To easily start your car, the spark plugs must be in good shape. It is for this reason that car owners change old faulty spark plugs. However, spark plugs come in different types, among which most used are platinum and iridium. These plug types are popular because of the performance they deliver. So technically, any of them you choose will work efficiently.
However, some people install simultaneously both types in their engines for reasons best known to them. For others, this invariably sounds weird and has prompted them to ask, can you mix platinum and iridium spark plugs? We will answer this question as we progress, but first, let’s see what a spark plug does.
Spark plugs are a component of your vehicle’s ignition system, providing the spark needed to start your engine. How does this happen? When you start the engine, the spark plugs produce sparks that help ignite the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber. This spark creates an explosion in the engine, invariably providing the power needed for your vehicle to start.
So if your spark plugs are not functioning well, you will have difficulty starting your car. In some cases, it may cause a car shaking, no-start situation or severe engine misfire if the vehicle eventually starts. As small as they are, they are an important component to keep in good shape.
While spark plugs are made from durable materials, they will surely wear out. This is true because the plugs endure millions of explosions when doing their job. The more the explosion, the weaker they become, invariably limiting their performance. Hence, it’s normal to change the plugs after a while.
Platinum and iridium spark plugs function almost the same way. So it’s naturally hard for the engine to detect their differences. So can you mix platinum and iridium spark plugs? Yes, you can mix platinum and iridium spark plugs to run your engine; just ensure both have the same heat range.
However, there’s a catch.
Iridium and platinum spark plugs have different life spans. Generally, iridium spark plugs last longer than platinum, meaning you will replace the platinum plugs sooner than iridium. Running new platinum and old iridium usually won’t give a balanced performance.
Plus, it’s best to replace spark plugs at a goal, except you have extra time to give. So to ensure a replacement is due at the same time, you may need to stick with just one plug type at a time.
The major difference between iridium and platinum spark plugs is their cost and durability. This is true because both plugs perform excellently. Generally, all spark plugs are built with copper. The major difference is the materials used on their tips. While Copper spark plugs are built with copper tips, platinum plugs are coated with platinum tips, while iridium plugs with iridium coated tips.
Of all these, iridium is the strongest. So, a major difference between both plugs is their durability, as iridium lasts longer. While some platinum-tipped spark plugs last about 100k miles, iridium can last over 120k miles.
Another notable difference is the cost. Since iridium materials are stronger, they cost more than platinum. Platinum spark plugs lurk around $10-$15 per plug, depending on the type. In contrast, Iridium spark plugs sell for around $100 per set of four.
If you are buying a new plug, there is always the urge to buy the best, as everyone wants to get value for their money, whether cheap or expensive. So which is better, iridium or platinum spark plugs? Iridium is more durable than platinum but is also more costly. However, choice is personal. So here is a rundown of both plugs to determine which is better for you.
- Iridium is one of the strongest materials on earth, so it is six times harder than platinum.
- Iridium spark plugs have a high melting point of about 700° and, therefore, can withstand many explosions before wearing out.
- Iridium spark plugs are built with small electrodes, requiring really low voltage to work. The result is a faster ignition time.
- Iridium spark plugs can last 120k miles or more, depending on usage and maintenance.
- A Platinum spark plug is also very durable, though not as strong as iridium. They can last 100k miles on average
- Platinum spark plugs get heated quickly, so will be a good fit for the cold months.
- Platinum spark plugs are also cheaper compared to iridium. Depending on the type of platinum, you could get a set of four between $10-$20, whereas iridium sells between $20-$100.
Can you use different types of spark plugs
Spark Plugs makers have built their plugs so they can complement each other. Plus, the engine finds it difficult to detect whether you use different plugs simultaneously. So yes, you can use different types of spark plugs. However, there are things to keep in mind.
Ensure the plugs have almost the same capability and same heat range. Secondly, all plug types have different life spans, which means some will wear out faster than others. If you don’t want to change some plugs regularly, at least mix those with almost the same durability. Imagine mixing copper plugs that last 20k miles or less with iridium spark plugs lasting over 120k miles.
Spark plug manufacturers also produce plugs to complement other brands so they can be used interchangeably. However, some vehicles are very selective, as they only allow you to use some brands interchangeably. If you do otherwise, you may have performance issues. So ensure the ones you are using complement each other.
Generally, you can change one spark plug if that’s the only faulty plug. However, using older and newer plugs gives them different working abilities. As such, performance cannot be as smooth as when all sparks deliver the same power.
So, to ensure all plugs have the same electrical resistance, you should change all spark plugs simultaneously. This is another important reason to replace faulty plugs with spark plugs having the same life span and ability.
Suppose you are ready to replace your spark plugs; you may wonder, can you mix platinum and iridium spark plugs? Yes, you can run your engine on platinum-iridium spark plugs so long they have the same heat range. However, because iridium lasts longer than platinum, you will have to replace the platinum sooner.
This means you will eventually be running old and new plugs at a certain time, all of which won’t have the same electrical resistance—invariably affecting performance. If you want all plugs to be replaced simultaneously, stick to a particular type. For example, if you chose iridium spark plugs, use Iridium all round.