It may seem that spark plugs are the minor parts to a car engine but they’re actually important components. The internal combustion can’t operate without proper working spark plugs. This means without spark plugs your engine simply wouldn’t work and your car would be immobile.
Spark plugs also make a significant difference in how smoothly your vehicle operates. That’s why selecting the correct spark plugs or replacing your old spark plugs is a vital part of maintaining your car.
So how do you know which spark plugs are the best for your vehicle? Take a look at the following guide which may assist you in knowing more about these small yet powerful mechanisms.
- Features to Consider in Good Spark Plugs
- Top 10 Best Spark Plugs 2021
- 1. NGK 6619 Iridium Spark Plugs LFR6AIX-11 - 6 PCS
- 2. Denso (3297) SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plug
- 3. NGK 5464 BKR5EIX-11 Iridium IX Spark Plug
- 4. NGK (6953) BKR5E-11 V-Power Spark Plug
- 5. NGK 7090 BKR5EGP G-Power Spark Plug
- 6. Bosch 4417 Platinum+4 FGR7DQP Spark Plug
- 7. Champion Copper Plus
- 8. Bosch 9652 Double Iridium Spark Plug
- 9. AC Delco Professional RAPIDFIRE
- 10. NGK (4548) CR9EK Standard Spark Plug
- Guide to Buying the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers
- Final Thoughts
Features to Consider in Good Spark Plugs
How Do Spark Plugs Work?
The engine of your vehicle operates by capturing the energy of myriad tiny explosions created when a mixture of air and gasoline is ignited inside the engine’s cylinders. Fuel and air are drawn in deep inside of the engine & compressed by the pistons before being ignited.
Ignited fuel and air create an energy dense explosion which is how the vehicle is powered up & gives your car the ability to move. The spark plug is the reason for this explosion as an electric current between the center electrode and the ground electrode creates a tiny spark.
You can see that even though spark plugs are small and inexpensive they’re often overlooked as some of the most vital components to your car’s engine.
Different Types of Spark Plugs
Sparks jump from the sharpest point of the center electrode to the sharpest point on the side electrode. A spark plug needs to retain its sharp edge for as many miles as possible.
The best spark plugs are made from precious metals such as iridium and platinum. Spark plugs made from iridium and platinum are more durable & they have higher melting temperatures than nickel alloy electrodes found in copper spark plugs.
Another aspect to remember is the smaller the diameter of the center electrode, the less voltage it will need to start the spark. Let’s take a more extensive look into the different types of spark plugs.
Copper Spark Plugs
These spark plugs have solid copper cores but the center electrodes are made with 2.5mm diameter nickel alloy which is the largest diameter you’ll find in any spark plug. As mentioned before the smaller the diameter of the electrode, the less voltage is needed to create a spark.
Nickel alloy is softer than platinum and iridium so the sharp edges on the electrodes tend to wear out quicker. Although copper spark plugs are still good selections for certain types of vehicles copper spark plugs are best suited for older vehicles with lower voltage DIS.
It’s not recommended that you use copper spark plugs in vehicles with high energy DIS or COP (coil on plug) ignition systems as they’ll wear out far too quickly.
Some cars with high energy DIS were designed for copper spark plugs and in this instance these spark plugs are known to offer high performance.
Single Platinum Spark Plugs
The single platinum spark plug is designed much like the copper spark plug but with a platinum disc welded to the tip of the center electrode. Platinum is more dense and durable than nickel alloy so it holds its sharp edge for more than 100 000 miles.
Platinum spark plugs run higher temperatures which prevent deposit build-up which causes fouling. Spark plugs made from platinum are the best components for newer vehicles with electronic DIS (distributor-based ignition systems).
If the owner’s manual states that your vehicle needs platinum spark plugs, you shouldn’t use copper components to save on cash. Another option is to use double platinum or iridium spark plugs for your vehicle.
