Platinum Vs. Iridium Spark Plugs – What’s the Different?

Car enthusiasts often replace their inbuilt spark plugs in their engine with the best on the market. They typically narrow the options down to two, and now the debate is between platinum and iridium spark plugs. To help you choose the best out of them, we gathered all the information below.

Our Pick

If you want a smooth-running ignition system, you will often face the dilemma of platinum vs. iridium spark plugs. The choice of your plug can depend upon your engine.

Platinum spark plug becomes more prominent when considering its strength to function over large miles actively. Furthermore, the ability of a platinum spark plug to diminish all kinds of waste particles is an impeccable feature. However, you cannot rely on a platinum spark plug for a long time.

You will opt for iridium spark plugs if you have a tough racing engine. However, you can select either platinum or iridium for a normal one. Nevertheless, the iridium spark plugs are more viable and appropriate than the platinum ones. It is long-lasting and instantly fires up the engine.

Platinum spark plugs require replacement continuously. However, once you purchase the iridium spark plugs, you will not have to bear the pressure of changing them. On the scale of monetary investment, Iridium spark plugs occupy the top position, but they are worth your investment.

All About the Platinum Spark Plug

Ngk 7090 G-Power Platinum Spark Plugs

Platinum Metal

It is a malleable, non-reactive metal with a silver-like appearance. It is an appropriate option for laying the foundation of a sparks plug. These characteristics enable platinum spark plugs to remain active till 100,000 miles or more.

Spark Plugs

The platinum spark plugs consist of a nickel alloy. The primary purpose of this alloy is to protect the spark region. The platinum disc welded onto the rest of the plug channels its properties to help the engine gain power. Platinum is a complex substance; therefore, it can effectively channel electricity over long distances.

Welding is the standard method for attaching the platinum to the central or lateral electrode tip. The spark transfer from the central electrode to the side electrodes in the plug generates heat, and platinum has a high heat tolerance if the central electrode has platinum. Platinum can bear the excessive heat that piles up on a spark plug does not significantly impact platinum.

The platinum disc can produce excessive heat, channeling the property into platinum spark plugs. As a result, it clears off the debris or deposits that accumulate on top of the plug by burning them. Therefore, platinum spark plugs are appropriate for new cars.

There are two types of platinum spark plugs, single and double platinum plugs. The single platinum spark plugs are the ones commonly found in engines. These contain a central platinum electrode. Single platinum spark plugs electrodes are helpful for electronic distributor engines.

The double-platinum spark plug contains platinum and is incorporated on central and lateral electrodes. In the case of the wasted spark system of ignition, double platinum spark plugs produce efficient results. Double platinum spark plugs are more suitable for these engines as their performance does not depend upon the changes in the environment.

The type of platinum spark plugs you use depends upon your engine. You cannot replace these plugs with each other in different engines. The performance depends upon the engine. Nevertheless, each is durable and provides the engine with high critical performance.

Pros
  • Plugs conduct the spark up to 100,000 miles
  • Two options for the plus
  • Double platinum spark plugs for turbo engines
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Requires replacement after 6-8 months

All About the Iridium Spark Plug

Ngk # 6418 Iridium Spark Plugs Bkr6Eix

Iridium Metal

It is one of the metals that belong to the earth’s crust. It has a high density that helps it to resist corrosive damage. As a result, it does not lose its weight, and the measurements remain as such. Hence it is helpful as a standard for measurements.

Spark Plug

The remarkable properties of iridium assist in tolerating environmental changes. The resistance to damage grants it longevity. Therefore, one does not have to replace the iridium spark plugs frequently.

The durability and hardness of iridium metal are significantly more excellent than platinum. Hence the resulting electrodes have a smooth furnish with incredible strength. The iridium electrode occupies the central position. From here, it can effectively conduct the sparks over the entire plug.

Iridium spark plugs are in the form of a narrow piece that occupies the electrode tip. The smaller size and properties are responsible because iridium uses less voltage. Iridium creates a highly intense flame. As a result, the cylinder strokes receive a concentrated and significant amount of spark to kick start the engine.

Replacing the iridium spark plugs with copper or platinum can downgrade the engine performance. Both platinum and copper spark plugs cannot replicate the capacity of the iridium spark plugs. You can also reuse iridium spark plugs; however, it might adversely impact your automobile.

The iridium spark plugs come in handy in such conditions. The high-temperature tolerance enables it to withstand the rise in the heat without damaging the engine and its function.

These plugs are more appropriate for sports bikes and cars. They are capable of providing high acceleration and mileage. Tolerance of high heat eliminates carbon fouling, impacting the plug performance. Furthermore, the tempo edge design of the electrode also helps in combating fouling.

