Are There Different Kinds of Spark Plugs?

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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.


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Jason

31 years of experience
148 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Surprise, Arizona
Needed new brake pads on my Land Rover-and booked through “your mechanic”- this was my second time using this service and I have to say- these guys are awesome- Today, Jason came out to my work place- and completed the work quickly. Thank you!!
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Jason was on time, self motivated, well educated in his craft, and very helpful. I am fully sold on your method of using the home service. Jason helped by creating a safer ride for my wife, saving me time, and saving money for my family. I will be a client forever. Dennis Laycock

Lee

18 years of experience
105 reviews
Lee
18 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Richmond, Virginia
Lee was professional and knowledgeable. The job did not take long he was a little late but like I said professional because he let know that he was running late. LEE IS AWESOME!!!!!!

Willie

23 years of experience
23 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Jeep Compass - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - North Hollywood, California
I made an appointment to have my brake rotors/disc replaced. On the day I scheduled my car services- it ended up raining. Willie checked in, moved my appointment, and continued to communicate through out the day until he was able to come work on my car. He took great car to make the repairs ANNNDDD SAVED ME MONEY by only doing what was necessary (only one of the rotors needed replacing). A blessing.

Honorio

18 years of experience
782 reviews
Honorio
18 years of experience
Saturn Vue - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Sunnyvale, California
This was our second appointment to service our Honda and Saturn with Honorio and we will continue to do so in the future. We highly recommend Honorio.

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