Double Platinum Spark Plugs
The double platinum spark plug was designed specifically for waste DIS. The spark jumps from the center electrode to the side electrode for the cylinder that’s on the compression stroke.
The electrical pulse returns to the ignition coil pack making the spark jump backward (from the side electrode to the center electrode) on the partner cylinder. Because the partner cylinder is on the exhaust stroke nothing ignites and the spark is wasted.
You can’t use copper or single platinum spark plugs in cars that have waste systems because the side electrodes aren’t designed to handle the reverse spark. But double platinum spark plugs work well within a waste system.
The side and center platinum discs keep maintaining their sharpened edges allowing sparks to form easily in both directions without causing fast electrode wear.
Iridium Spark Plugs
Spark plugs made from iridium are the best components you can use. Iridium is stronger and lasts 25% longer than platinum spark plugs. Iridium is quite costly and as a result, manufacturers produce electrodes that are 4mm in diameter which is smaller than other spark plugs.
The thin wire center of the iridium electrode produces maximum firing efficiency. Many car manufacturers require either iridium or a combination of platinum and iridium spark plugs for coil on plug ignition systems.
The way iridium components work is as the spark ignites the air and fuel mixture the electrode on the colder side quenches the flame. To combat quenching, some spark plug manufacturers cut a ‘U’ or ‘V’ shaped channel into the surface of the side electrode.
The larger channeled area reduces quenching to allow the flame to expand quicker. Other manufacturers split the end of the side electrode to stop the flame from coming into contact with it. This method shoots the flame straight down into the cylinder.
Now that you know a bit more about spark plugs here are a few brands that may be of assistance to you when you’re due for a spark plug change.
Top 10 Best Spark Plugs 2021
If you’re a hobbyist or a professional mechanic having a multipack of spark plugs is a more practical option when you have several cars to maintain. Even if you don’t use all of them at once, you can keep them in a safe place until you need them.
NGK spark plugs last up to 25% longer than most spark plugs. The components are made from iridium which is a premium material and the electrodes are fine threads which make these spark plugs quite efficient. NGK spark plugs come in packs of six.
The NGK spark plugs can be used in any vehicles that require iridium components but they’re best suited for Toyota and Lexus cars. It’s best to check the car’s manual to ensure the NGK spark plugs are compatible with your vehicle.
Why Use NGK Spark Plugs?
If your car wasn’t running better before, the NGK iridium spark plugs deliver excellent car performance so you’ll have better power experience.
They’re also durable which means they don’t require extensive maintenance, but it’s advisable to always change your spark plugs when you have a vehicle service due.
Based on many positive reviews the NGK brand manufactures only the finest quality spark plugs on the market. So if you need premium quality spark plugs that won’t wear out after a short period of time the best brand to opt for are the NGK 6619 iridium spark plugs.
- Made with premium materials
- Only need to be changed after 100 000 miles
The iridium used to make Denso spark plugs is six times harder and eight times more durable than platinum spark plugs & because of the durability, there is less electrode wear.
Another important note to remember is Denso partners with other manufacturers to supply OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for your car.
Denso electrode threads are 4mm in diameter with 19mm reach and 16mm hex size. It also has a gasket seat, resistor & a solid terminal. The center electrode thread is tipped with iridium and the ground electrode is tipped with platinum which makes this a top performance product.
The Denso spark plugs are versatile as they can be used in any vehicle that requires a product with a mixture of iridium and platinum. Most vehicles are compatible with mixed material spark plugs which make this product a solution for many consumers and luckily they’re quite common.
Why Use Denso 3297 Spark Plugs?
Denso 3297 spark plugs increase your car’s performance and acceleration. Because of the durability of Denso spark plugs they can be used in high performance cars such as off-road vehicles.
This product also stabilizes combustion while your vehicle is idling. The stabilization ensures smooth idling when your car is stationary. According to professional mechanics and positive reviews, the Denso spark plugs should last for at least 100 000 miles.
