The spark plug is a common car maintenance component. Fortunately, they are not expensive. They are also not too difficult to maintain and replace. But as small and as simple as they are, spark plugs have a direct impact on your car’s performance. This means you have to fit your Volvo with high quality spark plugs to be sure of peak performance. That is where Volvo owners get most hung up. It is simple. Get the right spark plug, know how it fix it. Most importantly though, learn a thing or two about the main differences between platinum spark plugs and regular spark plugs. Only then will you have an easy time looking for a spark plug for your car.
Buying Your First Spark Plug
You may have heard or read that going one step ‘cooler’ or ‘hotter’ on spark plugs will have some efficiency or performance advantage. This is partially true, especially when it comes to modified Volvo engines. The best you can do when buying spark plugs for your car is to stick to factory specified plugs. This is as simple as referring to what your Volvo car manual recommends.
Copper Spark Plugs
They are sometimes referred to as regular spark plugs. The first thing you will notice when you look at a copper spark plug is a solid copper core. The furthest end of the center electrode has a 2.5m diameter nickel alloy. This is usually the largest diameter electrode of any spark plug available in the market. Note that the smaller the diameter in a spark plug, the less voltage it will need to initiate spark. There is also the fact that nickel alloy is softer than both iridium and platinum. This explains why the sharp firing edge out of the box wears out quickly. These shortcomings should not worry you though because despite them, copper spark plugs are the most ideal for pre 80s Volvo models with low voltage distributor based ignition systems.
Platinum Spark Plugs
A single platinum spark plug is simply styled after the copper spark plug only that it has a platinum disc welded at the tip of the center electrode. The difference is that minimal but how these two types of spark plugs perform is significantly different. It is easy to understand why. Platinum is harder than nickel alloys. It can easily hold its sharp edge for more than 100,000 miles. There is also the fact that platinum spark plugs run hotter thus preventing fouling and spark plug deposit build up.
What To Do
The type of spark plug you go for should solely depend on your Volvo’s model. Platinum spark plugs are ideal for newer models with electronic distributor based ignition systems aptly referred to as DIS systems. Then like already explained, follow what your car manual recommends. If the manual specified platinum, do not downgrade to copper in the name of saving money. You can however upgrade to iridium or double platinum spark plugs. Ask your mechanic for clarification if all these options confuse you.