Are High Performance Spark Plugs Worth It?

by Chris Lewis.

If you are looking for a high-performance vehicle, then you will need parts and tools that will complement it well. And spark plugs are one of those elements that you shouldn’t treat with any less importance.

But for such a vehicle, you will need equally premium spark plugs, which brings us to the question— are high-performance spark plugs worth it?

The answer to this question is more complicated than a straight-up yes or no, which is why we will be elaborately discussing this topic in our comprehensive article.

Here, you will know the details of spark plugs and their purpose, along with the answer to whether or not you should get a high-performance spark plug.

So, stay with us and find out whether or not you need to shop for premium spark plugs soon!

What Are Spark Plugs and What Do They Do? 

What Are Spark Plugs and What Do They Do? 
What Are Spark Plugs and What Do They Do? 

Before you get into whether or not high-performance spark plugs are worth it, you need to be aware of what spark plugs are and what their purpose is exactly.

Surely, you have a general idea of these devices, but we will be talking in detail in this section of the article, so you won’t bear any confusion at all.

What Are Spark Plugs?

Spark plugs are one of the fundamental devices in vehicles that sit atop the cylinder heads. They create a spark to ignite the fuel, and they work as a heat dissipator as well.

In modern engines, you will usually find spark plugs made of a copper center electrode core, which is surrounded by nickel alloy and can be seen at the tip of the plug.

The internal of the plug is made of porcelain, within which the center electrode is usually enclosed. And the purpose of this is to transfer heat from the engine to the cooling system without any trouble.

However, high-performance spark plugs are usually constructed with different, more expensive materials, such as platinum or iridium. These ones usually have higher melting points, which makes them last longer.

Types of Spark Plugs

High-performance-spark-plugs
High-performance-spark-plugs

The types of spark plugs are usually based on temperatures, which is pretty obvious by their names — hot and cold plugs.

If you have an engine with high horsepower as well as high compression, then you are surely recommended to go for cold plugs. Since these ones have less insulation, more heat will be transferred outside the engine, away from the combustion chamber.

However, if you have a standard engine, then there’s no point in getting a cold plug; a hot plug would be more than good enough.

These are more insulated, and this aspect keeps the device’s temperature high enough in order to remove all the carbon deposits, which makes the spark plugs go a long way.

What Do Spark Plugs Do?

The name of this device goes well with its function — it’s an insulated plug that delivers a spark required for ignition. These are screwed into the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine, so they basically sit at the top of the head.

Throughout the process, the piston travels down the cylinder at first to draw in the mixture of air and fuel, and it then goes to the spark plug to compress the mixture.

When the piston is at its fullest reach, the spark plug creates a spark and ignites the fuel/air mixture.

Typically, a four-cylinder vehicle will have four spark plugs, a six-cylinder vehicle will have six spark plugs, and so on.

Not to mention, spark plugs have another important role: a heat dissipator. It transfers heat to the cooling system of the vehicle, and this ability is mostly based on the length of the insulator nose and the materials used to construct it.

Is a High-Performance Spark Plug Worth It?

Is a High-Performance Spark Plug Worth It?
Is a High-Performance Spark Plug Worth It?

If you are going to get a high-performance spark plug, then you will surely need to pay a price that goes much higher than that of a standard spark plug. And it’s pretty normal to wonder if that would be worth it.

After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on something that wouldn’t serve a greater or a satisfactory purpose.

Hence, in this section of the article, we will be discussing whether or not they will be worth it.

We will be talking about the benefits that they provide, along with whether you need them or not. Go through this to clear your confusion.

A Longer Life Span

As mentioned earlier, premium spark plugs are usually made of highly expensive metals, often known as noble metals. The two materials used usually are platinum and iridium.

One major advantage of these noble metals is that they are very non-reactive and as a result, they are less likely to get oxidized over a certain period.

Now, as we know, oxidation can often cause such devices to create resistance; and so without it, there’s little to no resistance. Hence the plugs will be effective for longer and will have a longer life span.

