(Updated on July 23, 2020)
When air and fuel start to mix inside of the internal combustion chamber, it needs an electrical spark to ignite. The ignition coil is attached to something called a spark plug, which is responsible for forming a high voltage electrical spark that is necessary for igniting the air and fuel mixture of the internal combustion chamber.
Of course, most people would assume that all spark plugs are the same because they do the same job. The truth is that many spark plug options on the market are different because some are better quality than others and some last longer than others.
Two of the best spark plug options are iridium spark plugs and platinum spark plugs. To help you decide which is right for you, below are the pros and cons of each type of spark plug.
See Also: 5 Different Types of Spark Plugs
Iridium Spark Plugs (Pros)
Below are the top 3 benefits of iridium spark plugs.
1) Long Lifespan
If you want to use spark plugs in your vehicle which will last for the longest time, then you’ll want to use iridium spark plugs. It is estimated that iridium spark plugs will last for at least 60,000 miles. However, they’ve been known to go up to 80,000 miles, or even 120,000 miles, depending on the vehicle.
This is often the amount of mileage that most people put on their cars before they get a new one. So, an investment in these spark plugs would surely be worth it for this. You may never actually have these spark plugs go bad on you.
2) Great Durability
Iridium is a silvery-white metal that is harder than platinum. This makes it the hardest spark plug on the market. Because of that, iridium spark plugs have the greatest durability and allows you to get the most possible use out of them.
3) Less Voltage Needed
When the electrical current is generated from the iridium spark plug, it does not require as much voltage because it has a tiny electrode in the center of it. This may give your vehicle a more consistent and reliable spark.
Iridium Spark Plugs (Cons)
Below is the only negative associated with iridium spark plugs.
Since Iridium spark plugs are the best spark plugs on the market, it should be no surprise that they’d also be the most expensive. If you’re someone who is on a tight budget, then you’ll probably want to look for cheaper spark plugs.
Platinum Spark Plugs (Pros)
Below are the top 3 benefits of platinum spark plugs. Overall, we believe platinum plugs are usually the best spark plugs you can get.
1) Lasts Longer Than Copper
Many of the features on a platinum spark plug resemble those on a copper spark plug. However, a copper spark plug contains a nickel alloy center electrode while a platinum spark plug has a platinum center electrode.
For this reason, platinum spark plugs can last up to 60,000 miles while a copper spark plug lasts up to 20,000 miles.
2) Stays Cleaner
Platinum tends to get hot a lot faster than other materials. This is actually a benefit to a platinum spark plug because it means any contaminants that get on the plug will get burnt up.
Whenever you have less debris, you have a smooth running ignition system.
3) Good Price
If you want a good quality spark plug at a decent price, the platinum spark plug is priced more affordable than the iridium spark plug. The platinum will still last a long time for the money and you don’t have to resort to cheaper copper spark plugs which have a short lifespan.
Platinum Spark Plugs (Cons)
Below is the only negative associated with platinum spark plugs.
1) Limited Durability
Platinum spark plugs are certainly more durable than copper spark plugs. However, they’re not as durable as iridium spark plugs so having to change your spark plugs may be needed sooner.
This means if durability is a quality that you’re looking for the most, then you won’t get it from platinum spark plugs. You’ll have to go with the iridium instead.
When you buy new parts for your car, there are usually several options on the market. Each of these options has its own unique set of pros and cons. At the end of the day, it’s best to check your owner’s manual and use the type of replacement part that the factory recommends. One exception to this is if a new and more advanced part has come to market since your vehicle was built.
Note that some vehicles require a certain type of spark plug for a reason. Always do research before deviating from manufacturer recommendations.