A question we get asked very often is which spark plugs are better, Iridium or Platinum. Both materials are known for their durability and improved engine performance, but which is better for fuel economy and horsepower and lasts longer? Iridium spark plugs have a smaller electrode tip that provides a more focused spark, while Platinum spark plugs have a longer lifespan than traditional spark plugs. Both materials have pros and cons, and the best option for your vehicle depends on your specific driving needs and conditions. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between Iridium and Platinum spark plugs and help you determine the better choice for your vehicle.
Iridium Spark Plugs
Lifespan: Long-life iridium spark plugs will typically last up to 100,000 miles or longer, provided the engine isn’t using oil or doesn’t spend a lot of time idling.
Pros of Iridium Spark Plugs:
- Fine electrode tip: Iridium spark plugs have a finer electrode tip, providing better ignitability and fuel efficiency.
- Longer lifespan: Iridium spark plugs have a longer lifespan than traditional copper spark plugs due to their high resistance to wear and corrosion.
- Improved performance: Iridium spark plugs can improve performance, especially in high-performance vehicles, due to their ability to handle higher temperatures and greater stress.
- Improved fuel efficiency: Iridium spark plugs can improve fuel efficiency by ensuring complete fuel combustion, resulting in a more efficient engine.
- High melting point: Iridium has a high melting point of 4,435°F, which makes it ideal for high-performance engines that generate high heat levels.
- Durable: Iridium spark plugs are more durable than other spark plugs and are less likely to fail under extreme conditions.
Cons of Iridium Spark Plugs:
- Cost: Iridium spark plugs are typically more expensive than traditional copper spark plugs and slightly more expensive than platinum.
- Installation: Iridium spark plugs are generally more difficult to install as they are smaller in size and some cases, may require special tools.
- Limited vehicle compatibility: Iridium spark plugs may not be compatible with all vehicles, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing.
- Reduced performance in certain conditions: In certain conditions, such as cold weather, iridium spark plugs may not perform as well as other spark plugs.
- Price: Iridium is a rare metal, which makes it more expensive to produce and may lead to higher prices for iridium spark plugs.
- Unnecessary for most vehicles: Iridium spark plugs are often not necessary for most vehicles, as they offer improved performance only in high-performance vehicles or those driven in extreme conditions.
Platinum Spark Plugs
Lifespan: Platinum is harder than copper; it holds an edge over conventional spark plugs and can last up to 100,000 miles.
Pros of platinium spark plgus.
- Longer lifespan: Platinum spark plugs have a longer lifespan than traditional spark plugs due to the hard-wearing nature of the platinum material.
- Improved fuel efficiency: The precise spark created by platinum plugs can improve engine performance and fuel efficiency.
- Better performance: Platinum spark plugs provide a more consistent and reliable spark, leading to improved engine performance, especially in high-performance engines.
- Resistant to misfires: Platinum spark plugs are more resistant to misfires, which can occur when a spark plug fails to ignite fuel in the engine. This leads to improved engine performance and reduced emissions.
- Requires less voltage to spark: Platinum plugs require less voltage to produce a spark, reducing the strain on the ignition system and improving reliability.
- Higher melting point: Platinum has a melting point of 3,215°F, which is higher than traditional spark plug materials, making it more durable and resistant to heat damage in high-performance engines.
- Price: Platinium spark plugs are typically less expensive than iridium spark plugs.
Cons of platinum spark plugs.
- Cost: Platinum spark plugs are generally more expensive than traditional spark plugs, which can be a drawback for those on a budget.
- Compatibility: Not all vehicles are compatible with platinum spark plugs, and they may not be a direct replacement for the original spark plugs. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications before making a purchase.
- Wear: Although platinum spark plugs have a longer lifespan than traditional spark plugs, they can still wear out over time and require replacement.
- Difficulty in the installation: Platinum spark plugs may be more difficult due to their small size and precious metal construction. This can require specialized tools and expertise, adding to the replacement cost.
- Reduced performance in certain engines: In some engines, platinum spark plugs can lead to reduced performance due to their smaller electrode size, resulting in a weaker spark.
- Require specialized care: Platinum spark plugs require special care during installation and removal to prevent damage to the precious metal electrode. This can add to the difficulty and cost of replacement.
Iridium spark plugs are known for their durability and longevity, boasting six times harder and stronger material than platinum and a higher melting point than platinum by over 1000° F. With fine electrodes, Iridium spark plugs provide consistent and reliable ignition while exhibiting exceptional wear resistance. This superior strength results in a lifespan of up to 25% longer than conventional platinum spark plugs, making Iridium an attractive option for those looking for improved engine performance and longevity.
Iridium and platinum spark plugs have their benefits and drawbacks. Iridium spark plugs have a finer electrode tip, which provides better ignitability, longer lifespan, and improved fuel efficiency. Platinum spark plugs have a larger surface area on the electrode, which helps to reduce wear and extend lifespan. Platinum is not quite as conductive as iridium. While in most cases, we recommend following the manufacturer’s recommendation, based on our research and experience, iridium spark plugs deliver better performance compared to platinum spark plugs and extended life.
If upgrading from copper spark plugs, we recommend upgrading to iridium spark plugs. If your engine already requires high-performance spark plugs such as platinum and iridium, we recommend sticking with the spark plug type recommended in the owner’s manual. If your check engine light or any warning light is on, remember that the YOUCANIC scanner allows you to diagnose all the systems on your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use platinum instead of iridium?
Don’t switch from iridium to platinum or copper spark plugs if owner’s manual specifies iridium, it could result in poor engine performance. Consult a mechanic for best spark plug selection.
What is the main disadvantage of platinum spark plugs?
Single platinum spark plugs have a platinum disc on center electrode while double platinum spark plugs have it on center & side electrodes. Platinum has lower conductivity than copper, leading to inferior performance compared to copper but longer life.
Have questions about your car? Get assistance in our newly launched forum section. We’re here to provide support!