A major responsibility that comes with car ownership is ensuring that the engine is properly maintained. One of the best ways is by making sure that it turns up on a regular basis. This involves checking and possible replacement of spark plugs. The best Spark plugs are among the most crucial elements of engine maintenance, yet many drivers may be completely unaware.
To many drivers, the roaring power of a car’s engine results from explosive combustion that churns pistons in their cylinders. However, it starts with a little spark. Spark plugs initiate the ignition of air and fuel mixture in the engine. It does so by delivering an electric current from the car’s ignition system to the combustion chamber.
Having some old, worn and dirty spark plugs reduces your engine’s performance capacity. This is why constantly checking on the plugs and replacing with the best spark plugs is prudent. They ensure that the engine runs smoother, cleaner and most importantly, utilizes less fuel. Therefore, it is important that you always make sure that you replace the plugs at the first sign of trouble. This will save you money and many associated car problems.
Why Worry About Spark Plugs?
Having high-quality spark plugs in your car ensures that your engine remains a top performer and efficient. The best spark plugs take the already high-performance engine to the next level. Without proper plugs, your car experiences are misfiring. Besides, you will notice your car becoming less fuel-efficient and problems with exhaust emissions.
Avoid these problems and potentially save your engine from enduring the associated damage by finding the best spark plugs in the market. The spark you need may be different depending on the type of vehicle and engine you have. This is why we have outlined a buying guide to ease your search process.
How does a spark plug work ?
Size of the Electrode Gap
When it comes to spark plugs, “one size fits it all” narrative doesn’t work. The best electrode gap for the spark plug depends on your car. This is why it is important to understand how the gap’s size of the car’s electrode affects performance. The larger the gap of the electrode, the higher the voltage required to provide the spark.
Large gapped electrodes with high voltage requirements are old. New model vehicles are overly efficient and produce the same results even at a lower voltage. Therefore, you’ll need an electrode with a smaller gap between electrodes.
Spark Plug Materials
Spark plugs are primarily made of four materials, classified by the conductive material sitting in its core. They include the copper, iridium, platinum and double platinum plugs. Sparks resulting from spark plugs jump from the sharpest point on the center electrode to the sharpest point on the side electrode. Therefore, when choosing a spark plug, find one that retains its shape for long miles.
Platinum and iridium are relatively harder and have higher melting points thus last compared to copper plugs. Also, small diameter electrodes proportionally require low voltage to start the spark. That said, iridium plugs are considered the best, followed by platinum with copper being the last.
Nonetheless, these materials are often combined and used together. For instance, iridium plugs are often paired with platinum as platinum are paired with copper materials. Keep in mind that some vehicles are strictly designed to use copper spark plugs.
Copper plugs are the most inexpensive, going for less than $3. However, with such a price tag, don’t expect the best performance. They typically last for about 20,000 to 40,000 miles before needing replacement. The center rode of the copper spark plug is 2.5mm in diameter. It is the largest of all and takes more voltage to work. Copper plugs wear out quickly as the nickel alloy used in the firing end is soft and easy to wear out.
Platinum spark plugs are the direct opposite of copper plugs. Worst performance but best for longevity. They operate at low temperature and last much longer. On the other hand, double platinum spark plugs are amped up versions of the single plated platinum spark plugs. They have a longer lifespan and improved performance over iridium and regular platinum spark plugs.
Iridium spark plugs are made of less conductive materials compared to copper, but harder than platinum or copper. This makes them a top choice, and perhaps most expensive. They provide decent performance with much longevity. Due to their expensive nature, manufacturers reduce the diameter of the center electrode to around 0.4mm. This actually increases the firing efficiency. They are best for vehicles with coil-on-plug ignition systems.
Spark plugs insulation
All spark plugs types have ceramic insulations to protect the spark plug from the heat of electricity. However, the amount of insulation protecting the electrodes determines whether your spark plugs are “hotplugs” or “coldplugs.”
Hotplugs have less insulation and allow the ignition to burn hotter. This burn tends to remove the carbon buildup around the spark plug during ignition. High-performance cars recommend the use of coldplugs. This is because these cars have engines running at exceedingly high temperature. Therefore, use of hotplugs would increase the temperatures further resulting in engine damage.
