What spark plugs to choose for your car is like the topic of what engine oil is best; the answer depends on who you ask and which way the wind is blowing. Today, we’re going to cover the need to know information when trying to choose your new spark plugs. A few key factors come into play and you’ll want to make sure you aren’t just taking a stab in the dark.

To begin, we’re going to cover a few situations in which you’d want to go ahead and replace your spark plugs. If you notice your vehicle is down on power, is sluggish, or just doesn’t seem to be performing as well as it normally does, you might want to go ahead and replace your spark plugs. It could also be to do with a bad batch of gas you got last time you filled up, so check out a possible fuel system cleaner as well. Replacing the spark plugs is generally affordable and not terribly complex, depending on your vehicle.

Check Your Owners Manual

Each particular car takes a certain type of spark plug at a minimum and you won’t want to go below that particular specification of spark plug. It’s definitely not a bad idea to go ahead and step up the quality to make sure you’ve gotten something that will last, but this isn’t always available depending on the vehicle.

The different types of spark plug your car requires is probably something along the lines of copper (generally used in older or less complex cars), single or double platinum, or iridium. The main differences between these spark plugs is their longevity and the level of complexity of the car that the spark plug will live in. A performance turbocharged car is probably going to require iridium spark plugs, while a normal everyday sedan can more than likely get away with just a platinum spark plug.  

As was already mentioned, going up in quality is generally a safe bet (except if you have copper spark plugs) and often you’ll find report if improvements like a smoother ride, better fuel efficiency, and other positive claims after replacing spark plugs. While that’s sometimes hotly disputed, it certainly can’t hurt to try it out for yourself.

We’ve been really happy with an affordable and recognizable brand: Champion Copper Plus. While there isn’t anything revolutionary about this product, we’ve used this particular spark plug in numerous different vehicles ranging in age from the 1960s all the way up to early 2000s vehicles without any issue at all.

Generally, it’s advised to change spark plugs every 50,000 miles or so, but because these are so affordable (even if you need 8), we tend to just go ahead and do them around every 35,000 to 40,000 miles. This helps ensure maximum operating efficiency, engine life, and if any of the gas mileage claims are actually true we’ll be maximizing that opportunity.

NGK is a brand you can find just about anywhere and for good reason. They make some of the most dependable spark plugs around. In the platinum spark plug market, you really can’t go wrong with NGK because of their tried and true reliability and value. Not only that, but NGK is also one of the highest rated spark plug brands in terms of total reviews and average rating.

If you have an import car, more than likely these spark plugs are going to work perfectly for you. Getting this particular brand will often fixing rough idles or stalling, especially on older vehicles or those with higher mileage. More than likely, these spark plugs will be a direct swap for you if you have Subaru, Scion, Toyota, Hyundai, and other similar import or domestic cars.

Bosch is a huge German manufacturers of automotive components that they sell both individually and also to the big car manufacturers. More than likely, there’s something on your car made by Bosch, regardless of what make your car is. You’ll find Bosch parts on everything from Jeep Cherokees to BMWs and more.

As far as quality goes, it’s hard to beat Bosch and their 5 year warranty. This isn’t something you see with consumable components like spark plugs, hoses, belts, etc. While these spark plugs are a bit more expensive individually, they’ll clearly last you a long time and are much more likely to work with your BMWs, Mercedes, VW, etc and other more specialized, finely tuned cars like that.

Once again, we’re back to NGK and we still stand behind the earlier claim of reliability and value. Iridium spark plugs are definitely the most expensive spark plugs you’ll come across, but the value in them is that they are the best quality you’re going to find without breaking the bank. One of the more likely things you’ll notice is acceleration is smoother and throttle response is instantly improved. As a by product of those improvements, this is when you’ll see a more smooth idle, possibly improved gas mileage, and an improvement in overall engine responsiveness.

Iridium spark plugs will work in just about any car from Miatas to German cars and more. The trade off is that they’re the most expensive spark plug around so you’ll really only need to choose iridium spark plugs if you’re someone who wants the absolute best for your car and wants to make sure that your vehicle lasts a lifetime.

If you have a car that either is higher mileage or something that you suspect might have a few gremlins under the hood, iridium spark plugs are a fantastic way to start improving the overall quality and reliability of your car. Let’s say you have a Honda Civic or a more “simple” car with high mileage (150,000+ miles), you’re almost certainly going to notice a big improvement of the factors we’ve already mentioned.  

The Bottom Line

Check to see what spark plugs your car actually calls for an decide whether you want to spend a few extra dollars for a significantly higher quality product or whether you just need what’s going to get you from point A to point B. We’re of the opinion here at Clean Car Guide that the cost savings doesn’t really justify cutting corners, so check out each of the options, read more reviews, and decide from there.

We hope you found some value in this guide and be sure to check out all of our other car care guides, product reviews, tips, and more!