Last Updated on June 3, 2019 by themechanic
Spark plugs serve a very important purpose for the internal combustion engine. As you may very well know, compressed air and fuel are mixed together in the internal combustion chamber. But for engine power to be generated from this mixture, it needs to be ignited by an electric current. Spark plugs are responsible for producing the necessary electric current which ignites this mixture. From there, the engine power generated allows the vehicle to move around as you please.
Spark plugs may sound like they all serve the same purpose, but there are actually different kinds of spark plugs available on the market. Some spark plugs are better than others, depending on what they’re made from. Most people don’t pay attention to this and will just purchase any type of spark plug without considering their pros and cons. Don’t fall into this trap when you need to replace your spark plugs. Consider the different types of plugs carefully and make the best choice for you.
Out of the 4 major types of spark plugs on the market, the two which stand out the most are copper spark plugs and double platinum spark plugs. Let’s go over their pros and cons now.
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Copper Spark Plugs
As the name indicates, copper spark plugs are constructed from mostly solid copper material. It has a very large diameter compared to other spark plugs on the market. Also, it has a nickel alloy-based central electrode. Because of these attributes, copper spark plugs require extra amounts of voltage to produce the necessary electric current for the engine.
The problem with nickel alloy is that it is flimsy and soft. Older vehicles commonly had copper spark plugs in them, but they used to wear out quickly. That is why stronger spark plugs were made to satisfy the newer vehicles which have more powerful electrical demands. Copper spark plugs would never be able to handle the power demands of newer vehicles. On the other hand, if you own an older vehicle then you shouldn’t use any other spark plugs in it other than copper spark plugs.
Here is a review of the pros and cons:
- Pros: If you own an older vehicle that was made before the year 1980, then copper spark plugs work the best for it.
- Cons: Copper spark plugs don’t have a long lifespan because of their flimsy material. Also, you need to use more voltage to create the electric current of the spark plug.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs
The double platinum spark plugs are better for vehicles which have a waste spark system as their distributor ignition system. In a system like this, the spark plugs need to fire two times. The first time is for the cylinder of the compression stroke. The second time is for the cylinder of the exhaust stroke. However, there is no ignition that takes place in the cylinder of the exhaust stroke. This means the spark generated for it does not get used, which is why it’s called a waste spark system.
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Now you may wonder why a waste spark system would be beneficial to a vehicle. Well, the waste spark system is not impacted by common environmental weather conditions like dampness, humidity, and rain. For this reason, waste spark systems are found to be more reliable with less chance of misfire. Double platinum spark plugs are designed specifically for these systems. But if you have a different type of distributor ignition system, then you should probably use a different type of spark plug.
Here is a review of the pros and cons:
- Pros: Best to use if you have a waste spark system in your vehicle. These are very reliable spark plugs.
- Cons: If your vehicle has an electronic distributor ignition system, then it is not recommended to use these spark plugs.