Type of Car
Even with the different qualities above, they could only be relevant if they are designed for your type of vehicle. Note that cars have different grades of spark plugs than trucks, which use different plugs than SUVs.
Motorcycles also have their own kind of plugs, so as ATVs. Therefore, understanding what type of spark plug your vehicle requires is overly important as understanding the quality of the spark plug itself.
With the various qualities above, you can comfortably find the best product on the market. Have a look at some of the best spark plugs on the market today.
Best Spark Plugs Review 2018
Armed with the qualities of a spark plug to purchase, consider the following top products.
Autolite 104 Copper Resistor Spark Plug – Best Plug for the Price
Copper spark plugs are generally rated to be good as they guarantee quick starts, smooth acceleration, and good fuel economy. The Autolite 104 Copper Resistor Spark Plug is the industry standard. The plug comes with all you need for a well-running engine, initiated by spark plug ignition.
The full platinum tip ascertains that there is no gap for erosion. This indirectly translates to a longer plug life. It is also Yttrium enhanced with a high nickel alloy as the side electrode. The alloy maintains a precise gap, further increasing the plug’s life.
Necked down center electrode of the Autolite 104 Copper Resistor Spark Plug fires quickly and cleaner. It also requires less voltage for easier starts, improved fuel economy, and quicker acceleration. For extended durability, the plug features a platinum alloy pad on the ground electrode. Finally, yet importantly, the nickel-plated steel shell if corrosion resistant ascertaining longer life.
- Full copper core for better performance
- One-piece terminal adds strength
- Multi-rib insulator reduces flashing-over danger
- Good plug for the price
- Copper doesn’t last long
Denso PK20TT Platinum Spark Plug – Best Two-Tip Spark Plug
Platinum spark plugs are considered the best despite their expensive nature. Perhaps their durability is something that makes car owners turn a blind eye to their price tag. For sure, you will go more than 100 miles after proper installation of a platinum plug. Quite irresistible.
The Denso PK20TT Platinum Spark Plug is an all-around plug, perhaps what your car needs. Its two-tip technology features 11mm platinum in the center electrodes and an enhanced 11mm titanium ground electrode.
Besides longevity, Denso PK20TT Platinum Spark Plug provides improved fuel economy, faster starts, and better acceleration compared to other single platinum plugs. For better insulation, Denso preferred to use purified alumina powder. Certainly, it provides exceptional dielectric strength as well smooth thermal conductivity allowing the plug to withstand extreme stress.
Manufacturers of Denso PK20TT Platinum Spark Plug stand behind their product’s working effectiveness, providing warranties to their products not working properly. However, they warn that they do not cover issues arising from shipments, incorrect installation and damages arising from incorrect part applications. The following video shows the difference between iridium and platinum.
- Features two-tip technology
- Good purified alumina coating
- Enhanced fuel economy
- Ascertains better acceleration
- Titanium enhanced ground electrode
- Better thermal conductivity
- Lasts longer
- Quite expensive
Bosch Platinum IR Fusion Spark Plug – Best Spark Plug for Horsepower
Bosch manufacturers are among the few spark plugs reliable and reputable brands. They are a frequent sponsor of various high-profile international racing events, perhaps displaying the quality behind their spark plugs. The Bosch Platinum IR Fusion Spark Plug is among the best of the bunch for horsepower and performance.
Behind the exceptional performance and firing capability of these plugs are the fused iridium electrodes and platinum center electrodes. The fusion is sintered into an extended insulator, which results in self-cleaning temperature as well as exceptional wear resistance. The fusion has a thin wire tip, perhaps 85 percent narrower than the traditional copper core plugs, which allows for the most precision gap and great firing potential.
As you may know, iridium is harder compared to both copper and platinum. The ground electrode also features Yttrium coating resisting spark plug wear and oxidation. Therefore, this electrode provides a cutting-edge corrosion resistance even under high-temperature internal conditions. This is critical for a long-term performance output.
Featuring the surface air gap firing technology, this spark plug has four ground unique electrode designs that deliver powerful sparks for the most efficient combustion and optimum horsepower without necessarily increasing voltage requirements.
Bosch makes it easy for customers to install their product by delivering a factory pre-set gap.
