Before you mess with your spark plugs, you first need to know what they are and what’s the difference between the two main types.
What Are Spark Plugs and How Do They Work?
A spark plug is a device that fits into your engine’s cylinder head. This seemingly simple device does a lot more than it’s credited for. Spark plugs work by creating an artificial bolt of lightning in the combustion chamber of your engine.
That bolt or spark ignites the mixture of air and fuel inside the combustion chamber. Also, spark plugs transfer heat away from the combustion chamber.
So, how do they work?
First, the piston travels down the cylinder, drawing in a mixture of air and fuel. Then, it goes back up toward the spark plugs and compresses that mixture.
Once the piston is at its full reach on top of the cylinder, the spark plug ignites the air and fuel mixture. Finally, the piston is forced back down and creates the power your car needs to start.
Standard Vs. Premium Spark Plugs
There are two main types of spark plugs you need to know about before you can start fixing them. Let’s see what some of their benefits and disadvantages are.
Standard Spark Plugs
The standard spark plugs are usually made out of copper and have a nickel-alloy coating for the electrode.
Keep in mind that only the inside part of the spark plug is made out of copper. The reason they only have copper on the inside is that the high temperatures inside of the engine would melt the spark plugs.
In most cases, the standard plugs are cheaper compared to the premium ones but have a much shorter life span.
Premium Spark Plugs
Premium spark plugs have an alloy made out of precious metals, such as platinum or iridium, instead of nickel.
While they are more durable and have a much higher melting point compared to the standard ones, they are also more expensive.
Most luxury and sports cars nowadays use premium spark plugs. If you need to replace your spark plugs and your car came with platinum ones, I wouldn’t recommend switching out for standard ones.