People who buy used cars or even new cars and are car lovers tend to do some basic modifications to their car. Even if you are not a car lover, you care for mileage and there is a high chance that you considered installing those expensive after market spark plugs in your car. Here comes the great debate of spark plugs. Do they really work? The expensive ones? Or is it just another marketing strategy by the companies?
Well, there are mixed opinions about it on the internet. Some people have experienced absolutely no power and mileage gains so they reverted back to their original spark plugs. However, some people praised their new expensive plugs supporting their points with better acceleration and mileage. However, a majority didn’t feel any change in their car whatsoever.
The properties that define the quality of a spark plug include, electrical conductivity, heat resistance, the gap between their electrodes and the material of the electrodes.
The longer the gap between electrodes, bigger the spark. So a long gap is good as it burns, let’s say, all the fuel in the chamber and you get better acceleration and better mileage. But cars with high boost usually forced induction and cars with weaker ignition system are advised to use smaller gap spark plugs to avoid misfire.
Heat range is the operating range of a spark plug. A “hot” spark plug keeps more heat in the tip of the plug inside the cylinder while a “cold” spark plug keeps more heat out of the tip of the plug. If the operating temperature of your car is high and you fit it with a wrong spark plug, the hot spark plug will cause it to auto-ignite which will cause a knock. On the other hand, a colder spark plug tip will cause electrically conductive deposits to form on the tip making it less efficient. This is exactly why professionals advise you to use the spark plugs mentioned in your car’s manual only.
Ghanaian car owners don’t usually have their car’s manual so they just risk everything by reading reviews on forums. To some of them, their car’s performance and mileage increased noticeably. While others think expensive plugs do not affect performance, they are just long-lasting. For example, you need to change normal copper spark plugs at 25,000 to 30,000 km. The expensive ones, like iridium might last your 70,000+ km or so. Plug’s life depend a lot on fuel quality as well.