Maybe some of your best spark plugs are not functioning properly, and you want to change them. In this case, you might be thinking that do you have to get identical spark plugs or can you mix platinum and iridium spark plugs.
Well, you may or may not. Read till the end to get a clear understanding. First, let’s look at spark plugs, their form, and their function.
What does a Spark Plug do?
The spark plug is considered the heart of a petrol engine. Those are responsible for making your engine run. If they don’t work properly, you’ll have trouble starting your car, and it won’t run as smoothly as it used to.
Spark plugs were invented more than 160 years ago to effectively use the power of gasoline. They are commonly used in gasoline engines.
A spark plug or a sparking plug is a device made to deliver electric current from the ignition system to the combustion chamber of a petrol engine to ignite a compressed air/fuel mixture inside the engine.
This electrical current/spark created by a spark plug creates a small explosion (combustion) inside the combustion chamber.
This small explosion generates enough power to push the pistons down and up. The pistons’ down and up motion generated by the spark plugs keep the wheels rolling.
They run the car. You’ll see a ‘terminal connection’ on top of a spark plug. It connects the spark plug to the ignition system.
At the core of the spark plug, a copper rod called the ‘central electrode.’ It’s connected to the ‘terminal connection.
The ignition system supplies 20 to 40 thousand volts to the ‘terminal connection. And the current travels from the ‘terminal connection’ to the ‘central electrode’ and down to the tip of the central electrode.
There’s a gap there. A gap of about 0.020 – 0.080 inches. That’s the gap between the central electrode and the ground electrode.
Every time the ignition system supplies the spark plug with power, the electricity runs through the central electrode and makes a big jump like Olympic athletes.
It jumps the gap by ionizing all the gas around the gap. This jump is the spark we need to get our engines moving. If the gap between the ground and central electrode is big, then the spark plugs need more energy to jump the gap.
So, you should always check the distance between the central electrode and the ground electrode before buying spark plugs.
You’re in trouble if the gaps are too long. The pistons might even hit your spark plugs if they are too long.
Platinum and Iridium
It’s not that the whole spark plug is made of platinum or iridium. Those won’t even cover 1 % of the spark plug. Every spark plug has a copper core. The differences are in the tip of the spark plug.
Why isn’t the tip of the spark plug made of copper? Copper might be a good conductor of electricity, but they are very soft.
They wear out faster than most metals. That’s why the tip of the spark plugs is made from stronger metals.
The tip of the spark plugs was made from copper in the old days, and likewise, they didn’t last long. They used to last up to 20,000 miles.
But now, mostly iridium and platinum spark plugs are being used because of their durability.
Can You Mix Platinum and Iridium Spark Plugs?
Most modern engines have 1 spark plug for each Cylinder. Though some even have two per Cylinder. Most car engines have 4 to 6 cylinders, and most trucks have 6-8 cylinders. And they won’t know if you’re using platinum or iridium spark plugs.
Since every spark plug has functions the same way, you can mix and match anyone you want.
There are hundreds of types of spark plugs available on the market. You can choose any spark plug you fancy.
But if your engine manual instructs a specific type of spark plug, you should only get that specific type of spark plug. Otherwise, bother getting good-quality spark plugs that perfectly fit your engine.
The two best spark plug options are iridium and platinum spark plugs. This spark often plugs last as long as your engine does.
Which one is better?
It’s hard to tell since they both have their benefits. Let’s look at some of their features and decide for yourself.
Iridium Spark Plugs
- Iridium is one of the strongest metals on earth. Six times harder than platinum.
- It has a melting point of 700 degrees.
- Iridium spark plugs can take millions of explosions before they wear out. An iridium spark plug will stay with your car for a long time.
- It’ll be up to 120,000 miles of road. Iridium spark plugs also need less electricity to spark.
Platinum Spark Plugs
- Platinum is almost as durable as iridium. A platinum spark plug will last you 100,000 miles.
- Platinum heats up quickly, so it doesn’t have problems sparking on cold, winter days.
- Despite platinum costing twice as much as iridium, they are fairly cheaper than iridium spark plugs.
You can get each (platinum or iridium) spark plug for 10-30$, depending on the quality and the brand.
So, as you have come this far, hopefully now you understand if you can mix platinum and iridium spark plugs.
But, still, try to decide on it based on your preferences. If you want a direct answer from us, we would say, yes, you can mix platinum and iridium spark plugs.