Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Are There Different Kinds of Spark Plugs?

Are There Different Kinds of Spark Plugs?

Spark Plugs

Your engine needs at least one spark plug per cylinder to ignite the fuel and air mixture and make the engine run. But not all spark plugs are the same. There are several different types on the market, and you’ll need to ensure that you’re getting the right type. Additionally, your vehicle might have more than one spark plug per cylinder (some high-performance engines have two).

Types of spark plugs

  • Performance: One of the first types of spark plugs you’ll find is performance – these come in a range of different styles, although the only thing that really varies is the shape, configuration and placement of the metal tab at the bottom. This is what the electrode arcs to. You’ll find single tab, dual tab, and quad tab configurations available, all claiming to offer better performance than the others. However, there is conflicting evidence about whether these types of plugs actually offer much of a benefit over the single tab design.

  • Heat Rating: Another consideration when buying spark plugs is the heat rating from the manufacturer. Basically, this is a notation on how quickly heat dissipates from the spark plug tip after arcing. If you’re after better performance, you'll want a higher heat rating. For normal driving, it’s not so much of a concern.

  • Electrode Material: You’ve doubtless seen a number of different electrode materials on the market. They range from copper to iridium and platinum (and double platinum, for that matter). The different materials have no effect on performance. They’re designed to make the plugs last longer. Copper wears out the fastest, but offers the best conductivity. Platinum can last for a long time, as can iridium, but neither offers better performance than basic spark plugs without the high cost for the exotic metals.

The best type of spark plug for your vehicle is most likely the same kind that came from the manufacturer. If you’re not sure what those are, check your owner’s manual or talk with a trusted mechanic. However, if you’re modifying your engine for better performance, you probably want to look for a high performance spark plug that will offer better combustion.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...


Related questions

Q: Spark plugs

Installing a spark plug incorrect is most likely caused by the gap of the plug is incorrect or hit when installing it closing the gap. The spark plug may also get cracked when installing the plug. After any of these...

Q: What are the Different Types of Spark Plugs Available?

Talking about spark plugs is a never-ending discussion. Which ones are best? The answer to that question is somewhat trite, but can still be relevant depending on your vehicle and its intended use. Spark plugs come in two basic categories:...

Q: Reinstalled valve body incorrectly.

I would seek a diagnosis from a certified transmission mechanic. He should be able to get everything back where it is supposed to go no problem. Transmissions are very complex and he will have the training to get if fixed...