Iridium Vs. Platinum Spark Plug: What are The Difference?

Spark plugs are essential components of every vehicle that plays a vital role in the combustion process, enabling the vehicle’s engine to start and run properly. Your car’s engine performance and efficiency are partly dependent on the kind of spark plug you use.

Most spark plugs are fitted with a copper-core center electrode, which is an incredible conductor of electricity. It is better than other kinds of materials used in making plugs, and it also offers good heat transferability.

The copper area of a spark plug is usually protected with a nickel alloy because of its softness and low melting point. In order to optimize performance, the electrode may have a platinum or iridium tip, depending on the kind of plug. Let’s take a look at iridium vs. platinum Spark Plug to be able to ascertain the differences and the most suitable for spark plugs.

What is Iridium Spark Plug?

iridium vs platinum vs copper

Iridium spark plug is an excellently durable spark plug made with a metallic element that provides great performance and efficiency and possesses a high melting point. Iridium is an incredible metal that comes with lots of great features.

Iridium has the potential of lasting for a long time, which helps to maintain the longevity of the spark plug so that you don’t always have to replace your car’s spark plugs. Iridium spark plugs are wear-resistant, with an amazing consistency by natural orchestration. They are some of the few best spark plugs you will ever find.

Other conventional spark plugs cannot be compared to iridium because of their extended lifespan, durability, and concentrated spark. The plugs power vehicle engines faster than many other plugs because of the concentrated spark projected by the small electrode at the center.

What is Platinum Spark Plug?

iridium vs platinum price

A platinum spark plug is synonymous with copper spark plugs, with a slight difference in the center electrode, which is made of platinum, welded to the tip of the electrode. The platinum enhances the durability of the plug, enabling it to last for as long as 100,000 miles.

Platinum spark plugs generate more heat than their counterparts, and as a result, they ensure the reduction of building-up debris. This kind of spark plug is recommended for you if you own a new car with a system of electronic distributor ignition.

Iridium Vs. Platinum Spark Plug Differences

Iridium is quite different from platinum in strength, performance, durability, and the degree of melting point. Iridium is arguably eight times stronger and six times harder than platinum. It has a higher melting point of about 700 degrees compared to platinum.

Platinum spark plugs wear out faster than iridium spark plugs. Iridium plugs are said to be more durable compared to platinum plugs up to 25% more.

Iridium Vs. Platinum Spark Plug Materials

Iridium and platinum materials are both excellent materials used in the advanced types of spark plugs, making them better than regular spark plugs. However, iridium is more expensive, stronger, and harder than platinum.

The strength displayed by iridium is incredibly greater than that of platinum; hence, iridium has the capacity of lasting longer than platinum up to 25% extra longevity gap.

If you are looking out for a very solid spark plug that offers great strength, higher melting point, excellent performance, as well as top-notch efficiency, consider iridium spark plugs. However, they are more expensive than platinum and other normal spark plugs.

Iridium Vs. Platinum Spark Plug Price

If you are contemplating iridium vs. platinum price, the price of iridium varies from that of platinum because one is a more valuable metal with higher quality than the other. The average price of iridium as of 2020 was around $2,550 per troy ounce. As of March 2021, the cost of iridium took a surge to $6,000 per troy ounce.

Meanwhile, platinum currently costs around $1,015 per ounce, making iridium almost six times the price of platinum. Hence, iridium possesses more capacity in every area than platinum.

Iridium Spark Plugs Vs. Normal

Iridium spark plugs differ from normal spark plugs in every way. The electrode material of iridium spark plugs has a higher melting point, and the plugs are more durable, with greater performance and efficiency than the regular plugs.

In comparing iridium spark plugs vs. normal, a normal spark plug could last as much as 20,000 to 30,000 miles as the case may be; and the average annual mileage of car owners in America is said to be around 13,476 miles. Therefore, a regular plug is likely to last between 1.5 years and 2.25 years, respectively.

Platinum Vs. Iridium Spark Plug Performance

Platinum has a great performance level compared to other regular spark plugs, but compared to iridium, the difference is clear. Iridium has a more excellent performance in igniting the air and fuel compression within the combustion chamber. This is one main reason why platinum vs. iridium performance differs.

Iridium is more efficient than platinum, with many advantages to prove that it is better than platinum. If you are asking how long do platinum spark plugs last, they can last up to 100,000 miles; iridium lasts beyond 100,000 to 120,000 miles. You may not necessarily have to change your spark plug if you use iridium.

Iridium Vs. Platinum Pros And Cons

Iridium and platinum spark plugs vary in their features, performance, and efficiency. While iridium seems to be stronger than platinum, it still has its cons. You must ensure to find out the pros and cons of both iridium and platinum before making a final decision on which of the plugs to buy for your vehicle.

Pros Of Iridium Spark Plug

  • It is harder compared to platinum.
  • It uses less voltage in operation.
  • It lasts longer than most spark plugs, including platinum.

Cons

  • It is relatively expensive compared to platinum and many other spark plugs.

Pros of Platinum Spark Plug

  • It lasts longer than the regular copper plug.
  • It prevents and reduces the build-up of debris, especially in the spark plug hole.
  • Platinum spark plugs cost is relatively cheaper than iridium.

Cons

  • Compared to other spark plugs, like iridium, platinum is not the strongest spark plug.

