electricity in the combustion chamber.
Spark Plug Metal
The main task of metal in a spark plug is to gather the electric energy using the spark plug so that it can create a spark whilst moving across the electrode gap. This is the most crucial phase as this is where the ignition process is started.
For the same reason, we can use any kind of metal (hypothetically) as a spark plug that conducts electricity. Although some metals are known to be good conductors, the issue lies within the overheating tendency of these elements. Due to that situation, these metals overheat and cause malfunction, compromising the performance of the spark plugs.
The manufacturers generally choose precious and viable metals to work as the ground electrode and central electrode of a spark plug. Thus, they use metals such as platinum, nickel alloy, iridium, and aluminum too. These metals raise the plug changing interval as well as abate the rate of misfires.
Types Of Spark Plugs
Copper spark plugs are the most common in today’s market. But, there are some other kinds too, like platinum spark plugs, iridium spark plugs, double platinum spark plugs, and more. Mainly, the categories are:
- Platinum spark plugs
- Iridium spark plugs
- Copper spark plugs
- Double Platinum spark plugs
Based on the make and model of the vehicle you drive, some offer pros while others offer cons.
Copper Spark Plugs
Copper spark plugs are arguably the most cost-effective spark plugs out of all spark plugs available. These super common spark plugs are considered the “standard” or basic spark plugs that most vehicles come with. The structure is simple: a nickel-alloy outer layer around the tip with a copper core at the center.
In all honesty, copper is a common metal in all spark plugs. The ground electrode also features a nickel alloy construction. The frame of copper spark plugs is quite possibly the widest out of all the ones mentioned here. This means that it boasts the largest thread diameter. Don’t get too excited; this also means that it requires the most voltage to produce an electric spark.
Pros Of Copper Spark Plugs
Here are some pros of copper spark plugs:
Copper Spark Plugs, Pros #1: Superior Conductivity
When it comes to electricity, copper is known for its excellent conductivity. Copper spark plugs, with their solid copper core, provide a strong spark, ensuring a robust ignition of the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
Copper Spark Plugs, Pros #2: Affordable Option
Among the various types of spark plugs, copper spark plugs are often the most cost-effective choice. Their affordability makes them a go-to option for many vehicle owners, especially when on a tight budget.
Copper Spark Plugs, Pros #3: Ideal for Older Engines
Copper spark plugs are particularly well-suited for older car models with low-voltage distributor-based ignition. These vehicles don’t require the high-performance features of more modern plugs and can benefit from the simple design of copper plugs.
Copper Spark Plugs, Pros #4: Quick Heat Transfer
Copper’s ability to transfer heat rapidly ensures that the plug remains relatively cool. This feature reduces the risk of pre-ignition from hot spots and contributes to a stable engine performance.
Cons of Copper Spark Plugs
Here are some cons of copper spark plugs:
Copper Spark Plugs, Cons #1: Shorter Lifespan
While copper provides excellent conductivity, the metal is softer and tends to wear out faster than iridium or platinum. As a result, copper spark plugs typically have a shorter lifespan, often requiring more frequent replacements.
Copper Spark Plugs, Cons #2: Not Suitable for Modern Engines
Modern engines with high-voltage ignition systems can sometimes be too powerful for copper spark plugs, potentially leading to faster wear or even damage. Therefore, they might not be the best fit for the latest vehicles.
Copper Spark Plugs, Cons #3: Requires Regular Gap Adjustments
As copper electrodes wear down, the gap between the center and the ground electrode can change. This means that copper spark plugs may require regular adjustments to ensure optimal performance.
Iridium Spark Plugs
Made with a metallic element, iridium spark plugs are super durable spark plugs that ensure great efficiency and performance. They also have a high melting point. When it comes to the properties of a metal, iridium has a lot to offer.
Iridium is quite durable which helps increase the service life of spark plugs. Who wants to replace the components of the car after every other month? Iridium spark plugs are resistant to wear and tear plus an incredible consistency. They are definitely some of the best spark plugs the market has to offer today.
We cannot compare other traditional spark plugs to iridium as they offer extended lifespan, concentrated spark, and durability. These plugs power engines faster than a few other plugs thanks to their ability to generate concentrated sparks using the small electrode in the center.
Pros Of Iridium Spark Plugs
Here are some pros of iridium spark plugs:
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #1: Long Lifespan
Select iridium spark plugs if you want the spark plugs in your vehicle to last for a long time. It is estimated that the average iridium spark plug lasts for at least 60,000 miles. However, many cross the 80,000 miles, going up to 120,000 miles in some cases, depending on the vehicle.
