A Intro to SPARK PLUGS Part 1
September 25, 2017
While relatively small in size, spark plugs play an important role for the engine’s performance. Spark plugs conduct the electrical energy from the ignition source which is required to complete the process of combustion and ignite the fuel in the cylinder. There are different types of spark plugs currently available and they are as follows:
- Copper Spark Plugs
Also known as “standard” or “normal”. They are much cheaper and generally have the shortest lifespan due to the nature of the copper which quickly erodes over time. However, they remain a popular choice because copper has the ability to conduct electricity better than other types of spark plug tips materials. Copper spark plugs run cooler and deliver more powerful performance for ignition with less vulnerability to over heating.
Natural gas engines tend to perform best on copper spark plugs.Furthermore, coppers produce the best sparks under unfavorable conditions generated by turbocharged engine or higher engine compression ratios, hence, manufacturers of these types of engines usually use copper plugs.Under normal circumstances, copper spark plugs last 20,000 to 40,000 miles.
- Platinum Spark Plugs
Given that platinum is a rare element as compared to copper, platinum spark plugs are in general more expensive than the copper ones. Unlike copper though, platinum is less conductive and are prone to overheating under adverse engine and driving conditions. The primary edge of platinum tipped spark plugs compared to copper is its remarkably longer life span and resistance to wear and tear under normal driving conditions. This is because as opposed to coppers, platinum materials do not easily get eroded.
The lifespan of platinum spark plugs is usually double to that of the copper-tipped spark plugs. And, under favorable conditions, platinum-tipped spark plugs may last up to 100,000 miles.