You’ll find that when you install Denso spark plugs your car will start up more easily and your engine will run a lot smoother. Denso spark plugs are also known to improve your vehicle’s miles per gallon (MPG) stats.
- Improves your car’s performance
- Decreases the risk of engine fouling
- Only fits some car applications
The NGK 5464 spark plugs are impressive and versatile as they can be used in most manufactured cars. These spark plugs can even be used for high performance cars and off-road vehicles as they deliver outstanding acceleration.
NGK manufactures the 5464 spark plug with a 0.6mm thread with a fine iridium tip. The iridium tip ensures durability and a stable spark & the tapered ground electrode minimizes the effects of electrical quenching.
The insulator nose is longer which prevents fouling and the corrugated ribs on the insulator prevent flashovers. The triple gasket seal eliminates the effects of combustion gas leakage. On the NGK spark plug, the iridium alloy has an extremely high melting point which increases durability.
Trivalent metal plating prevents corrosion and it has superior anti-seizing properties.
Why Use NGK 5464 Spark Plugs?
NGK 5464 iridium spark plugs prevent fouling and increase your car’s acceleration. The spark plugs improve ignition and throttle repose. NGK 5464 spark plugs also provide sufficient stabilization to ensure smooth idling.
The NGK 5463 spark plugs are made with iridium which means they’re quite durable and the edge of the electrodes will stay sharp and precise to deliver maximum ignition & performance. Overall these spark plugs are made of the finest quality that car hobbyists and professionals will appreciate.
It’s advisable to always change the spark plugs when the lifespan of the product has ended, but according to reviews they’re low maintenance and will only need to be changed after 100 000 miles or more.
- Increases car acceleration
- You may have to re-gap the spark plugs
With years of experience, they’ve gained recognition as a trusted brand with consistency and quality.
The V-power spark plugs are manufactured with a unique electrode design. It has an integrated notch that creates a spark shape that aids in improving mileage and the overall performance of your engine. The NGK V-power spark plugs contribute to the longevity of the electrode surface.
NGK V-powered spark plugs are designed with trivalent metal plating technology that aids in anti-corrosion and anti-seizing characteristics which makes it an ideal product for DIY enthusiasts
Why Use NGK 6353 Spark Plugs?
The NGK 6953 V-powered spark plugs come at affordable prices and create sufficient ignition for less system voltage. This means more power, efficiency and it reduces the strain on other ignition system components on your engine.
They come in a variety of fitments for many car, trucks and even motorcycle applications. Because these spark plugs are widely used in the auto industry they’re easy to find at any auto repairs shop or online stores.
The NGK V-powered spark plugs are also known to lower emissions which make this brand environmentally friendly. They’re also designed to reduce engine fouling which contributes to the longevity of your engine.
- Improves your engine’s performance
- Low maintenance
- The electrodes are not nickel tipped
The NGK 7090 spark plugs ensure the longevity of your engine as they stop fouling and they’re durable which reduces the effects of electrode wear.
NGK 7090 spark plugs are manufactured with 0.6mm platinum alloy thread that’s been welded to precision. The platinum alloy spark produces a consistently stable spark which reduces voltage requirements.
The insulator nose is specially configured with corrugated ribs to reduce flashovers and improve the throttle response. The ground and center electrodes are made with a platinum alloy that creates a greater spark.
Integrated trivalent metal plating ensures anti-corrosion and prevents seizing. The triple gasket seal decreases the risk of combustion gas leakage.
Why Use NGK 7090 Spark Plugs?
The NGK 7090 G-powered spark plugs are designed to offer superior performance to your engine at lower costs. These spark plugs improve your mileage, the startup of your engine and reduce auto emissions.
NGK G-powered spark plugs are made with premium materials that ensure the sharpness of the electrodes for a longer period of time. Because of the durability of the G-powered spark plugs you only have to change them every 100 000 miles which makes this brand quite economical.
The G-powered NGK spark plugs also increase the life of your engine as it reduces the risk of pollutants and debris from entering your engine.