Fortunately, this is the average amount of mileage most people get out of their vehicles before buying a new one. So, consider investing in these spark plugs as they are well worth the price. If you are lucky, these spark plugs will never go bad on you.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #2: More Durable
The silvery-white metal that is iridium is harder than platinum, making it the hardest spark plug in today’s market. Because of this, iridium spark plugs are highly durable and allow you to get the most use out of them.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #3: Less Voltage Needed
When the iridium spark plugs generate electrical current, not a lot of voltage is required as it comes with a small electrode in the center of it. This might add consistency and reliability to the sparks inside the ignition chamber.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #4: Improved Fuel Efficiency
One of the notable benefits of using iridium spark plugs is their ability to boost your car’s fuel efficiency. With a more consistent spark, the fuel-air mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber is ignited more efficiently. This means your engine can extract more energy from the same amount of fuel, translating to fewer trips to the gas station.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #5: Better Engine Performance
Compared to other types of spark plugs, iridium plugs can offer a smoother idle and improved throttle response. Thanks to the smaller electrode, the spark is more intense, leading to a better burn of the fuel mixture and, ultimately, a smoother-running engine.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Pros #6: Resistance to Fouling
Iridium spark plugs are less susceptible to fouling, which occurs when deposits accumulate on the plug’s tip, preventing it from sparking correctly. Their design and materials make them more resistant to the common causes of fouling, ensuring a more reliable spark.
Cons Of Iridium Spark Plugs
Below are some cons with iridium spark plugs:
Iridium Spark Plugs, Cons #1: Expensive
As iridium spark plugs are the best quality spark plugs you can find in today’s market, it comes as no surprise that they are quite pricey. If you are someone who is on a budget, we would suggest looking into cheaper spark plugs. Keep in mind that just because a spark plug is easy on the wallet, does not mean it will be ineffective in the engine. Just make sure to choose wisely.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Cons #2: Not Always Necessary
For vehicles that were originally equipped with copper or platinum spark plugs, upgrading to iridium might not always provide a noticeable improvement in performance or fuel efficiency. It’s essential to consider if the benefits of iridium plugs are worth the higher cost, especially for older vehicles.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Cons #3: Sensitive to Gap Adjustments
While iridium is hard and durable, the fine-tipped center electrode can be delicate. Adjusting the gap on these plugs can damage the electrode or snap it off entirely. This makes them less forgiving of mistakes during installation or when adjustments are necessary.
Iridium Spark Plugs, Cons #4: Compatibility Concerns
Not all engines are designed to work optimally with iridium spark plugs. Installing them in an incompatible engine might not lead to the performance boost one might expect. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendation before making the switch.
Platinum Spark Plugs
A platinum spark plug is similar to a copper one, with a slight variation in the center electrode – it is made of platinum, attached to the electrode’s tip through welding. The platinum increases the durability of the plug, adding 100,000 miles to its service life.
Platinum spark plugs can generate more heat than their iridium counterparts, ensuring less buildup of debris. This kind of spark plug is best if you have a new car equipped with an electronic distributor ignition system.
Pros Of Platinum Spark Plugs
The following are the three biggest advantages of using platinum spark plugs. Overall, we think that platinum plugs are the best value spark plugs one can get.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #1: More Durable Than Copper
Many features of a platinum spark plug are similar to those of a copper spark plug. A copper plug, however, is equipped with a nickel alloy center electrode whereas a platinum spark plug comes with a platinum center electrode. This is why a platinum spark plug can last up to 60,000 miles whereas a copper spark plug would not last more than 20,000 miles.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #2: Stays Cleaner
Platinum normally heats up a lot faster than other materials. This feature works in favor of platinum spark plugs as any contaminants that get on the spark plug will burn up immediately. Lesser debris means a smoother ignition system.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #3: Better Value
If you are searching for a high-quality spark plug at a good price, you cannot go wrong with platinum spark plugs. They last quite a long time for their price and you do not have to settle for cheaper copper spark plugs that will probably deteriorate after two or three years.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #4: Consistent Ignition
One of the less-mentioned benefits of platinum spark plugs is the consistency they offer in terms of the ignition. Due to the platinum’s resistance to erosion, the gap between the center and the ground electrode remains consistent, providing stable combustion over time.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #5: Reduced Emissions
A cleaner, more efficient spark from platinum plugs ensures better fuel combustion. This not only improves engine performance but also results in reduced emissions, making platinum plugs a more environmentally friendly option.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #6: Resistance to Carbon Build-Up
With the quick heating properties of platinum, these spark plugs reduce the chance of carbon build-up. This means that engines equipped with platinum plugs generally have a lesser chance of misfiring due to carbon deposits.
Cons of Platinum Spark Plugs
There is just one major negative related to platinum plugs.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #1: Limited Durability
Platinum spark plugs are surely more durable than their copper counterparts. However, they are less durable than iridium spark plugs so you may have to change the platinum ones sooner. If your priority is durability, then platinum spark plugs will not cut it for you. Spend a bit more and go for iridium ones.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #2: More Expensive than Copper
While platinum spark plugs offer better value over time due to their extended lifespan, their initial cost is higher than copper spark plugs. For those on a tight budget, this upfront cost can be a deterrent.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #3: Potentially Reduced Conductivity
Compared to copper, platinum has a slightly lower electrical conductivity. This might lead to a slightly weaker spark, which can impact engine performance in some high-performance vehicles.
Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #4: Not Suitable for All Engines
Though platinum spark plugs are versatile, they may not be the best fit for all engine types, particularly high-performance or racing engines. In such cases, specific types of spark plugs may be recommended to achieve optimal performance.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs
Platinum spark plugs can be of two types: one is the single platinum kind we have already discussed, and the other is the double platinum spark plugs. The latter is very similar in design to single platinum spark plugs as well as copper spark plugs. The only exception is that the ground electrode is made of platinum too.
Pros Of Double Platinum Spark Plugs
Here are some pros of double platinum spark plugs:
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #1: Enhanced Durability
Double Platinum spark plugs, as the name suggests, incorporate platinum in both the center and ground electrodes. This dual platinum design drastically enhances the plug’s resistance to wear, ensuring they last longer than single platinum or copper plugs.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #2: Consistent Spark Performance
Thanks to the platinum coating on both electrodes, there is a consistent spark performance throughout the lifespan of the plug. This ensures stable combustion and an overall smooth driving experience.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #3: Great for Waste Spark Systems
Vehicles with waste spark ignition systems – where one spark plug fires in compression and the other in exhaust – benefit significantly from double platinum plugs. Both sides of the spark can handle the wear, ensuring longevity in such systems.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #4: Minimal Gap Erosion
With both electrodes fortified with platinum, these plugs experience minimal gap erosion over time. This means fewer adjustments, less maintenance, and a reliable spark throughout their life.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Pros #5: Better Fuel Efficiency
The consistent, strong spark ensures that the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber ignites efficiently. This can lead to improved fuel efficiency, providing drivers with more miles per gallon.
Cons of Double Platinum Spark Plugs
Here are some cons of double platinum spark plugs:
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #1: Pricier than Single Platinum
The double platinum design comes at a cost. These spark plugs tend to be more expensive initially than their single platinum counterparts, making them a more significant investment upfront.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #2: Not Necessary for All Vehicles
While they offer many advantages, not all vehicles require the benefits of double platinum spark plugs. For vehicles that don’t use a waste spark system, the additional cost might not translate to noticeable performance improvements.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs, Cons #3: Still Inferior to Iridium in Longevity
While double platinum spark plugs offer enhanced durability over single platinum and copper plugs, they still can’t match the longevity provided by iridium spark plugs.
Iridium vs Platinum Spark Plugs
Iridium varies greatly from platinum in performance, durability, strength, and melting point degrees. It is almost 8 times stronger and 6 times harder than platinum. In comparison to platinum, iridium’s melting point is about 700 degrees higher.
Platinum spark plugs are weaker to general wear and tear than iridium ones. In fact, it is said that iridium spark plugs are 25% more durable than platinum plugs.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #1: Materials
Platinum and iridium are both excellent materials used to make advanced spark plugs. They are both significantly better than regular spark plugs. However, iridium tends to be on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it is also stronger and harder.
The strength shown by iridium is quite greater than that of its competition; therefore, iridium’s lasting capability is 25% higher than platinum. If you want an impressively solid spark plug with great strength, excellent performance, and a higher melting point paired with top-notch efficiency, iridium spark plugs are the ones for you.
But, if the price is a major concern for you, consider regular or platinum spark plugs.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #2: Price
If you are debating platinum vs iridium spark plugs price, we already mentioned that iridium tends to run higher than platinum. Iridium is a better quality metal and thus, the price. The average price of iridium was around $2,550 for every troy ounce in 2020. In March 2021, the cost of iridium rose drastically and landed at $6,000 per troy ounce.
Meanwhile, currently platinum costs about $1,015 per ounce. So, iridium is almost 6 times as expensive as platinum.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #3: Durability
Durability is paramount when discussing spark plugs. Platinum spark plugs offer solid performance, but they may wear down faster due to the softer nature of the platinum electrode. In contrast, iridium spark plugs, owing to the hardness of the iridium electrode, are known for longer life.
This means fewer replacements and potentially lower maintenance costs in the long run, despite the initial higher price of iridium plugs.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #4: Performance
Performance is a crucial criterion for spark plugs. Iridium spark plugs deliver a more consistent and stable spark than their platinum counterparts. This is because of the thinner electrode used in iridium spark plugs which allows for a more precise spark.
Consequently, vehicles using iridium plugs might experience smoother acceleration and better fuel efficiency. Platinum plugs are still an upgrade from standard copper plugs but may not offer the same level of finesse as iridium.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #5: Heat Resistance
When it comes to heat resistance, iridium wins hands down. It has a higher melting point compared to platinum. This property makes iridium spark plugs particularly suited for high-performance vehicles that produce more heat. On the other hand, while platinum can withstand standard engine temperatures, it might not fare as well under extreme conditions.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #6: Electrode Size
The electrode size plays a role in the performance of the spark plug. Iridium spark plugs often feature a finer electrode, enabling them to produce a more focused and consistent spark. Platinum plugs, on the other hand, have slightly thicker electrodes. Although this doesn’t drastically diminish their performance, it does make iridium plugs a tad more efficient in ignition.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #7: Compatibility
It’s important to understand that not all vehicles can switch between platinum and iridium spark plugs without adjustments. Iridium plugs, being performance-oriented, are more commonly found in high-end or performance vehicles. Meanwhile, platinum spark plugs are versatile and are compatible with a wider range of vehicles, from daily commuters to some performance cars.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #8: Lifespan
The life expectancy of a spark plug is indicative of its value proposition. While both platinum and iridium spark plugs outlive traditional copper spark plugs, iridium tends to last even longer. Thanks to its tough nature, it resists wear and tear better.
