As some auto manufacturers recommend 100,000-plus mile spark plug replacements, many consumers seem to believe that all cars have “100,000 mile plugs” . . . to the detriment of their car’s fuel efficiency and performance.
As spark plugs have become more reliable and longer-lasting over the decades, some premium plugs are in fact designed to last up to five years or 100,000 miles.
But some consumers mistake a spark plug that still works for a spark plug that still works well. In fact, to the surprise of many late-model vehicle owners, approximately 13 vehicle manufacturers still recommend more frequent plug changes in several of their vehicles, including premium nameplates like BMW and Porsche as well as Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, Mazda, Suzuki, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota.
On the list is the 5.7 liter HEMI V8 found in thousands of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles it features copper core plugs and requires a 30,000-mile spark plug change interval. Several Toyota V6 applications including the 2004 3.4l Tacoma and 4Runner also need spark plug changes every 30,000 miles. Ford trucks like the Explorer and Ranger with the V6 SOHC engine have plugs that need changing every 90,000 miles. Plus, the fairly new Saturn Astra actually specs a 25,000 mile plug change.
When the plugs are changed, technicians and DIYers may want to consider upgrading to iridium enhanced finewire plugs like Autolite XP Xtreme Performance spark plugs, which are compatible with any vehicle, regardless of year, make and model. By increasing the size of the flame kernel a 21 percent bigger flame compared to that of standard plugs these particular spark plugs ignite more gas and air mixture inside the cylinders. The ignition is also more focused, which provides faster, more complete fuel combustion for top fuel efficiency over the life of the plug.
“Spark plugs help in the overall performance of a vehicle, but if ignored, can degrade over time and lead to performance issues. Unfortunately, many drivers are under the impression that every new vehicle doesn’t require a tune-up for 100,000 miles,” said Dave Buckshaw, technical trainer for the Autolite brand. “But conducting tune-ups on a routine basis is important for maintaining both fuel efficiency and performance.”
Buckshaw also points out how important it is to keep in mind our driving habits and the demands we put on our engines when determining the replacement intervals. Heavy stop-and-go driving (like rush hour in a typical city), excessive idling, towing, cold starts and several short trips all constitute extreme driving conditions and may warrant earlier change intervals, said Buckshaw.
For more information, product details and technical tips, consumers and technicians can log on to www.autolite.com.