You can use these spark plugs on virtually any application but it’s advised to check your owner’s manual to see if these are compatible with your vehicle before you purchase them.
- Doesn’t require any maintenance
- Seems to be cheaply made
In 1902 Bosch was granted a patent for their spark plug design and since then the company has manufactured over 20 000 types of spark plugs for every application. The Bosch 4417 platinum spark plugs are one of those designs. It forms part of their premium components.
Bosch 4417 spark plugs are manufactured with impressive electrode components. These spark plugs are made with four yttrium enhanced ground electrodes and the center electrodes are made with platinum.
The yttrium ground electrodes reduce oxidization which increases the life of the spark plugs.
The insulator nose is corrugated which improves throttle and reduces flashovers. Bosch 4417 electrode gaps are factory set so there’s no need for adjustments. The factory set gapping also ensures ease of application into OEM applications.
Why Use Bosch 4417 Spark Plugs?
Because Bosch is a well known brand you can find many of its spark plug models in any auto repair shop. The Bosch 4417 plugs are designed to deliver the most powerful spark to increase engine performance.
The Bosch 4417 spark plugs lower fuel consumption and improves the engine’s idle when you’re vehicle is stationary.
The yttrium and platinum combination electrodes are robust & they keep their sharp edge for longer periods of time. This means the spark plugs can be changed after every 100 000 to 150 000 miles.
- Stops engine fouling
- Made with premium material
- Improves engine performance
- Doesn’t fit all car applications
Champion spark plugs improve your car’s overall performance and they’re quite durable for spark plugs made with copper electrodes.
The copper core center electrodes allow higher control of the plug heat range that contributes to consistent engine performance. The Champion copper spark plugs have patented ultra seal coated shells that aid in anti-corrosion.
Champion manufactures these spark plugs with a SAC-9 semi-conductor resistor that contributes to suppression. The electrodes are made with a platinum alloy which contributes to a sharper spark focus.
The nose of the insulator is corrugated which improves the throttle and reduces flashovers. Champion copper spark plugs are of OEM standards which aid in maximum performance and maintain standard operating temperatures.
Why Use Champion RE14MCC4 Spark Plugs?
Because of the Champion’s patented SAC-9 semi-conductor resistor these spark plugs aid in the suppression of radio frequencies which can cause problems with vehicle electronics.
The champion copper spark plugs are designed mostly for older model components which improve mileage and restores engine power. Champion copper spark plugs also improve the acceleration of your vehicle and contribute to smoother idling when your car is stationary.
- Trusted brand
- OEM standards
- Creates misfire error codes
The iridium components are stronger than platinum and copper which makes this model the ideal spark plug to have as they often last longer than some others.
Bosch designed the 9652 model with double iridium ground electrodes made with a fine 0.6mm thread which provides superior ignitability. The center electrode is welded with the iridium that contributes to the longevity of the spark plugs.
The nose is corrugated and its OEM standard makes these spark plugs an ideal choice for your vehicle.
The factory set pre-gap ensures an easy application when changing your engine’s spark plugs.
Why Use Bosch 9652 Spark Plugs?
Bosch model 9652 spark plugs contribute to the ultimate performance of your vehicle. Because of the double iridium electrodes, these spark plugs can produce a great spark that contributes to the overall power of your engine.
These spark plugs also improve your mileage and ensure smoother idling from your engine when it’s stationary. Because of the spark produced by the double iridium electrodes, it reduces the risk of contaminants entering into your engine cylinders.
The Bosch 9652 spark plugs are made with premium materials that contribute to the durability and sharpness of the electrodes. They’re known to have four times the standard service life however you should always change your spark plugs according to your owner’s manual or after 100 000 miles.
- Made with premium materials
- Trusted brand
- Some of the spark plugs sold are not authentic
AC Delco spark plugs also offer a wide variety of features that improve performance and durability.
