MA Auto Repair: A Closer Look at Spark Plugs and Their Function

MA Auto Repair: A Closer Look at Spark Plugs and Their Function

How do you know if it’s time to replace your spark plugs? Whether you’re a business owner with a fleet of commercial vehicles or an individual trying to keep your personal car on the road for as long as possible, you need spark plugs to keep your engine running. Our expert mechanics at Framingham Tire can help you with all your auto repair needs in MA, whatever you use your vehicle for. Here’s what you need to know about spark plugs and when to replace them.

What do spark plugs do?

Put simply, spark plugs make your engine start. They create an electrical charge that provides the spark to light the air/fuel mixture that causes an internal combustion engine to combust. The two spark plugs are positioned so that they are not touching but close enough for an arc of electricity to jump between them and ignite the air and fuel.


4 Common types of spark plugs

In general, there are four metals that spark plugs can be made of:

  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Iridium

Let’s take a closer look at each type of spark plugs.



Copper is the most common type of spark plug; it has a copper core surrounded by nickel alloy. Copper spark plugs are cheaper than other types and can be used in older cars. However, copper is a relatively soft metal and does not last as long as spark plugs made of other metals.



Silver is a high conductivity metal and silver spark plugs are most often used in older performance vehicles. Despite their excellent thermal conductivity, silver spark plugs are not the best choice for everyday vehicles. Silver is not a very durable metal and silver spark plugs do not last as long as platinum, iridium, or even copper spark plugs.



Platinum spark plugs are also very common, especially in newer cars with electronic distributor ignition systems. They are similar to copper spark plugs, except they have a platinum disc welded to the tip rather than nickel alloy. Platinum is a harder metal than nickel and lasts longer.



Iridium spark plugs will last the longest because iridium is a harder and more durable metal than copper or platinum. Iridium spark plugs have a smaller electrode that requires a lower voltage to produce a spark. Because of all these advantages, iridium spark plugs are unsurprisingly the most expensive option. Many modern cars are designed to use iridium spark plugs and you should stick with them when it’s time to replace the spark plugs. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the type of spark plugs recommended for your car or truck.


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Is it time to replace your spark plugs?

If your engine is misfiring or difficult to start, that may mean that it’s time for new spark plugs. Engine knocking and rough idling are also signs that the spark plugs need to be replaced. Spark plugs deteriorate over time and if they cannot create an adequate spark the combustion of the air/fuel mixture will be complete, causing the engine to lose power or even fail to start. Make spark plug replacement a part of your routine auto maintenance to keep your vehicle running when you need it.

MA Auto Repair at Framingham Tire

Looking for auto repair in MA? Contact Framingham Tire at 508-872-5600 to make an appointment today.

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