Typically, a platinum spark plug might last for 60,000 to 100,000 miles. In contrast, an iridium plug can push boundaries, often lasting upwards of 100,000 miles, offering clear value despite the higher upfront cost.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #9: Environmental Impact
Lastly, consider the environmental footprint. Iridium, being more durable and efficient, might contribute to cleaner combustion and fewer emissions. With fewer replacements required over the vehicle’s life, there’s also a reduction in waste. Platinum plugs, although an improvement over older materials, might not be as eco-friendly as iridium in the bigger picture.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #10: Misfire Rate
A misfire happens when the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders is detonated intermittently or not at all. Iridium spark plugs, with their more precise spark, tend to have a lower misfire rate compared to platinum plugs. A lower misfire rate translates to a smoother engine operation and potentially increased fuel efficiency.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #11: Cold Starts
The ability of a spark plug to function efficiently during cold starts is crucial, especially in colder climates. Iridium spark plugs, with their superior conductivity and thin electrodes, often fare better in cold start scenarios than platinum plugs.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs, Differences #12: Market Availability
Platinum spark plugs have been around longer and are, therefore, more widely available in the market. This can be especially handy for car owners who travel a lot or live in remote areas. Iridium plugs, being relatively newer and more specialized, might be less available in some places. In conclusion, the choice between platinum and iridium spark plugs boils down to one’s priorities.
If you’re looking for optimal performance, longevity, and fewer emissions, iridium is the choice. However, if budget constraints are a concern, platinum offers a good middle-ground, combining performance with affordability. Always consult your vehicle’s manual and a trusted mechanic when deciding on the right spark plug for your car.
Best Performance Spark Plugs
Platinum’s level of performance is much greater than that of regular spark plugs. However, in contrast to iridium, there is a visible difference. Iridium possesses an excellent performance in combusting the air and compression of fuel within the ignition chamber. This is one of the primary reasons why there is a stark difference in platinum vs iridium spark plugs.
Iridium is usually more efficient than platinum, with multiple benefits to prove that it is superior to platinum. Platinum plugs can last up to 100,000 miles whereas iridium glides past the 100,000-mile mark with ease. You might not have to replace the spark plugs if your vehicle uses iridium ones.
Platinum and iridium spark plugs differ in their performance, efficiency, and features. While iridium is stronger than platinum, there is a disadvantage you may want to consider. Before choosing any for your vehicle, carefully consider both the pros and cons of the elements.
Iridium vs Normal Spark Plugs
Iridium spark plugs vary from regular spark plugs in every way, shape, and form. The electrode material found in iridium metal spark plugs has a higher melting point. In addition, the plugs are more reliable, with better efficiency and performance than the average plug.
A normal plug would give up at around 20,000 to 30,000 miles. The average yearly mileage of vehicle owners in America is assumed to be about 13,476 miles. Hence, a regular plug can be expected to last between 1.5 to 2.25 years.
Best Spark Plugs
In this day and age, spark plug technology continues to evolve. The variety of options means drivers can select the right plug for their specific driving needs and engine types. Whether you prioritize performance, longevity, or affordability, there’s a spark plug for you.
Always remember to check compatibility with your vehicle model and, if in doubt, consult a professional before making a purchase. But once you know what you’re looking for, here are some of the best spark plugs on the market today.
Best Spark Plugs #1. Champion Platinum Power
Best for Daily Drivers
As a regular driver, you want a plug that offers reliable starts without a hefty price tag. Champion Platinum Power spark plugs utilize a fine platinum tip that aids in providing a consistent spark. This means fewer misfires, ensuring a smoother drive for your daily commutes.
- Cost: Around $25
- Fine platinum-tipped electrode
- Enhanced thermal resistance
- Enhanced durability against wear
What Customers Are Saying: The average online rating is 4.6 out of 5. Users appreciate its compatibility with various car models, while some have mentioned a noticeable improvement in fuel economy.
Best Spark Plugs #2. Bosch Double Iridium
Best for High-Performance Engines
Bosch, with its impeccable reputation, has produced this top-tier spark plug ideal for performance-oriented engines. The double iridium firing pin and ground electrode inlay offer longer, more efficient life.
