Picking the best spark plug for your car

When it comes to choosing the correct spark plug for your car, it’s not always as simple as you’d think. They come in various lengths and gap sizes, are made from different core materials and are manufactured to operate at different temperature ranges.

Why isn’t there a single, simple universal option? Because car engines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, built for different types of driving.

The perfect spark plug for your car is the one designed to run specifically with your engine. So, as with all the parts your car relies on for its optimum performance, how do we find out exactly what that is?

How to find your perfect spark plug

1. Check your owner’s manual

Given that each engine is designed to operate under fine tolerances, the safest hands to dictate your vehicle’s spark plugs should be its manufacturer. Your owner’s handbook or manual should detail the type of spark plug recommended for your car, including the part number.

However, tracking down new spark plugs from such codes or settings isn’t always easy, with so many brands of spark plugs and alternative upgrades on the market.

2. Locate the metal information tags on your car

If you’ve lost your handbook (or never had one in the first place), lift the bonnet of your car, and you should find a metal plate near the radiator or fixed under the bonnet. This panel features information about the vehicle, including the model number or VIN (vehicle identification number). You can use these codes to identify the parts for your particular car and cross-reference them with supplier tech-spec sheets.

3. Supplier guides and specification sheets

Most auto-centres will have flip charts or posters detailing the different spark plugs they sell for each vehicle. You’ll need precise information for your make and model to ensure you track down the correct plug for your engine.

4. Use online checking and compatibility tools

Checking codes against booklets and flip charts seems quite antiquated in today’s digital world. So, just as you’d expect, there are plenty of digital and online ways to track down the appropriate spark plugs for your car.

Most online tools and checkers pull up a list of appropriate plugs simply by having you enter your car registration number. Others will ask you to select your make and specific model, engine size, and year from the relevant drop-down fields before delivering your options.

5. Ask an expert

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and when you pump your details into any spark plug tool, you’ll receive a handful of options. Some will call them ‘upgrades’, as higher-grade materials last longer than cheaper traditional options.

However, depending on what your car needs, that’s not always the case.

For expert recommendations for your car, our Fixter mechanics are always at hand to offer professional advice. We’ve already covered most of the questions drivers ask on our spark plug blog, from the typical costs of parts and replacements to when they might be malfunctioning and when you need to change them.

We’ll also find you the best prices in your area with our online quote system.