Last Updated on June 3, 2019 by themechanic
An internal combustion engine generates power after its air and fuel mixture is ignited. The engine may be responsible for mixing the air and fuel together in its cylinders, but it cannot generate the ignition by itself. Instead, the engine depends on spark plugs to generate an electrical spark which can ignite the mixtures in its cylinders. After the ignition takes place, the engine starts to run because of the combustion pressure which builds up in it.
All spark plugs generally serve the same purpose in a vehicle. However, this doesn’t mean that you should just purchase any type of spark plug for your vehicle. There are differences between the various spark plugs on the market. The quality of the materials they’re made from are a huge factor in their longevity and power. To help you decide on the best spark plugs for your vehicle, we’ve gone ahead and narrowed the choices down to two particular types of spark plugs: iridium spark plug and platinum spark plug. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each one now.
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Iridium Spark Plugs
Iridium spark plugs have the longest lifespan of the two plugs listed here. It is estimated that you can drive a minimum of 40,000 miles or as much as 80,000 miles before you need to replace your iridium spark plugs. Since most people sell or trade their vehicles before ever putting this much mileage on them, then you may only need to replace your iridium spark plugs once throughout the time you own your vehicle.
Iridium is a very durable metal that has a silver and whitish color to it. It is even more durable than platinum. That is why iridium spark plugs can last the longest. In the center of the iridium spark plug, there is a small electrode which reduces the amount of voltage needed to generate an electric current. Because of this, you will save power and preserve the lifespan of the spark plug even further.
Of course, whenever you have a top-quality auto component like this, you can expect it to be more expensive. Yes, the iridium spark plugs are the most expensive spark plugs on the market. But if you consider their longevity and energy efficiency, it may be worth it for you to invest in these spark plugs because you’ll likely never have to replace them again.
Platinum Spark Plugs
If you want a cheaper alternative to the iridium spark plugs, then go with the platinum spark plugs. Platinum may not be as durable as iridium, but it is a lot more durable than the standard copper spark plugs which tend to go bad very quickly. Platinum spark plugs last anywhere from 20,000 miles to 60,000 miles before needing to be replaced. They have a platinum electrode in the center which consumes less power than the nickel alloy electrode of copper spark plugs. For this reason, the platinum spark plugs last longer.
With most other spark plugs, debris build-up tends to be a major issue. That isn’t the case with platinum spark plugs because of how hot they get when they’re in use. As soon as the debris hits the hot platinum, it burns up very quickly rather than build up in the ignition system. As a result, the ignition runs smoothly without any startup issues.
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Your choice comes down to whether you care more about quality or price. Platinum spark plugs will still give you at least 20,000 miles before needing to replace them and they’re cheaper too. On the other hand, iridium spark plugs give you maximum durability and a longer lifespan. If you don’t mind paying more for them, then iridium is better for your needs.