- Cost: Approximately $45
- Ultra-fine wire design
- Excellent performance in all conditions
- Enhanced ignitability
What Customers Are Saying: Holding an online score of 4.8 out of 5, users commonly praise its impressive acceleration response. However, professional installation is often recommended.
Best Spark Plugs #3. Motorcraft Copper Core
Best Budget Option
For those who are budget-conscious yet don’t want to compromise on quality, Motorcraft’s Copper Core spark plugs come to the rescue. Especially suited for older vehicles, these plugs ensure good conductivity and heat control.
- Cost: Around $15
- Copper core electrode
- Superior corrosion resistance
- Good heat transfer capabilities
What Customers Are Saying: A rating of 4.4 out of 5 online indicates satisfaction in terms of affordability and performance, although some mention it’s best suited for older vehicle models.
Best Spark Plugs #4. Pulstar PlasmaCore
Best for Quick Starts
Pulstar’s PlasmaCore uses a unique internal capacitor to focus electrical energy, which results in quick starts. For those who demand immediate response from their vehicles, this might be your best bet.
- Cost: Roughly $35
- Inconel electrode
- Radically improves combustion
- Increases horsepower and torque
What Customers Are Saying: With a 4.5 out of 5 rating, many users highlight the significant reduction in engine start-up times. Some also report improvements in overall engine responsiveness.
Best Spark Plugs #5. Autolite XP Iridium
Best for Longevity
Autolite’s XP Iridium plugs boast an extended lifespan thanks to its advanced iridium-enhanced 0.6mm finewire design, offering greater ignitability and improved fuel efficiency.
- Cost: Approximately $30
- Superior anti-fouling characteristics
- High melting point ideal for high-tech engines
- V-trimmed ground electrode promotes sharper spark focus
What Customers Are Saying: Scoring a remarkable 4.8 out of 5 online, the general consensus revolves around its long-lasting performance and notable fuel efficiency improvements.
Best Spark Plugs #6. Bosch Double Platinum Spark Plugs
Bosch, a name synonymous with automotive parts, brings forth their Double Platinum spark plugs. These plugs are known for their consistent performance, aided primarily by their platinum firing pin and ground electrode inlay.
- Cost: Around $25
- Double platinum for extended life
- Yttrium-enhanced ground electrode
- Fine wire design for better ignitability
- Pre-gapped for easy installation
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 2,000 reviews
Most reviews highlight their reliable performance. There are a few concerns about compatibility, so always ensure these plugs fit your vehicle before purchase.
Best Spark Plugs #7. Pulstar PlasmaCore Series
Incorporating plasma-assisted combustion technology, Pulstar’s PlasmaCore Series provides quicker throttle response and ensures smoother idling.
- Cost: Around $45
- In-built capacitor
- Pure platinum electrode for longevity
- Enhances horsepower and torque
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5
Users commend the noticeable performance enhancement, particularly in older vehicles. However, they’re a bit on the pricier side.
Best Spark Plugs #8. Motorcraft Platinum Spark Plug
Best OEM Replacement
Motorcraft is Ford’s part brand, making these spark plugs a top choice for Ford owners looking for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacements.
- Cost: Around $20
- Platinum-tipped for longevity
- Efficient at reducing emissions
- Direct fit replacement for Ford engines
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 800 reviews
Reviews often cite the trustworthiness of Motorcraft parts, with many Ford owners opting for these for their reliability.
Best Spark Plugs #9. Champion Iridium Spark Plug
Champion spark plugs have been around for decades, and their iridium line combines proprietary technology with the durability of iridium.
- Cost: Around $15
- Superior thermal stability
- Maximum resistance to spark erosion
- Fine-wire center electrode
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5
Users appreciate the enhanced fuel economy and performance, with the only drawback being that some plugs might require gapping adjustments.
Best Spark Plugs #10. SplitFire Performance Spark Plug
Best for Modified Engines
For those with modified engines or seeking a performance edge, SplitFire offers a unique electrode design that promises more power and fewer misfires.
- Cost: Around $30
- Patented split-tip design
- Enhanced fuel combustion
- Better acceleration response
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.4 out of 5
Car enthusiasts often praise the noticeable difference in performance. However, they might not be ideal for all stock vehicles.
Facts about Spark Plugs: Materials, Advantages, and Selection
- A spark plug is a component that ignites a spark to fire the air and fuel mixture within an engine and creates combustion, which powers a car.
- Spark plugs are made of different materials, but most feature a copper-core center electrode covered with a nickel alloy and a platinum or iridium tip on the electrodes to optimize performance.
- Precious and other metals in the center and side electrodes channel high voltage from the spark plug wire through the spark plug to create the vital spark that starts the combustion process.
- Copper spark plugs are the most common and cheapest plug available, and they run cooler and provide more power in performance driving situations but need to be changed every 20,000 miles due to wear.
- Platinum spark plugs hold their sharp edge much longer than a conventional spark plug, run a little hotter, handle high heat, and can last up to 100,000 miles.
- Iridium spark plugs are said to be six times harder and eight times stronger than platinum with a 700° higher melting point and can last up to 25% longer than comparable platinum spark plugs but are the most expensive.
