If you feel like your car isn’t running as efficiently as it used to, your spark plugs may be to blame. Over time, spark plugs can end up with build up and other damages that cause them not to work as good; and you’ll be able to tell if your car ends up shutting down often or doesn’t start whatsoever.
If you think that your car may be acting up due to spark plugs, you’re probably wondering which spark plugs to purchase next. You’ve probably heard of all of the different options, but which ones are actually best for your car? Some people may say platinum, others might say copper or some other material. We’re going to take an in-depth view at the different types of spark plugs and why platinum may be a great option for your vehicle.
What Does a Spark Plug Do?
If you’re new to the automobile world, you probably don’t know what a spark plug is even useful for. And if you don’t know what a spark plug is, you may dismiss it as a reason that you’re car is acting up in the first place. So what does a spark plug actually do?
Spark plugs are going to be found in any car that is dealing with a gas-fueled combustion engine. This type of engine comes with a unique component inside the engine, known as the spark plug. The spark plugs are placed directly inside of the engine’s cylinder head.
When they are placed properly and working thoroughly, the spark plug will give off an incredibly high voltage of electricity to the engine that is sent from one side to the other. During this time the electricity is sparked through the air and fuel, giving the car combustion that is essential for starting the car.
That being said, without spark plugs your car simply won’t work. Not only that, but it won’t turn on in the first place. If your car won’t turn on, you’re most likely dealing with a spark plug problem is they haven’t been switched and your car is running high on mileage especially.
What are the Different Materials Used for Spark Plugs?
Much like everything else in life, you have options when it comes to purchasing spark plugs. There are several different materials you can choose from, and they all come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- Copper. Copper is an option when it comes to spark plugs, although they have a nickel alloy center electrode instead of copper. This type of material requires less voltage to actually initiate the spark inside of a vehicle, but the softer material wears out much quicker- which is the main disadvantage to copper spark plugs. They are best used for older vehicles and should never be used on cars that require a lot of energy and high voltage, as they will burn out extremely quickly.
- Single platinum. A better option for most vehicles is going to be the single platinum spark plug. This type of spark plug is immensely stronger than copper and nickel, which means it will work for a much longer time than copper. Platinum also runs at a hotter rate, which means you won’t have to worry about too much damage or build up, which is common with other spark plugs, especially copper. (And for the record, damage and build up is the main reason why a spark plug gives out and destroys a car in the long run, making it unable to turn on.)
- Double platinum. Another platinum option is the double platinum, but this type of spark plug is not recommended in a majority of vehicles because they are not designed to have the sparks develop a reverse spark, which is exactly what the double platinum spark plugs produce. That being said, you need to check the manufacturers guide before opting for this type of plug.
- Iridium. The last type of spark plug available on the market is iridium. This is an extremely hard material that is guaranteed to last longer than all other materials. They are also designed with finer wires that increase the overall firing efficiency which is great for starting up an engine.
Why Spark Plugs Give Out
There are a few different reasons why a spark plug may give out.
First and foremost, just like everything else in your car, spark plugs are prone to wear and tear over time. Spark plugs can end up with a large amount of build up and corrosion, and if not handled in a time-efficient manner, the build up will become so immense that it takes over the spark plug, rendering it unusable. Sometimes this isn’t due to not cleaning, but just the age of the spark plug. Changing them regularly will ensure that your car is running efficiently.
Aside from age, spark plugs can also be rendered useless if your car has sat in idle for too long. If you have left your car unused for an extended period of time, turning on your car may not be an option as the spark plugs have essentially ‘lost their spark’. Without a spark, the engine cannot combust, and will not turn on. You may need new spark plugs if you’ve sat in idle too long.
Last but not least, spark plugs can also give out if you’re in a lot of stop and go traffic. This is not something you can avoid, of course, but it is part of the problem when it comes to spark plugs running out of energy.
Which Spark Plugs are Right for You?
If you are needing to purchase a new set of spark plugs for your vehicle, your first step is to check the manufacturers guide. This guide will inform you on the right type of spark plugs for your vehicle.
Many guides will tell you that platinum is the right option, and that’s great as platinum spark plugs are always an excellent option. However, if your car asks for iridium, it is important never to downgrade. Same goes for cars that require a double platinum spark plug. Downgrading to a single spark plug will cause the engine not to work properly, and may end up causing your car not to start whatsoever.
Why Platinum Spark Plugs are a Great Choice
When it comes to spark plugs, one of the most talked about materials is platinum. This is because platinum material is not only sturdy and strong, but they run at a much higher heat which allows them to run for a longer period of time.
- Platinum spark plugs are an excellent choice because they are made with a strong, hardy material that can last up to a whopping 100,000 miles. This means you won’t have to worry about switching out your spark plugs for a long time, depending on how often you’re driving your vehicle.
- Platinum spark plugs run at a higher temperature. This is essential to reduce the amount of build up and other toxins that are common with copper spark plugs. This buildup will cause the engine to not work at a great rate and may even cause the car to not start at all. With platinum spark plugs, you don’t need to worry about buildup or needing to clean or change the spark plugs nearly as often.
- They’re also easy to install, if you’re doing them yourself. This is excellent for those who are looking to save a dollar or two by dodging the auto shop prices, while still ensuring your car is going to run properly and efficiently.
When it comes to spark plugs, you should always make sure that you’re using the spark plug that is recommended by the manufacturer. Doing so will ensure your car is running efficiently and doesn’t break down over time. However, platinum spark plugs are always an excellent option because they can last around 100,000 miles and won’t need to be cleaned or switched out often.