Pros
  • High heat tolerance
  • Offers instant ignition
  • Suitable for racing and turbo engines
  • Requires low voltage
  • Resistant to tear and corrosion
Cons
  • About twice as expensive as platinum spark plugs

Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs

Following are some of the differences between iridium and platinum.

Platinum Vs Iridium Spark Plugs

1. The Metal

Both iridium and platinum differ significantly in their properties. The iridium metal, the rarest substance on the earth, is highly unique and precious. Iridium has a higher density than platinum. It retains the size and the positions of the components at the atomic level. However, platinum can change more instantly than iridium.

Therefore, using it in various industries such as automobile and aerospace may require the manufacturers to change the parts consistently. Therefore, these continuous changes tend to exceed the budget and cause inconvenience.

2. Melting Point

Platinum has a lower melting point, while iridium has a higher one. The higher melting point of the iridium also indicates that the cap will dissipate more heat. However, in the case of platinum, that cap has a lower temperature than iridium.

3. Heat Tolerance

The melting point property ultimately affects their ability to withstand the excessive heat that the engine generates. Iridium has a higher heat tolerance than platinum. Despite the amount of heat generated in the engine, the function of the iridium spark plug remains optimum. As long as the heat remains below the melting point of platinum, it helps develop the that clears the waste deposits.

4. Type of Engine

There is no significant difference between the gas mileage and performance while using iridium or platinum spark plugs. However, both of these plugs are suitable for different types of engines. The platinum spark plugs are appropriate for regular engines of both cars and motorbikes. In the case of sports vehicles and high-powered engines, you cannot use platinum spark plugs.

The iridium spark plug favors the high compression engine. These also include turbo and supercharged engines. If you do not engage your vehicle in extreme racing situations, you can efficiently employ the platinum spark plugs.

5. Longevity

The iridium spark plugs tend to last longer than platinum. The compound can retain its properties and dispute the constant changes in the environment. It combats the wear and tears effectively. Moreover, it has impeccable heat tolerance. Unlike most metals, the substance is resistant to corrosion.

The high density imparts endurance and durability to the metal. With an iridium spark plug, you will not have to replace the plugs consistently with the newer ones. However, in the case of platinum, you will have to change it after a specific interval. The longevity of the iridium plugs is 25% more than the platinum spark plug.

6. Price

There is a noteworthy value difference between the two spark plugs. Iridium spark plug requires low voltage and maintenance. The high range of the spark enables the plug to function on a single electrode.

The manufacturers do not have to attach additional electrodes to adapt to the power consumption in turbo engines or racing vehicles. The strength of the flame is sufficient to reach all the cylinders. Therefore, iridium is six times more expensive than platinum plugs.

Other Resource: How long does it take to change spark plugs

Similarities

Following are some of the similarities between the two spark plugs

Structure

Both spark plugs have a similar structure. Except for the central electrode, there is no significant difference in the manufacturing of the plugs. The design follows a central metal rod typically longer and ranges around 3 inches. The rod goes directly into the ignition coil. To further strengthen the grip, a plug wire is installed. Furthermore, the spark plugs also have a nickel alloy that protects the plug from overheating.

The Equally Covered and Exposed Design

The other ends of the rod do not have any covering and remain exposed in the engine. A ceramic insulator covers the metallic rod to protect the design further. Furthermore, the insulator also has an additional body of a metal case.

The spark plug functions to generate positive energy. The spark or energy runs through the wire and reaches the coil. The target is to bridge the gap between the case and the wire directly to the engine. At this point, an electrode, either platinum or iridium, is found on the metal case near the wire tip.

Conclusion

Most Spark plugs usually consist of copper as the foundation. A nickel alloy protects the copper spark plugs underneath and prevents any damage. The central electrode can be copper, platinum, or iridium.

A copper spark plug is the most inexpensive plug available on the market. Cheaper copper spark plugs are more readily available, and usually, manufacturers opt for them. It exhibits efficient performance in regular engines.

However, the copper spark plug has a very low melting point, and therefore the heat in the engine can damage the spark plug. Furthermore, copper spark plug was more prominent in the early engines. However, these days the copper spark plug is standard in distributor engines.

A Platinum spark plug does not function well if you have racing engines. These engines require an instant spark, and a platinum spark plug might not suit it. You can replace your copper plug with a platinum spark plug.

Considering the classic contest of platinum vs. iridium spark plugs, we understand that both are the best spark plugs because each has its features and a customer base. Therefore, it depends upon your preferences whether you select iridium or a platinum spark plug.

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