- To select the best spark plug material for a vehicle, check the owner’s manual, and consult a mechanic for guidance. Don’t downgrade from the recommended spark plugs to avoid poor engine performance.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs: In Conclusion…
Understanding the basics when comparing platinum vs iridium spark plugs is necessary so you know which plug will suit your preferences the best. Consider their benefits, and disadvantages alongside the cost of replacement.
Platinum or iridium spark plugs are okay for most vehicles but their offered advantages are not on the same level. Iridium spark plugs impress with greater performance and efficiency while platinum ones are great value spark plugs for when you are on a tight budget.
Platinum vs Iridium Spark Plugs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some popular frequently asked questions (and their answers) about platinum vs iridium spark plugs…
Are Iridium Plugs Worth It
Iridium plugs are very worth it. They are durable, normally lasting between 60,000 to 120,000 miles. Granted, the price is high. But you are making a good investment as you are paying an amount that is supplemented with the value provided.
Which Spark Plugs Are The Best For Performance
It is vital to consider performance standards when purchasing a spark plug as it tells a lot about what you are expecting from the engine of your vehicle.
What’s Better, Double Platinum Or Iridium
In comparing double platinum with iridium, iridium has proven to offer more benefits than platinum. The power of iridium spark plugs makes them 25% longer lasting than platinum spark plugs. Thus, iridium can be concluded as the superior material.
Is Iridium Costlier Than Gold
In comparison to the prices of gold, iridium is much more expensive. In fact, the price difference is greater than you thought. Gold presently costs around $1,812 per ounce. Meanwhile, the data from Johnson Matthey Plc data suggests that the current cost of iridium is a whopping $6,000 per ounce. So, when compared to gold, the price is three times higher. The present price of iridium makes it much costlier than gold. Platinum vs iridium spark plug prices differ due to a difference in the metals’ prices.
Can I Gap Iridium Plugs
It is not ideal to gap the iridium spark plugs since they are constructed without needing any gapping in any circumstance. But, in events where you absolutely need to gap the iridium plug, make sure to observe extreme caution. If you gap the spark plugs incorrectly, it may damage the porcelain center or center electrode. Thus, to avoid doing unwanted damage to the pricey iridium spark plugs, refrain from gapping them. Consult a certified professional if you want to have them gapped. As iridium power plugs can be pretty expensive, you must avoid causing damage to the plugs otherwise the whole engine will be affected.
Can I Clean And Reuse Iridium Spark Plugs
Iridium plugs are made for the long run, such that you might never have to replace them until you decide to quit using your vehicle or sell it. However, if you suddenly find out that they carbon up and require you to clean them up for reuse, you can do so. If you ever need to clean your iridium plug for reuse, you could put it in a small container or jar and pour some seafoam into the jar, sufficient to cover the area with carbon. Then, leave them overnight so that they can soak. After that, brush them with a bristle cleaner brush, and blow the carbon out using an air compressor. This and other methods can help you clean and reuse iridium spark plugs.
How Often Should I Change The NGK Iridium Spark Plugs
Ideally, it is recommended that you replace regular spark plugs after each 20,000 to 50,000 miles. However, iridium plugs have been titled “life-long spark plugs” for a valid reason. As they can last as much as 120,000 miles without the requirement of replacement, you have a long time frame before you have to spend on spark plugs for your vehicle. However, this also depends on the make or model of the vehicle, its type, and the driving and maintenance style of the owner. Proper maintenance ensures you can enjoy the spark plugs for an extended period. It goes without saying that poor maintenance of any vehicle will result in an untimely breakdown. Therefore, we recommend you keep the spark plugs clean, and in good condition, and clear out the debris from the holes.
How Long Do Spark Plugs Last
Spark plugs can last anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 miles depending on their type and the conditions they’re subjected to. Regular copper plugs, for instance, last around 20,000 to 40,000 miles. However, platinum and iridium spark plugs have a longer lifespan, often ranging from 60,000 to 100,000 miles, thanks to their more durable materials.
How Much Are Spark Plugs
The cost of spark plugs can vary based on their type and brand. Typically, standard copper spark plugs are the least expensive, ranging from $2 to $5 each. Platinum and iridium spark plugs tend to be pricier, usually falling in the $6 to $15 range per plug. It’s always a good idea to check prices at local auto stores or online retailers for the most accurate pricing.
What Is Iridium
Iridium is a hard, brittle, and corrosion-resistant metal with a shiny silver-white color. It’s one of the rarest elements found in the Earth’s crust. Because of its high melting point and durability, iridium is often used in applications that require strong and stable materials, such as in spark plugs.
What Are Spark Plugs For
Spark plugs play a crucial role in an internal combustion engine. They generate a spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber. This ignition produces the energy that powers the car. In essence, without spark plugs, your car wouldn’t start or run.
