How to choose the right spark plugs

A spark plug is a device for igniting a fuel-air mixture in an internal combustion engine using an electric discharge with a voltage of several tens of thousands of volts that occurs between the electrodes.

What are the candles talking about?

In addition to performing its immediate task, spark plugs can serve as a visual indicator of the state of the engine. A normally working candle of a working motor has clean electrodes and the color of the ceramic skirt of the insulator is from light gray to brown. For example, if the central electrode is covered with velvety black soot, this indicates that the air-fuel mixture is too rich, and the engine suffers from increased fuel consumption. With an excessively lean mixture, the color of the electrode varies from light gray to white, and this threatens the motor with overheating of the combustion chamber.

If the skirt of the central electrode of the spark plug has a reddish tint, this indicates that the fuel contains an excessive amount of additives. This can lead to the fact that metal deposits form a conductive coating on the insulation surface and the candle stops working. If traces of oil are present on the spark plug, especially in the threaded part, the cause of this may be the unsatisfactory condition of the valve stem seals and increased oil consumption. The exhaust in this case will have a characteristic odor and a bluish color.

The presence of white or yellowish soot on the thermal cone of a candle indicates overheating of the candle, which can be caused by a mismatch of the type of the candle to the engine, insufficient tight tightening of the candle, or improper sealing. As a rule, overheating of a candle is accompanied by increased erosion of the electrodes.

The basic design of the candle has not changed since the last century, so many drivers mistakenly believe that choosing a candle is no more difficult than buying, say, light bulbs in the headlights. In fact, everything is not so simple. Those who take a responsible approach to the choice of candles are usually repelled by the geometric dimensions and the glow number, which indicates the thermal mode of operation. However, there is another rather important parameter - the design of the electrode.

What are candles and how do they differ?

It is customary to distinguish several types of candles: single-electrode, multi-electrode and candles made from refractory metals - platinum and iridium.

Single electrode candles

Their design is quite simple: a white ceramic case and a metal glass with thread. The spark is generated using two metal electrodes - the central (its diameter is usually 2.5 mm) and the side (also 2.5 mm). Such candles have existed for several decades and are the most affordable, but their service life is limited.

Multi-electrode candles

In such a candle, the central electrode interacts immediately with 3-4 side electrodes. This provides a longer candle life, as the electrodes wear out alternately. But the ignition of the mixture in such a candle is difficult.

Platinum candles

Noble metal spark plug electrodes are not a useless luxury at all. Iridium and platinum candles came to the mass market straight from motorsport. Experimenting with the design of candles, engineers noticed that a thin electrode makes it possible to increase the stability and efficiency of the engine, since the spark is more powerful. But thin electrodes did not withstand high temperatures and quickly wore out. How to solve this problem? They decided to make the central electrode out of metal, which is able to effectively resist destruction. So candles with platinum electrodes appeared.

The diagram shows very clearly the quality of the flash of candles from various materials depending on the time.

Iridium candles

Then spark plugs of a completely new generation appeared - iridium. The melting point of this metal is even higher than that of platinum, and it is also very hard and most resistant to extremely high temperatures and corrosion. This ensures long-term operation of the spark plug with a wide range of loads and, as a result, more efficient combustion of fuel.

At the peak of progress

The highest concentration of iridium compared to any other candle on the market can boast the new Iridium TT spark plugs from the Japanese company DENSO. This provides excellent flammability, optimal engine performance and significant fuel efficiency. Another distinctive feature of the Iridium TT spark plugs is the Super Ignition Plug technology, which is based on a combination of ultrathin oncoming iridium center electrode and platinum side electrode.

The central iridium electrode of a candle DENSO Iridium TT has the smallest diameter in the world - only 0.4 millimeters, and a counter platinum electrode with a diameter of 0.7 millimeters increases the energy of the spark and reduces heat loss. Candles with SIP technology from other manufacturers are used today on supercars and luxury cars. The ultrathin iridium electrode allows you to make the ignition system even more efficient due to a significant increase in the ignition efficiency and lower heat loss at startup.

The design using iridium and platinum in Iridium TT candles provides them with a resource of 120 thousand kilometers, which is about five times more than standard nickels. You can choose DENSO iridium candles for almost any car whose engine meets the environmental standards of Euro-5 / Euro-6. As for the higher price, it is successfully offset by savings in car service. Such candles can be changed every five years.

It’s hard to believe, but the fact is such a simple operation as replacing conventional spark plugs with iridium spark plugs, you can make driving more enjoyable and minimize fuel consumption. So why not take this opportunity?

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