Car owners should also have to familiarize yourself with trivial stuff like the spark plugs and its different types.
Aside from the typical oil change and tire rotation, there are a bunch of other maintenance checks that a car owner should know. You can always opt to get the work done by professionals.
But there is no greater glory for a car owner than to DIY his own car problems. But before that, one must first familiarize themselves with the many parts of his vehicle.
This shouldn’t just be the wheels, the engine, and the gas tank. You would also have to familiarize yourself with trivial stuff like the spark plugs and its different types.
But what good will this do you? Why would you need to know more about spark plugs? What does it do? What makes each type of spark plug different from each other? Philcarnews.com has all the answers to that and more.
Why would you need to know more about spark plugs?
Some people say that “a spark plug is nothing more than a spark plug”. But a spark plug is actually more than that. Some spark plugs perform better and are more efficient than others.
They can also vary in price and the material they’re made from. Some are even meant to handle more workload than the rest. All those facts make it vital to check what your manufacturer suggests for your vehicle.
Spark plugs are all about the saying “small but powerful.” They are tiny little devices that have bolts of lightning in them. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the compressed mixture of fuel and air.
This happens in each cylinder of any internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. There are insulated center electrodes that run the length of a spark plug. There are also one (sometimes more) ground electrodes that can be found at the bottom end. These are separated from an exposed end of a center electrode by the spark gap.
If the ignition coil’s voltage supply to the spark plug is high enough, the electric energy jumps over the gap. This forms the spark. Electrodes were originally made from copper.
Spark plugs are all about the saying “small but powerful”
But now, they are also manufacturing electrodes from more precious materials. These materials include platinum and iridium.
Newer types of spark plugs come with smaller center electrodes to lower the voltage necessary to create a spark. Less voltage needs equal to an efficient ignition system.
In a lot of gasoline-powered vehicles, there are as many spark plugs as there are cylinders. In some cases, more high-powered vehicles are equipped with two spark plugs for every cylinder.
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The main types of materials used for spark plugs are nickel/copper, single platinum, silver, iridium, and double platinum. The best spark plug isn’t the most expensive one or made from the best material.
The “best one” will depend on the requirements of the vehicle that needs it. Listed here are more details on each type of spark plug.
The center electrode of copper spark plugs is where you can find the copper core. It is coated with nickel alloy. These types of spark plugs come with the largest diameter. So they will need more voltage in generating a spark.
Nickel alloy is a very soft material. It isn’t very durable so copper spark plugs will most likely need to be replaced often. Some cars will need copper spark plugs even though they don’t last very long.
The center electrode of copper spark plugs is where you can find the copper core
There are also cases when installing a more expensive type of spark plug in these vehicles turns out to be a waste of money. In these cases, it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Some of the pros of using copper spark plugs are that they’re inexpensive. They are also appropriate for way older vehicles - even for those built before the 1980s.
These perform well even when placed under turbocharged or high-compression conditions. Its disadvantages include its shorter lifespan and higher voltage requirement.
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Spark plugs made of iridium last the longest. This is because iridium is hard and durable and is actually tougher than platinum. These types of spark plugs are made with small center electrodes.
These require less voltage for generating a spark. The advantages that you get from using iridium spark plugs can be seen in its price.
Spark plugs made of iridium last the longest
A lot of auto manufacturers these days now use iridium spark plugs in their products. So if your vehicle is equipped with one, it’s best to replace them with iridium spark plugs as well. Downgrading to copper or nickel is not suggested because of their less durable property.
Some pros of iridium spark plugs include their resistance to complete combustion and durability. They also require less voltage. But they are definitely expensive.
These spark plugs are similar to copper/nickel spark plugs. The only difference is that the center electrode comes with a platinum disc. This is welded to the spark plug’s tip instead of the nickel alloy only.
This spark plug definitely lasts longer compared to nickel alloy. These are also more capable of generating heat. This equals less carbon buildup. For new vehicles with coil-on-plug ignitions, this is recommended.
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These spark plugs are similar to copper/nickel spark plugs
Some of the pros of these types of spark plugs are their long life spans. It can live up to 100, 000 miles. The only drawback is that they’re also expensive.
These types of spark plugs come with a platinum coating. This coats both the ground and center electrodes. These are also long-lasting and efficient. These are a great suggestion if you have a wasted spark ignition. It is also very reliable but it is also quite costly compared to the copper spark plug.
Silver spark plugs are a bit rarer than the rest in this list. The electrodes in these spark plugs are silver coated. They also don’t last as long as platinum or iridium spark plugs. These are a common choice in old European motorcycles and cars.
The pros of this type of spark plug are its thermal conductivity. It has, however, decreased longevity.
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