Know Your Engine When Determining Spark Plug Service Intervals

Know Your Engine When Determining Spark Plug Service Intervals

Sponsored by Autolite

How much easier and simpler would life be if every problem had a one-size-fits-all solution? Unfortunately, that will never be the case since almost every conundrum must be mitigated via a solution that involves the precise implementation of a diverse set of actions that have to link seamlessly in order to optimize or improve the whole.

Take vehicle engines, for instance. In the beginning, there was one type, which made them easy to maintain, service and repair. Over the ensuing decades, however, the number of engines that became available to the market expanded greatly, with a number of notable enhancements relating to size, construction, capacity, horsepower, method of operation, etc.

This growing roster of engine sizes and styles has forced the makers of the components that outfit them – spark plugs, valves, seals, gaskets, among many others – to keep pace in the design and capabilities of their products. Specifically, the manufacturers of spark plugs must now create products that are capable of operating in today’s increasingly popular – some would say “oxymoronic” – smaller engines that are capable of producing more power per liter through higher compression rates and power adders like turbocharging and direct fuel injection.

So, that creates a quandary for the driver: how to know the proper service interval in miles driven for the vehicle’s spark plugs. A look at four distinct automobile models will help illustrate that “one size fits all” will never be an option when identifying the proper service interval for the vehicle’s spark plugs, noting that the more technologically advanced the engine, the harder its operation is on the spark plugs:

2014 Dodge Dart, 1.4L turbocharged engine: Turbocharged engines are smaller, but possess the ability to create more power per liter, so they need tough spark plugs that can handle the more stringent operating conditions featuring more stress and compression. These plugs, no matter their capabilities, will still be need to be replaced more frequently, with a recommended service interval of 30,000 miles.
2012 BMW X-5, 3L straight-six engine: This type of engine offers the driver relatively large fuel displacement with low compression rates, meaning the spark plugs will not be as taxed as one in a turbocharged engine. This allows the service interval to be 120,000 miles, which, in some instances, may be the entire life of the vehicle.
1985 Buick Riviera, 3.8L engine: Older engines can have compression ratios of 8.5:1, which puts less stress on it and its components. That makes a 50,000-mile spark plug service interval the proper choice for this vehicle.
2018 Audi A6 Quattro, 2L direct-injected turbocharged engine: This has become a very popular engine design among manufacturers and drivers, with approximately 50% of all vehicles on the road now powered by direct injection. Direct injection differs from traditional manifold fuel-injection systems in that the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. While this increases engine efficiency with a reduction in emissions, it results in a very high-stress engine with spark plugs that will need to be serviced after 40,000 miles of use.

Autolite is able to ease the guesswork involved in determining spark plug service intervals through its Autolite® Iridium Ultra® Spark Plugs. Iridium spark plugs, which feature the industry’s most advanced metallurgy, have been proven to deliver better performance and optimized service life when used in today’s smaller, hotter and more stressful high-performance engines. When you use Iridium Ultra plugs, you are taking advantage of laser-welded technology that provides optimum performance, ignitability, fuel efficiency – and service life. Explore all of the benefits of Iridium Ultra spark plugs at

You May Also Like

Engineering behind chassis: high and low-friction parts

What is overengineering? Overengineering is often described as designing a product or solution in an unnecessarily complicated way where a simple solution had been shown to have the same efficiency, or is even more effective than the original.  In the aftermarket world, the OE part is where the journey starts. It begins with testing and

What is overengineering?

Overengineering is often described as designing a product or solution in an unnecessarily complicated way where a simple solution had been shown to have the same efficiency, or is even more effective than the original. 

In the aftermarket world, the OE part is where the journey starts. It begins with testing and understanding the original component, and then looking for ways to improve the design, materials used, and so on. 

A Closer Look: Turbocharger Operation and Installation

Turbocharger Overview With an effort to increase fuel efficiency, maintain performance and reduce emissions, vehicle manufacturers are adding turbocharged engines to their lineups at a significant rate. Over the next five years, the turbo service market will continue to experience substantial growth.  At a basic level, a turbocharger consists of just three major internal components:

Two Lubegards Are Better Than One

Lubegard Synthetic ATF Protectant and Instant Shudder Fixx work better, faster, and longer together to stop torque converter clutch shudder (TCC shudder).  Both products are effective on their own, but when used together they provide not only a long-term solution for TCC shudder but also offer complete protection for transmissions. Since the 1980’s lockup torque convertors

The Importance of Proper Spark Plug Torquing

Whenever you install new spark plugs in your vehicle’s engine, there are some crucial considerations to keep in mind. For those who have installed plugs before, proper plug gapping usually comes to mind first. But another important factor in getting the most out of a new set of spark plugs is to precisely torque them

What Causes Fuel Pumps to Fail?

Like most vehicle components, natural wear and tear is the unavoidable cause for parts replacement.  Fuel pumps are often out of sight and out of mind for most shop visitors. That’s because they are an as-needed repair and not typically a part of ongoing maintenance. Nevertheless, if you diagnose fuel pump failure, customers will want

Other Posts

Protecting Your Vehicle in the Winter

Depending on where you live, autumn is an idyllic time of year with bright colors and mild temperatures.  If there is one downside though, it means that winter is on its way, which means frigid temperatures, snow, ice and difficult road conditions. The lifespans of cars and trucks are increasing all the time, so protecting

Complete Pentastar Oil Adapter Fix

Engine Oil Filter Adapter: 926-959 Upgraded Aluminum Engine Oil Filter Housing with Oil Cooler and Filter Application Summary: Chrysler 2022-11, Dodge 2022-11, Jeep 2022-11, Ram 2022-12, Volkswagen 2014-11 The factory oil filter adapter on millions of OEM V6-powered vehicles often leaks oil when its plastic housing warps from harsh underhood conditions. As the plastic eventually

Helping Customers Understand the Signs of Fuel Pump Failure

Fuel pump failures are never a one-size-fits-all diagnosis.  Different symptoms indicate different problems and often, the pump will still function—albeit erratically—as it fails. Explaining this to customers isn’t always easy, especially because many of them may not know that the fuel pump has more than one role. Shop owners and technicians can help customers understand

Beam vs. Conventional Wiper Blades: Which is Better?

As you’re aware, all car parts change over time. This includes wiper blades, which some vehicle owners might not consider to be a crucial part. As with any other vehicle component, research and technology have improved the way wipers are designed, how they’re installed, and their overall function.  Weather and road conditions vary and will