- Surface air-gap firing technology
- Corrosion resistant
- Factory pre-set gap
- Not fit for all vehicles
- Quite expensive
Bosch Platinum +4 FGR7DQP Spark Plug – Best Performing Spark Plug
Bosch, without doubts, is well known for their wide variety of automotive exterior accessories such as wiper blades and engine products like the oil filters and spark plugs. The Bosch Platinum +4 FGR7DQP Spark Plug is made to be a unique model compared to other ordinary plugs.
The highlight of this plug being the factory set electrode gap for easy installation. Upon purchase, you will never need to adjust anything making the process effortless. As if not enough, the plug provides four yttrium-enhanced ground electrodes instead of the standard single electrode. This provides optimum access to the air and fuel mixture, for the most efficient combustion.
Like other Bosch products, it features surface air-gap technology that provides the most powerful spark for ultimate engine performance. The yttrium alloy reduces the gap wear and oxidation ascertaining an extended optimal performance.
To assure customers of the effectiveness of their products, Bosch provides a warranty to its products from defects in material or workmanship. The warranty period starts the day the product is delivered. However, like other warranty covers, it doesn’t cover labor costs in diagnosing the defects, removal, and reinstallation.
- Ease of installation
- Durable and longer lifespan
- Improves engine performance
- Takes long for the warranty to be provided
Denso SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plug – Best Longer Lasting Plug
Denso is undoubtedly better known for their spark plugs out in the market. Their quality and effectiveness are outstanding. Yet another model in the market is the Denso SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plug. Like the predecessor products, this comes with better and enhanced features for a great overall engine performance.
Some of the notable features of the Denso SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plug include:
- Denso patented 360 degrees welding process, which ensures exceptional quality bond and overall structural strength of the iridium center electrode.
- Denso patented and optimized iridium and rhodium alloy, which is probably the highest concentration for greater durability.
- Machine rolled threads which prevent seizing and possible cross threading during installation or removal.
- 100 percent pre-fired spark plugs to ensure the highest quality possible.
- Copper-glass seal bonds at the center electrodes and an insulating glass tight seal.
- Purified alumina powder provides exceptional strength and thermal conductivity.
- Five rib insulators that prevent flashover
- Excellent performance and engine acceleration
- Stable combustion during idling
- Long spark plug life
- Has iridium with high melting point
- Highly reliable
- Quite expensive
ACDelco Professional Iridium Spark Plug – Best for Engine Stability and Performance
ACDelco is a premier brand, better known for GM original equipment automotive replacement parts as well as premium aftermarket parts for a wide myriad of vehicles currently. Among their best products when it comes to spark plugs is the ACDelco Professional Iridium Spark Plug. Yet another iridium spark plug, expect nothing but the best from this plug.
Before thinking of replacing your plug, ACDelco advice that you observe for the following signs of wear.
- Trouble with engine starting by hesitating or cutting out
- Lack of acceleration power uphill
- Cranks in upper and lower portion of the spark plug insulator
- Chipped or broken insulator tips
- Damaged spark plug boots
- Sluggish engine performance among other signs.
If your car has one of the signs mentioned above, it could be the best time to get the ACDelco Professional Iridium Spark Plug. Being an iridium made plug, it offers great engine stability and smooth performance.
Iridium spark plugs have small and efficient electrode designs making them reliable for cold starting and quick acceleration. The iridium fine-wired electrode helps in burning away carbon deposits as they form. It also features a seal, which helps in blocking radio frequencies that may affect the vehicle’s electronic.
- Iridium made – durability
- Excellent engine stability
- Smooth performance
- Good for the price
- Daunting installation process
Autolite APP5224 Double Platinum Spark Plug – Best for Durability
The Autolite APP5224 Double Platinum Spark Plug is yet another spark plug with undoubtable durability compared to the ordinary copper core, single plated platinum and even iridium. Unlike the single platted platinum, this spark plug features a platinum-coated core, platinum electrode and platinum conductor arch.
This results in quicker sparks, quicker acceleration, better or rather conservative fuel consumption and easy startups. The full platinum tips ascertain that there is virtually no gap erosion. It also works to optimize your engine’s performance for better fuel economy and longer life.
The center electrode of Autolite APP5224 Double Platinum Spark Plug is necked down thus firing quickly and cleaner. It also requires less voltage to start and provides quick acceleration.