The RAPIDFIRE spark plugs are manufactured with ribless insulators for a more secure fit. The core is made from 100% pure copper which improves the heat transfer to help your engine run cool and prolongs the longevity of the electrodes.
A platinum center electrode tip generates a maximum spark which aids powering up your engine to its full performance ability. These spark plugs also have solid state suppressors with two-piece glass and brass seals.
Why Use ACDelco RAPIDFIRE Spark Plugs?
RAPIDFIRE spark plugs are easy to install as well as durable. It’s made from a mixture of copper and platinum to create a sufficient amount of energy to power up your engine & improve the longevity of your vehicle’s application.
The AC Delco RAPIDFIRE spark plugs improve the acceleration of your vehicle and contribute to smoother idling when your car is stationary. These spark plugs also reduce engine fouling by reducing the number of contaminants that enter your engine’s cylinders.
RAPIDFIRE is made from premium materials that will keep the sharpness of the electrodes and reduces the effects of corrosion & seizing. The platinum integrated on the center electrode reduces voltage requirements of the ignition system.
The AC Delco RAPIDFIRE spark plugs can be used on many different applications but it’s advisable to check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle is compatible with this product.
- Prevents engine fouling
- The spark plugs may need to be changed more frequently
NGK makes a variety of products for different applications for cars, trucks and motorbikes. The NGK 4548 is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured) which means it will contribute to the overall performance of your vehicle.
The NGK 4548 standard spark plugs are manufactured with a 100% solid copper core for superior conductivity. The insulator nose is long with corrugation that’s made from pure alumina silicate.
These spark plugs also have dual ground electrodes and a triple gasket seal with a shell that’s been dipped in zinc.
Why Use ACDelco RAPIDFIRE Spark Plugs?
The solid copper core is a premium conductor that creates a superior spark and improves heat dissipation which keeps the engine cool. NGK 4548 spark plugs improve fuel consumption and ensure the longevity of your engine as it stops pollutants & debris from entering the cylinders.
These spark plugs are known to ensure anti-corrosion and anti-seizing & improve the throttle of your vehicle. The corrugated insulator also eliminates flashovers and the insulator reduces frequencies that affect the electronics of your vehicle.
NGK 4548 model spark plugs are high performance spark plugs that can be used in off-road motorbikes as well as race cars as they improve acceleration and the performance of your application. The electrodes are durable and keep their sharp edges to ensure sufficient spark performance.
The gapping is also factory set so there will be no need for adjustments when fitting the spark plugs onto your engine.
- Increases your engine’s performance
- Easy to install
- May be cheaply made
Guide to Buying the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers
When to Change Your Spark Plugs
Spark plugs can have an infinite lifespan depending on a myriad of factors. In most modern cars spark plugs only need to be changed every 80 000 to 100 000 miles. With specialty vehicles, you don’t have to replace your spark plugs as frequently.
In higher performance cars or vehicles with custom built engines, the spark plugs will need to be changed often. In race cars, spark plugs are often changed daily.
Conventional cars only require spark plug replacements once every few years but changing them earlier ensures the longevity of your engine and there’s less risk of a car breakdown. All the answers you need are in your owner’s manual.
The owner’s manual gives you the information you need on when you should change your spark plugs and what kind of components you need to install into your vehicle. The intervals set in your owner’s manual are only guidelines so it’s advised that you change your spark plugs before the time stated in the booklet.
Basically, if you feel any loss of performance, fuel efficiency and smoothness from your engine then it’s possibly time to change your spark plugs & do an overall service on your vehicle.
Remember to change your spark plugs with every service because if you fail to do so, there’s a risk of damage to other ignition systems. Insufficient spark plugs can also lead to engine fouling as there’s a higher risk of pollutants that can enter the engine’s system.
Changing your spark plugs regularly can improve your car’s acceleration, increase engine durability, improve fuel mileage and generally add to your car’s overall performance.
Do Spark Plugs Need Extensive Maintenance?