FAQs

Q: Can I use platinum instead of Iridium?

Platinum spark plugs are among the nicest plugs you can get around; compared with copper, platinum spark plugs are harder. However, iridium is harder than platinum; as a matter of fact, iridium is the hardest among the three plugs. It also lasts longer than platinum spark plugs, with better gas mileage as much as twice that of platinum.

Iridium spark plugs offer better performance compared to platinum, but they are usually costlier than platinum. However, you can use platinum if it happens to be the spark plug your budget can afford. But iridium is a better option, apart from the high cost.

Q: Do iridium plugs make more power?

Iridium spark plugs are incredibly made with more power compared to their counterparts. They have the capacity to improve your car’s engine power. Suppose you need to drive under difficult conditions like climbing a steep slope; iridium spark plugs enhance your car’s engine with extra engine power to scale through the obstacle.

If you are looking for the kind of spark plugs that promises tough engine power; then, you can’t be wrong with choosing an iridium spark plug. They are specially made with this unique advantage so that you can enjoy a smooth driving experience.

Q: Are iridium plugs worth it?

Yes, they are worth it. Iridium plugs are very durable, lasting between 60,000 to 120,000 miles. This means that your vehicle’s plugs may never go bad if you decide to use iridium plugs.

Iridium spark plugs are certainly worth invested price because the value you will get for paying such an amount in getting the spark plugs will necessarily be commensurate with the price tag.

Q: Which spark plugs are best for performance?

It is essential to consider performance capacity when buying a spark plug because it tells a lot about what to expect from your vehicle’s engine whenever you have to drive under tough conditions like climbing steep slopes.

Some of the spark plugs that have been tested and trusted to have the capacity to deliver with a great performance capacity are; NGK iridium IX, Denso (4504) PK20TT, ACDelco 9748RR Wires, ACDelco 41-962, and NGK 3403 G-Power. These spark plugs are incredibly powerful, providing excellent performance for great satisfaction.

Q: What’s better, iridium or double platinum?

Iridium is uniquely made with great strength and capacity that most of its counterparts cannot boast of. It is said that iridium is six times harder than platinum, and eight times stronger, with a 700-degree melting point which is higher than that of platinum spark plugs.

In comparing iridium with platinum, iridium has proven to have more advantages than platinum. The strength of iridium spark plugs is capable of lasting up to 25% longer than that of platinum spark plugs. Therefore, iridium is completely better than double platinum.

Q: Is iridium costly than gold?

When comparing the cost of gold to iridium, the difference in their prices is very significant. Gold currently costs $1,812 an ounce. Meanwhile, according to Johnson Matthey Plc data, the cost of the iridium material used in the production of iridium spark plugs has increased to $6,000 an ounce.

The figure is over three times more expensive compared to the cost of gold. This current price of iridium automatically makes iridium costly than gold. Iridium vs. platinum prices also differs, with iridium costlier than platinum. No wonder iridium power plugs are relatively expensive because of the kind of materials used in manufacturing them.

Q: Can you gap iridium plugs?

It is not ideal for you to gap your iridium spark plugs, as they are made without requiring any gapping under an ideal circumstance. However, if you ever need to gap your iridium plug, ensure to observe extreme caution because when you gap the spark plugs wrongly, it can damage the iridium center electrode or the porcelain center.

Therefore, to avoid any damages to your expensive iridium power plugs, do not gap them. If it becomes pertinent to gap them, ensure that you consult a professional auto mechanic to carry out the operation. Iridium power plugs can be quite expensive; hence, you must avoid any damages to the plug and ultimately avoid any damages that may occur in your vehicle’s engine.

Q: Can you clean and reuse iridium spark plugs?

Iridium plugs offer prolonged durability, such that you may never have to change them until you decide to sell off your car or quit using it. However, if you suddenly find out that they carbon up and require you to clean them up for reuse, you can do so.

If you ever need to clean your iridium plug for reuse, you could put them in a small container or jar and pour some seafoam into the jar, sufficient to cover the area with carbon. Then, leave them overnight so that they can soak. 

After that, brush them with a bristle cleaner brush, and blow the carbon out using an air compressor. This and other few methods can help you clean and reuse iridium spark plugs.

Q: How often should NGK iridium spark plugs be changed?

It is ideally recommended to replace a regular spark plug after every 20,000 to 50,000 miles. But iridium plugs are called “life-long spark plugs” for a reason. Do you know why? They can last as much as 60,000 to 120,000 miles without any need to change them. That’s a long time frame to have a set of spark plugs in use.

However, the time frame for replacing iridium power plugs also depends on the type of vehicle, the make or model, and the owner’s driving and maintenance lifestyle.

Proper maintenance will make you enjoy the spark plugs better than a car owner who uses the same spark plugs but with a very poor maintenance culture. Therefore, you must ensure to keep your vehicle’s spark plugs clean, the holes free from debris, and the spark plug wire in good condition.

Final Words

Understanding the nitty-gritty when comparing iridium vs. platinum spark plugs is very vital so that you can know which plug to choose after considering their benefits, limitations, as well as their cost of replacement.

Iridium or platinum spark plugs are nice for most vehicles, but they do not provide the same advantages. Iridium spark plugs offer more efficiency and a great performance. However, you need to also consider your budget when opting for a unique kind of plug to use for your vehicle’s engine.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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