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Iridium vs. Platinum Spark Plugs: Everything There Is To Know!

Iridium vs. Platinum Spark Plugs: Everything There Is To Know!

Spark plugs are a key part of the engine in your vehicle, providing the necessary spark to fire the engine and create the internal combustion to power the vehicle. Without this correct timing, the internal combustion would not occur, and your car would not move. However, with spark plugs, whether iridium vs. platinum spark plugs, your car can run efficiently and at the right performance level. 

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What Are Spark Plugs?


Your engine is the heart of the car and in control of various functions. When looking at the spark plugs and their performance levels, you need to look at how it works in tandem with the engine to provide a high-performance level. Without the proper ignition timing, the engine’s internal combustion would never happen, meaning the engine would never fire. If the engine fails to fire, your car will not be able to move. In order to turn the fuel in your vehicle from energy into the kinetic energy to drive the car, your engine must find a way to complete this transfer of energy quickly and efficiently. 


  • The Function of Spark Plugs 



In your engine, the valves fill the cylinder with a proper ratio of air and fuel. As the piston moves upward, it compresses the mixture and creates potential energy. During this compression height, the engine ignites the air and fuel mixture to power the engine. Depending on what kind of engine you have and what kind of car you have, you have to make the decision as to whether iridium vs. platinum spark plugs work best for your vehicle. 


  • Engine Internal Combustion



Without this spark, there would be no explosion in the engine to produce the necessary power to run the car. These small parts are very important in creating the electricity required to set off the ignition timing. Since these parts are so vital to the engine’s performance,  it is crucial to look up the best spark plugs for gas mileage and determine whether you need iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 


Now that you know spark plugs are vital to your engine’s ignition timing, how these parts control the firing of the spark plugs, the internal combustion timing, and the engine’s smooth running, you can see why spark plugs are such a key part of your car. Keeping an eye and ear out for your engine’s performance and the ignition’s timing can keep your spark plugs running healthily for a long time, regardless of whether you have iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 

The Differences Between Spark Plugs 


You need to keep in mind two main facts when analyzing the differences between spark plug options, including iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 


  1. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that the spark will move from the sharpest point on the center electrode to the sharpest point on the side electrode. This means that you want an iridium spark plug or platinum spark plug that keeps the sharp edge for the longest period of time. Metals like platinum and iridium have higher melting temperatures than you will find in copper spark plugs, making both of these options comparable when looking at iridium vs. platinum spark plugs.
  2. Additionally, the smaller diameter of the center electrode, the less voltage you will need to start the spark and ignite the ignition. Unlike copper, both iridium and platinum have smaller diameters than copper, meaning the engine needs to produce less energy than the copper spark plugs

Types of Spark plugs


When looking at which one is the best choice for your car in iridium vs. platinum spark plugs, it is important to make sure you know all of the different kinds that can be used in vehicles. Initially, you may think that most spark plugs are the same and work the same. However, each type of spark plug has various benefits and negatives that are associated with its construction and maintenance. 


The spark plug’s purpose is to generate the current necessary for igniting the air and fuel ratio housed within the engine and combustion chamber. Despite this similarity across the board, there are various differences when it comes to spark plugs. Specific spark plugs might be considered more efficient than others, but you still should go with the spark plug that your manufacturer or reference manual recommends.


The similarities between all spark plugs include all models having a central and side electrode, with these parts now composed of differing materials – like iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. These two kinds go along with the other two most popular options, double platinum, and copper spark plugs.


  • Copper Spark Plugs


This kind of spark plug is made from almost all copper – as you can tell by the name. This type of electrode’s central electrode is composed of nickel and has the biggest diameter compared to all other types. Although you may assume this is a good thing, this larger diameter means that the spark plugs will need a higher voltage to provide the necessary current to spark the ignition. In addition, another negative of this kind of spark plug is that it is not very durable, meaning that it loses to both iridium vs. platinum spark plugs when compared in performance aspects.


  • Iridium spark plugs


When looking at iridium vs. platinum spark plugs, the sure bet is that iridium is the most durable and will last the longest. Iridium is harder, more durable, and more costly since you will be paying for the longer lifespan, and you will not have to replace the spark plugs as much as other options, like copper. 


Iridium spark plugs have a small electrode, meaning that it does not require the same voltage as copper spark plugs to generate the required current to ignite the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber. Hence, most car manufacturers recommend iridium plugs when comparing iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 


Make sure that if you need to replace these iridium spark plugs that you do not downgrade the plugs, as this could harm your car since they are now used to high-performance and long-lasting options. When comparing iridium vs. platinum, the only con of iridium is that they are more expensive than any other option. 