A Higher Melting Point

Platinum and iridium are known as noble metals, and one of their striking characteristics is that they have a very high melting point, with platinum at 3220°F and iridium at 4440°F.

With the high melting point, the spark plugs will not deteriorate even when used in high-temperature environments. This aspect extends its lifespan even further, which means you won’t need to replace them anytime soon.

The saving of replacement costs and energy does make them worth it to a lot of consumers.

The Performance Will Remain Constant

Now that we know these spark plugs will not deteriorate anytime soon, we can expect them to provide a rather consistent performance than their standard counterparts.

A standard spark plug would have to be replaced after going 20,000-30,000 miles, which means their performance will fall pretty soon.

However, high-performance ones don’t have to be replaced anytime soon before going at least 90,000 miles. So you can expect your engine to perform well constantly.

Will the Engine Really Give a High Performance?

If you are hoping that premium or ‘high performance’ spark plugs will enhance the performance of your vehicle, then you are sadly mistaken.

These spark plugs are designed to perform well themselves and prevent performance loss of the engine in the vehicle — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the car will have a boost in performance.

If your vehicle is already high performance and runs in extreme conditions, then you can expect these noble metal plugs to keep it consistent, which may not be provided by their standard counterparts.

What Kind of Engine Do You Have?

As mentioned earlier, with a high-performance car, premium spark plugs are rather complementary. And this obviously means that the engine will need to have high horsepower and compression as well.

If you have a standard engine, then getting these spark plugs wouldn’t be as strongly recommended. Don’t get us wrong — premium spark plugs work well with all types of engines, but a normal one can do good with a standard plug as well.

Hence, you should also make sure whether or not the premium ones will be suitable for your vehicle’s parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How much do premium spark plugs cost?

Standard spark plugs are generally reasonable, which makes them available for around 20-50 dollars.

However, when it comes to their high-performance counterparts, you will have to pay a little more because the metals that they are made of are expensive themselves. For instance, you can find one within 80-110 dollars.

  1. Why are spark plugs important?

Spark plugs are small devices that don’t often get the significance that they deserve. They create the engine’s spark, which causes the air/fuel mixture to ignite for complete combustion.

This process, in turn, produces power in the engine, which is what determines its performance.  

  1. How often should I replace spark plugs?

This factor depends a lot on the spark plugs that you have. In case of high performance or premium spark plugs, you should be replacing them every 80,000-100,000 miles.

However, for standard spark plugs, replacing them 20,000-30,000 miles is recommended. Always look for the symptoms with more caution.

  1. Is changing spark plugs expensive?

Replacing spark plugs does require some experience, which is why people often choose to get it done by professionals.

While the device itself is quite inexpensive, hiring someone for the task can add to the cost, making the whole replacement process expensive, costing from 60 dollars to 250 dollars.

  1. What happens if I don’t change the spark plugs?

When the spark plugs go bad or deteriorate, they fail to ignite the air/fuel mixture properly, which results in incomplete combustion.

As a result, the engine faces a loss in power, and many other issues related to the engine and other vehicle parts may arise as well.

  1. How long can I go with bad spark plugs?

You can drive with malfunctioning spark plugs, but we would highly advise against it. That is because you can go a few more miles, such as 5000-6000, with them, but they can cause severe damage to the engine.

  1. Should I replace all the spark plugs at once?

Spark plugs usually have a reputation of wearing out evenly. Hence, when you replace one, you need to replace all of the others as well.

However, if one of them seems to have a specific issue that the others don’t seem to have, then you should look into that certain plug.


Final Words

Even if you have no qualms about spending on a premium spark plug before you do so, you should always ask yourself this question — are high-performance spark plugs worth it?

They sure do come with their set of benefits, but with a standard vehicle and a regular engine, spending too much on such a tool wouldn’t be wise. Hence, think about the specifications of your engine first and then make a decision.

About Chris Lewis.

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