Is it time for a spark plug replacement or upgrade?
Are you wondering if platinum vs iridium spark plugs are an option?
Don’t worry. We’ll help you get some answers.
In this article, we’ll cover the difference between platinum and iridium spark plugs and help you understand which is a better option. We’ll also discuss some FAQs to clarify your doubts further.
This Article Contains:
- Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs: What’s The Difference?
- Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs: Benefits And Disadvantages
- Iridium Vs Platinum: Which Is A Better Plug?
- 5 Spark Plug FAQs
Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs: What’s The Difference?
Platinum and iridium spark plugs are both efficient. However, they have unique abilities that distinguish them from one another.
1. What Are They?
Platinum Spark Plug: These plugs use platinum on the central electrode. Platinum improves the spark plug’s durability, allowing it to last 100,000 miles.
Platinum spark plugs generate more heat than their counterparts, burning off debris buildup more efficiently. This type of spark plug is recommended if you own a new car with an electronic distributor ignition system.
Iridium Spark Plug: These spark plugs have a central electrode with an iridium tip. Iridium plugs power engines faster than many other standard plug options, providing better performance. That’s because of the concentrated spark cast by the small center electrode.
Iridium also possesses a higher melting point and can last a long time, reducing your car’s need for a spark plug replacement.
Iridium and platinum both increase longevity in modern spark plugs, compared to a standard plug like copper or silver.
However, iridium is stronger and harder than platinum. That’s also why an iridium plug has a longer lifespan than platinum.
Regarding the price, iridium is an expensive spark plug compared to platinum.
Here’s the pricing of both plug types:
- Single platinum spark plug: Single platinum spark plugs start around $10 per plug.
- Double platinum spark plug: Double platinum plugs can cost roughly $20 per piece.
- Iridium spark plug: This type of plug with an iridium tip can cost anywhere between $20-$100 per piece.
Platinum has better performance in terms of durability than other standard spark plugs.
However, when compared with iridium, there’s a major difference. Iridium has better performance in igniting the air-fuel compression within the combustion chamber.
Iridium spark plugs also have a longer lifespan (typically over 100,000 to 120,000 miles) than comparable platinum spark plugs (up to 100,000 miles).
Note: A copper spark plug has a copper core central electrode. This allows it better conductivity than platinum and iridium plugs. However, the copper plug has a low melting point, so its electrode is coated with nickel alloy to increase durability.
With that said, let’s make a quick comparison.
Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs: Benefits And Disadvantages
Unsure about which spark plug to pick?
The simplest way to find the answer is to compare the benefits and disadvantages of platinum and iridium spark plugs.
1. Platinum Spark Plug
Here are some platinum plug benefits and disadvantages:
Platinum Spark Plug Benefits
- Lasts longer than a regular copper plug
- Reduces and stops debris buildup on the spark plug electrode pair — the lesser the contamination, the smoother the ignition system
- Relatively cheaper than iridium
Platinum Spark Plug Disadvantages
- Not the strongest spark plug when compared to iridium plugs
- Less durable than iridium spark plugs
2. Iridium Spark Plug
Here are the iridium plug advantages and disadvantages:
Iridium Spark Plug Benefits
- Harder than platinum ones
- Uses less voltage in operation
- Has a concentrated spark for efficient combustion and improved fuel economy
- Longer durability than most spark plugs
Iridium Spark Plug Disadvantages
- Expensive spark plug (compared to platinum and many other standard spark plug options)
Now that you’ve compared the best spark plugs, let’s find out which is for your car.
Iridium Vs Platinum: Which Is A Better Plug?
A platinum plug may be harder than a copper spark plug but an iridium plug is the hardest among the three!
The iridium spark plug can last longer than platinum by almost twice the mileage, reducing the need to replace a bad spark plug every 60,000 miles. It can also enhance fuel economy.
Clearly, an iridium spark plug is the better option on any given day. The only problem with iridium is that it’s an expensive spark plug than platinum.
So if you’re on a budget and yet want an upgrade or some reliability, a platinum spark plug is the answer. It’s also one of the best spark plugs recommended if your car has an electronic distributor ignition system.
Got a waste spark distributor ignition system?
Go for double platinum spark plugs for the perfect fit.
Now let’s answer some FAQs to understand spark plugs further.
5 Spark Plug FAQs
Here are the answers to some spark plug related questions:
1. What Does A Spark Plug Do?
A spark plug is a vital component in an internal combustion vehicle. It supplies your car’s engine with the electric spark required to initiate the combustion cycle (inside the combustion chamber) with the help of an ignition coil.
During the compression cycle, the piston (controlled by the crankshaft’s motion) compresses the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
The spark plug creates an arc of electric current from the center electrode to the ground electrode at the tip of each spark plug assembly. The generated spark ignites the air-fuel mixture, initiating combustion that pushes the piston down and powers the engine.
2. Can I Use A Platinum Spark Plug Instead Of Iridium?
We don’t recommend replacing iridium plugs with platinum ones. Downgrading will impact the engine’s performance.
However, if you already have platinum spark plugs, you can upgrade to iridium, provided you’ve considered the higher expense.
3. What’s The Purpose Of Metal In A Spark Plug?
Manufacturers use metals (some precious metals too) in the center and side electrodes of a spark plug.
The metal (like a copper core) used directs the high voltage from the spark plug wire through the spark plug. This allows spark generation when the voltage goes across the small gap between the central and side electrodes. The spark generated initiates the combustion process.
The utilization of metals like nickel alloy, platinum, and iridium reduces the wear caused by high voltage sparks. This extends the interval between spark plug replacements and reduces misfire rates.
4. How Do I Select The Best Spark Plug Material For My Car?
Check your car owner’s manual for the recommended spark plug.
If your owner’s manual recommends iridium spark plugs, don’t go for platinum spark plugs or copper spark plugs. Downgrading risks poor engine performance.
You can also ask your automotive mechanic for advice on choosing the best spark plugs for your car or simply stick to the OE plug.
5. What’s The Difference Between Single Platinum And Double Platinum Spark Plugs?
Platinum spark plugs come in two varieties:
- Single platinum spark plugs: A single platinum spark plug is like a copper plug with a platinum disc welded to the center electrode.
- Double platinum spark plugs: Double platinum plugs have a platinum disc on both the side (ground electrode) and center electrode.
Comparing iridium vs platinum spark plugs allows you to know which plug to choose after considering their benefits, limitations, and cost.
Both plugs do a fine job, but an iridium spark plug offers more efficiency and remarkable performance. On the other hand, a platinum plug is a quality spark plug at a reasonable price.
If you need help changing a bad spark plug or getting the right auto part recommendation, you can always count on AutoNation Mobile Service.
AutoNation Mobile Service is a mobile auto maintenance and repair solution available all week with an easy online booking process. Contact us, and our ASE-certified mechanics will come over to help out any time!