  • Platinum spark plugs


A platinum spark plug is actually similar to our first option, the copper spark plug. The only difference between these two options is that the platinum spark plug has a platinum disco in the electrode, instead of a nickel alloy. This difference means that the platinum spark plug is much more durable and can last nearly as long as iridium plugs when comparing iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 


The con of using platinum spark plugs is that it is not the strongest option on the market, which can mean it lasts shorter and must be replaced more when looking at iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. In addition to the platinum spark plug, which is referenced as a single platinum plug, there is also a double platinum spark plug containing the platinum central disc on the center and side electrodes. 


  • Double Platinum Spark Plugs


If you are looking for a reliable spark plug for a waste spark system, this is the choice for you. A waste spark system is a specific type of distributor ignition system and works especially well by causing the spark plugs to fire twice in a row. The double-platinum spark plugs fire one time during the compression stroke and one time during the exhaust stroke, which can sometimes lead to a wasted spark and energy that is not used by the engine.


The double-platinum positive when looking at iridium vs. platinum spark plugs is that they are extremely reliable and consistent. However, the negative of the platinum spark plugs is that they are not recommended for electronic distributor ignition systems, making this a con in the iridium vs. platinum spark plug debate.

How To Choose Spark Plugs


When looking at which spark plug to choose and debating between iridium vs. platinum spark plugs, you need to figure out which one works best for your specific vehicle based on your manufacturer’s recommendations and your vehicle manual. However, the place that most car owners and those who like to do car work themselves get stuck on is knowing which one to choose for their car.


The short answer and the simplest answer is to stick with the spark plugs that are recommended to you in the service manual for your vehicle. By reading this information, you can ensure that you do not pick the wrong spark plug and harm the inside mechanical components of your vehicle.


If you do not know or have lost your service manual, you can directly ask your manufacturer or local mechanic to know about your specific type of car. Ensuring that you choose the right spark plug that meets the engine’s needs can also ensure your engine will last for a very long time!


Although this is true, some people still give some bad advice in the iridium vs. platinum spark plugs debate. Some people will say that going one step to either side will have a performance advantage, whether going one step hotter or one step cooler. If you decide to stray from your manual’s recommendation, this can harm the engine and reduce the performance.


Alt While going one step “hotter” or “cooler” can sometimes work in special and modified engines, you should usually stick with the one recommended in the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Symptoms of Faulty Spark Plugs

When figuring out the best spark plugs for your specific car, you need to know the symptoms of faulty spark plugs, whether they are iridium vs. platinum or something else, like copper. For optimum performance, you need to keep your spark plugs in good shape, preventing any build-up of debris or contamination.


If your spark plugs become dirty over time, it can affect your engine performance. You might notice a reduction in gas mileage fuel efficiency, leading you to look into the best spark plugs for gas mileage. 


  • Reduced gas mileage



If you are making more trips to the gas station to fill up your tank, you might have broken or damaged spark plugs harming fuel efficiency. A huge drop in fuel economy and miles per gallon from the same amount of fuel can result from dirty or contaminated spark plugs. If they are not functioning correctly, it can greatly impact your fuel efficiency and engine performance. When looking at reducing gas mileage, you need first to decide whether you need iridium vs. platinum spark plugs in your car. 


  • Reduced acceleration 


If you feel like your car can no longer power up steep hills or is having trouble passing other vehicles on the highway, then a drop in acceleration could cause damaged and faulty spark plugs. When the spark plugs become damaged or contaminated, it doesn’t spark correctly and causes poor performance. 


  • Hard starting 


If you are having trouble starting your car or it is taking longer to start than usual, you might not necessarily assume that spark plugs are the culprit. Most drivers would think that the battery should be the first place to look, but you might be surprised to know that bad spark plugs could be the cause. You will not be able to drive at all if your spark plugs are faulty, regardless of whether you have iridium vs. platinum spark plugs.


  • Misfiring engine


If your engine is consistently misfiring, then this could be due to damaged spark plugs. An engine that hesitates while running, jerking while accelerating, and running haphazardly could be due to an interruption in the combustion, leading to a lack of performance and reduced fuel efficiency. This reduction in fuel efficiency and miles per gallon can occur with both iridium vs. platinum spark plugs. 


  • Rough idling 


Your engine containing a rough idle could be due to damaged spark plugs, leading to a loud idle, vibrating steering wheel, and shaking while accelerating. If your spark plugs are performing as they should, your engine will be smooth. However, if the spark plugs are damaged, they will begin to cause a rough idle – if this is the case, you need to research the best spark plugs for gas mileage. 



When looking at the iridium vs. platinum spark plugs, there are various pros and cons to each type. Although there are four types of spark plugs, including copper, platinum, double platinum, and iridium, each one offers benefits that can work well for your specific car. In addition, each one has negatives that would make them not the best option for your vehicle.