What Spark Plugs Do I Need
The right spark plug for your car depends on its make, model, and engine specifications. It’s essential to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or check with the manufacturer to determine the correct type and specification. Using the wrong spark plug can reduce engine performance or even cause damage.
Are Spark Plugs Universal
No, spark plugs aren’t universal. They come in various sizes, materials, and heat ranges. Each engine type typically requires a specific spark plug that meets its operational needs. It’s crucial to choose the right plug to ensure optimal performance and avoid potential engine problems.
How Long Do Iridium Spark Plugs Last
Iridium spark plugs are known for their durability and can last up to 25% longer than comparable platinum spark plugs. Most iridium plugs last between 70,000 to 100,000 miles. Their longevity is attributed to the hard-wearing properties of iridium as a material.
Are All Spark Plugs the Same
No, not all spark plugs are the same. They differ in material, size, design, and heat range. While some might be made of copper, others use platinum or iridium. Each type has its advantages and specific applications. Picking the right plug for your car is vital for its overall performance.
What Are Spark Plugs Made Of
Spark plugs consist of several components, each made from different materials. The central electrode, which produces the spark, can be made of copper, platinum, or iridium. The insulator is usually made of porcelain, which keeps the electrode isolated. The shell is typically steel. The choice of materials impacts the plug’s performance and lifespan.
Are NGK Spark Plugs Good
Yes, NGK is a reputable brand in the automotive industry and is known for producing high-quality spark plugs. Many mechanics and vehicle owners trust NGK for their durability and performance.
How Many Spark Plugs Do I Need
The number of spark plugs you need depends on your vehicle’s engine. Most cars have one spark plug per cylinder. So, a four-cylinder engine would need four spark plugs, a six-cylinder engine would need six, and so on. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for exact specifications.
Are All Spark Plugs the Same Size
No, spark plugs come in various sizes and thread pitches. While there are common sizes that many vehicles use, it’s essential to ensure you get the correct size for your specific engine to avoid issues or damage.
What Are the Best Spark Plugs
The ‘best’ spark plug often depends on your vehicle’s needs and your preferences. Brands like NGK, Denso, Bosch, and Champion are well-regarded in the industry. Whether you choose iridium, platinum, or copper also impacts performance and longevity. Always consider your vehicle’s specifications and consult professionals when in doubt.
How Long Do Platinum Spark Plugs Last
Platinum spark plugs are known for their durability, usually lasting between 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Their lifespan can vary based on driving conditions, engine health, and other factors, but they typically outlast standard copper plugs.
How Often to Change Iridium Spark Plugs
Iridium spark plugs are among the longest-lasting types. Typically, they can last between 70,000 to 100,000 miles. However, it’s still crucial to check them periodically for wear or damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation or consult your vehicle’s owner manual for specific intervals.
What Does a Good Spark Plug Look Like
A good spark plug should have a clean, light tan, or gray insulator, indicating optimal combustion. The electrode should be intact without excessive wear or deposits. If the plug has oil, heavy carbon buildup, or appears damaged, it might be a sign of engine issues or that the plug needs replacing.
How Long Do Copper Spark Plugs Last
Copper spark plugs, often referred to as standard or regular spark plugs, have a shorter lifespan compared to platinum or iridium plugs. They typically last around 20,000 to 40,000 miles. Their shorter life is due to the softer nature of copper as a material.
Do Spark Plugs Make a Difference
Absolutely, spark plugs are crucial to the performance and efficiency of an internal combustion engine. Using the correct and well-maintained spark plugs ensures optimal fuel combustion, which in turn leads to better engine performance, improved fuel efficiency, and reduced harmful emissions.
Who Invented the Spark Plug
The invention of the spark plug was a collaborative effort over time, with multiple inventors contributing. Sir Oliver Lodge created a version called the ‘Lodge Igniter,’ an early version of the spark plug, in 1886. However, Robert Bosch, Edmond Berger, and several others also made significant contributions to its development and refinement over the years.
What Are the Best Spark Plugs for Performance
For enhanced performance, many car enthusiasts and mechanics recommend iridium or platinum spark plugs due to their durability and consistent spark. Brands like NGK, Denso, and Bosch have specific performance lines that are well-regarded. The best choice often depends on the specific requirements of the engine and the desired performance outcome.
Are Spark Plugs Expensive
The cost of spark plugs varies depending on their type and brand. Standard copper spark plugs are generally the least expensive, while platinum and iridium plugs can be pricier. However, even the more expensive spark plugs are relatively affordable, especially when considering their impact on engine performance and fuel efficiency.
Who Makes Motorcraft Spark Plugs
Motorcraft is the auto parts brand of Ford Motor Company. While Ford oversees the specifications and quality control for Motorcraft parts, various manufacturers produce the actual components. NGK has been known to manufacture spark plugs for the Motorcraft brand.
Are Ruthenium Spark Plugs Worth It
Ruthenium spark plugs are a newer entry to the market, known for offering enhanced durability and performance compared to platinum and iridium plugs. Their advanced technology can provide more consistent combustion and longer service intervals. Given their benefits, many find them worth the investment, especially for high-performance or demanding applications.
