With this feature, we launch a new category of editorial on RevdCars.com: “Cheap Thrills.” These aren’t the kind of thrills that will likely get you arrested and thrown in the slammer. Rather, these are small, affordable upgrades you can perform on your car to achieve better performance, realiability and / or driving experience.
Reportedly invented by Edmond Berger in 1839, spark plugs are the often-overlooked component of an engine. Most people don’t give a second thought to replacing them, relegating this rather simple maintenance item to their dealer or local mechanic during a “tune up” (newer vehicles really don’t need “tune ups” per se). But checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs at regular intervals can pay dividends.
Our in-house Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR came equipped with NGK Iridium spark plugs from the factory. Compared to spark plugs with a conventional copper center electrode, iridium spark plugs – due to the high temperature nature of iridium – allow the use of a smaller center electrode, which will not melt or corrode away. When you combine this increased level of durability and the more efficient spark afforded by iridium, these spark plugs will provide more efficient combustion translating into performance and economy gains. Indeed, the advantages iridium spark plugs permit are ideal for high performance applications like the turbocharged 4G63 engine in the Evo IX.
At 15,000 miles on the odometer, the NGK’s were swapped for Denso Iridium spark plugs. Although the Mitsubishi service manual advises a longer change interval, we were pleased by the results. Immediately, idle smoothed out and engine response was improved. Now with 30,000 miles on the odometer, we checked out the Denso Iridium plugs previously installed. The plugs looked almost new, the center electrode showing no signs of any corrosion or melting. And idle and engine response is still excellent.
While we can certainly continue to use the plugs, we figured as long as they were out, we’d install a fresh set. Sure, iridium plugs do cost more than standard copper or platinum plugs, but the performance and efficiency advantages they offer more than justify the extra cost in our opinion. Even if your pocketbook does not permit spending upward of $25 per plug, regularly checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs will enhance the vehicle ownership and driving experience.
Denso Sales California, Inc.
3900 Via Oro Avenue
Long Beach CA 90815