Spark plugs don’t need any additional maintenance once they’re integrated onto your engine. They’re simply designed to operate at a given time and maintenance on them means you need to replace them.
It’s advised to check your owner’s manual to see what type of spark plugs are required for your vehicle as this can greatly impact the performance of your engine.
What Kind of Spark Plugs do You Need?
Spark plugs may all look similar and have the same function but they are all made for different applications. There are different physical characteristics and heat ranges. Spark plugs can only be used in cars they’re designed for.
Even though they seem like they’re standard components they are actually manufactured in different shapes, sizes and materials such as iridium, copper & platinum. There are over a dozen types of spark plugs based on the design of the electrodes alone.
In order to select the correct spark plugs for your vehicle, you need to check the dimensions, shape and material used to manufacture them. By checking these fundamental factors you’ll be able to see if the spark plugs are compatible with your vehicle.
On the other hand, an easier way to check what type of spark plugs your vehicle needs it to read your owner’s manual. The manual will give you information of the exact spark plugs your vehicle is compatible with.
The owner’s manual will give you the exact spark plug make, model (with a model number) and variations your vehicle requires. The spark plugs listed in the manual is selected by engineers as the best components for your engine’s durability, efficiency and performance.
If your engine has been modified or if it’s not an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) you may have to purchase a special kind of spark plug suited for your vehicle.
Remember This before You Purchase Spark Plugs
- Be sure to purchase the correct number of spark plugs for your engine. There are applications that require two spark plugs per cylinder although most only need one.
- Make sure you use the same spark plugs for all the cylinders on your engine. Also, be sure to change all of the spark plugs at the same time.
- Spark plugs that have been severely worn can potentially disintegrate within the engine causing pieces of broken contaminants to fall into the cylinder. This causes extreme engine damage so it’s best to use quality spark plugs even if they’re more expensive.
How to Change your Spark Plugs
It’s probably best to leave the spark plug changing to the professional mechanics out there particularly if you’re not familiar with the task. Although, if you’re handy with cars and you prefer to do your car service yourself, it can be quite easy depending on the type of engine.
For those who aren’t familiar with changing spark plugs but still would like to give the task a go, the best way to tackle the challenge is by reading your owner’s manual. The manual will give you the exact steps to take and may look similar to these guidelines:
- Remove the coil packs or spark plug wires from their terminals by pulling them out of the top of the engine. In older applications you may have to remove additional clips, covers or fasteners to access the spark plug wires or coil packs for removal.
- Clean the tubes around the spark plug sockets with a machine that produces high pressured air or simply use a clean cloth. It’s important to clean the sockets before installing new plugs as this reduces the risk of pollutants and debris from entering your engine.
- Use a spark plug socket to loosen the components and then remove them by pulling upwards.
- Install your new spark plugs and ensure they’re properly gapped & tighten the components down to ensure a sufficient fit.
- Reattach all the spark plug coil packs or wires and reinstall the clips, fasteners or covers.
- Repeat the process for each plug.
If you’re looking for the best spark plugs on the market for your application consider the above mentioned products. They’re all well known brands that have gained recognition over the years for their high quality products and expertise.
These spark plugs are manufactured to perfection to ensure durability and to reduce the effects of electrode wear. Changing your spark plugs regularly improves your vehicles acceleration, mileage and ensures the longevity of your engine.
If you’re unsure which products to select for your vehicle, consult your local professional mechanic or refer to your owner’s manual. These products are easy to find and there’s no shortage of these brands.
The best brand at the moment is the NGK as they make many different types of spark plugs for every application. They come in a variety of sizes, materials and shapes so you’re sure to find an NGK spark plug that’s compatible with your vehicle.
They might be small compared to other components in your car but they’re vitally important. Opt for one of the above products to improve your vehicle’s performance for affordable prices today. You will immediately feel how smooth and easy it is to drive your car after a quick spark plug change. Worth the effort, right?