The spark plug are designed to eliminate gap erosion, increase the durability of the plug and reduces misfires. The lifespan of this spark plug lasts anywhere between 40 and 80 thousand miles.
To ascertain the quality of their products, Autolite provides a warranty, which covers the parts of the spark plug. The warranty extends for one year. Of course, terms and conditions apply like other covers.
- Longer lasting spark plug
- Made of high-quality
- Full platinum tip ensures no gap erosion
- Better performance due to the full copper electrodes
- Nickel alloy side maintains precise gap
- Improves fuel economy
- Challenging installation
NGK BKR5EIX – 11 Iridium IX Spark Plug – Best Performance Spark Plug
There is no guesswork when it comes to car spark plugs. It either fits or doesn’t fit. The NGK BKR5EIX – 11 Iridium IX Spark Plug is designed to specifically fit performance aficionados. This spark plug comes with great ignitability, superior anti-fouling, and improved throttle response.
As mentioned before, the thinner the diameter of the center electrode, the low the voltage. This model has a 0.6mm laser welded fine iridium tip. This ensures high durability and a consistently stable spark. The tapered ground electrode minimizes the presence of electrical quenching effect in the engine.
An additional benefit that accompanies this spark plug is the longer insulator nose that prevents fouling. It also features corrugated ribs fitted on the insulator that prevents flashover and a triple gasket seal that eliminates risks of combustion gas leakage.
Being an iridium spark plug, expect a product with a high melting point. This gives it durability and prevents easy electrical wear, making it a perfect choice for high-performance engines. It can handle all the heat abuse without giving up. Most importantly, the trivalent metal plating comes with superior anti-corrosion and ant-seizing properties.
- Extreme ignitability
- Superior anti-fouling
- Highly durable
- Corrosion resistant
- Minimal combustion gas leakage
- Good for high-performance engines
- Warranty on parts
- Quite expensive
NGK BKR5E – 11 V-Power Spark Plug – Best Spark Plug For Wide Heat Range
NGK plugs are better rated and reputable in the market for specific car models. The NGK BKR5E – 11 V-Power Spark Plug isn’t different. It presents quite a different perspective of the NGK spark plugs. The hallmark of this plug is its ability to operate over a wide heat range compared to ordinary plugs.
There are many other great features of this plug including:
- Fitted with high alumina ceramics that provide better heat transfer and utmost electrical insulation.
- A solid copper core and a nickel-tipped electrode that provides a longer lifespan.
- Patented triple gasket sealing that eliminates the risks of combustion gas leakage.
- A trivalent metal plating with superior anti-seizing and anti-corrosion properties.
- Superior anti-corrosion
- High quality and reliable
- Longer life and durability
- Resists carbon buildup
- Operates over a wide heat range
- Seal prevents combustion gas leakage
- Better fuel economy
- Not fit for all car types
NGK CR9EK Standard Spark Plug – Best All-Rounded Spark Plug
NGK spark plugs are increasingly becoming popular in the market due to their outstanding features. They are perhaps among the best standard spark plugs in the market currently. The NGK CR9EK Standard Spark Plug is one of the solid copper plug with amazing features for a smooth running engine. Watch the video to know more about various types of spark plugs.
As expected, spark plugs should ensure that your car gets a greater spark, better conductivity and great heat dissipation. This is what this model brings along. It also has a long insulator nose that prevents any possible fouling. The corrugated ribs fitted on the insulator prevents flashover as the dual ground conductors ascertain consistent spark.
Gas leakage is taken care of by the triple gasket seal. For durability and longer use, the NGK CR9EK Standard Spark Plug has zinc-dipped shell.
- Higher heat dissipation
- Longer nose prevents fouling
- Ground electrodes provide consistent spark
- Minimal gas leakage
- Requires careful installation
Hopefully, thus buying guide and best spark plug reviews helps you to find the best plug suiting your personal needs and preferences. Cars are among the few assets many people take pride in. Ensuring that the best products are fitted should therefore be a responsibility.
Poor quality plugs have their own shortcomings. In addition to using the best spark plugs, carbon build up is a common problem. Therefore, use a high quality fuel injector to prevent this build up. Octane boosters will also help to make the fuel burn slower.
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