How Many Spark Plugs Does My Car Have
The number of spark plugs your car has is directly correlated with the number of cylinders in its engine. For instance, a four-cylinder engine has four spark plugs, a six-cylinder engine has six, and so on. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specifics.
Are Iridium Spark Plugs Better Than Platinum
Both iridium and platinum spark plugs offer advantages over standard copper plugs. Iridium spark plugs tend to have a longer lifespan and can provide a more consistent spark due to iridium’s harder and higher melting point. Platinum plugs are also durable and provide efficient combustion. The best choice depends on your vehicle’s specifications and your preferences.
Does Changing Spark Plugs Improve Performance
Yes, changing old or worn-out spark plugs can noticeably improve engine performance. Fresh spark plugs ensure efficient fuel combustion, leading to better acceleration, smoother engine operation, improved fuel efficiency, and reduced emissions. It’s an essential maintenance step to keep your engine running optimally.
What Is the Best Brand of Spark Plugs
The ‘best’ brand often depends on individual preferences, vehicle requirements, and specific applications. However, brands like NGK, Denso, Bosch, Champion, and Motorcraft are consistently praised for their quality and performance across various automotive forums and by professionals.
How Many Miles Are Spark Plugs Good For
The lifespan of spark plugs varies based on their material. Copper spark plugs generally last between 20,000 to 40,000 miles. Platinum spark plugs can last between 60,000 to 100,000 miles, while iridium spark plugs can last from 70,000 up to 100,000 miles or more. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the spark plug manufacturer’s recommendation for specifics.
What Spark Plugs Does Ford Recommend
Ford typically recommends Motorcraft spark plugs for their vehicles, as this is their in-house brand. However, the specific type and model of the spark plug can vary depending on the Ford vehicle model and engine. It’s always best to check the owner’s manual or consult with a Ford dealership for the exact recommendation.
Do Modern Cars Have Spark Plugs
Yes, most modern gasoline-powered cars use spark plugs to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber. However, diesel engines do not use spark plugs because they rely on compression to ignite the fuel. Additionally, fully electric vehicles do not have spark plugs as they don’t have traditional internal combustion engines.
What Is the Most Common Automotive Conductor Material
For spark plugs, the most common conductor materials are copper, platinum, and iridium. Of these, copper has been the most traditional and widely used due to its good conductivity. However, platinum and iridium have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their durability and ability to provide a consistent spark.
Does Spark Plug Brand Matter
Yes, the brand of a spark plug can make a difference in terms of quality, performance, and lifespan. Established and reputable brands often undergo rigorous testing and quality control, ensuring optimal performance and reliability. While the right spark plug type and material are essential, choosing a trusted brand can ensure you’re getting a high-quality product.
Are Double Platinum Spark Plugs Good
Yes, double platinum spark plugs are designed to offer better performance and longer lifespan compared to single platinum plugs. The double platinum refers to platinum used on both the center and ground electrodes. This design ensures consistent ignition and is especially beneficial for waste spark ignition systems where both sides of the spark plug can be subject to wear.
Why Are Subaru Spark Plugs So Expensive
Subaru vehicles, particularly those with boxer engines, have a unique design that requires spark plugs to be positioned horizontally. This can make access more challenging, leading to a higher labor cost for installation. Moreover, Subaru often recommends using iridium spark plugs, which are pricier than standard copper plugs due to their longevity and performance benefits.
Why Are Spark Plugs So Expensive
The cost of spark plugs can vary based on their material and construction. Iridium and platinum spark plugs, known for their longevity and performance, are generally pricier than copper ones. Factors like brand reputation, the technology used in the plug, and production costs can also influence prices. However, it’s worth noting that in the grand scheme of automotive parts, spark plugs are relatively affordable.
Do Spark Plugs Add HP
On their own, spark plugs won’t add significant horsepower to an engine. However, they ensure optimal combustion, which means the engine will produce power as efficiently as possible. Using high-quality, properly gapped spark plugs can help the engine run at its peak potential, but the change in horsepower would likely be minimal.
Does It Matter What Spark Plugs You Use
Yes, it absolutely matters. Using the correct spark plug type for your vehicle ensures optimal combustion, performance, and fuel efficiency. The wrong type or an ill-fitting plug can lead to misfires, poor fuel economy, and even potential engine damage.
Are Spark Plugs Interchangeable
While there are standard sizes and types of spark plugs, they aren’t universally interchangeable. Factors like heat range, thread size, and construction materials vary. Always refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult a mechanic to ensure you’re using the correct spark plugs for your specific engine.
How Much HP Do Spark Plugs Add
Spark plugs themselves don’t directly add a quantifiable amount of horsepower. Instead, they ensure that the engine functions optimally and produces its intended power efficiently. Worn-out or improper spark plugs can rob an engine of power due to incomplete combustion. Replacing them can restore lost performance, but in terms of raw horsepower gains, the difference is minimal.