If you want to replace your spark plug make sure there is no debris around the plug prior to removal. Before inserting a new plug, make sure the threads in the cylinder head are clean and in good condition. Install the spark plug by hand until it seats – a length of rubber tubing pushed over the insulator can be a useful aid where access is difficult. Tighten referring to the instructions on the spark plug box – which can differ between make and model due to individual spark plug design (e.g. seating type, thread diameter and gasket material).
Gold palladium, iredium or copper; which makes the best electrode?The materials used at the center electrode tip are nickel alloy, gold palladium, platinum or iridium. The melting point of copper is too low to allow its use on the electrode tips; however it is deeply inserted into the center electrode core of most spark plugs providing improved thermal conductivity and an ultra wide heat range. The smaller diameter center electrode designs offer several advantages including a reduction in required voltage, more consistent spark position, reduction in 'quench effect', more complete combustion and lower emissions.
As materials vary in their resistance to erosion, there has to be a balance between performance and spark plug life. Least durable is nickel alloy, the diameter is typically between 1.6 to 2.9mm (depending on make and model) to ensure a good service life. The hardest material is the precious metal iridium, which makes it the ideal choice for performance and longer life spark plugs. The iridium alloy fine wire which is laser welded to the tip of the center electrode allows a reduction in electrode diameter down to 0.4mm.
A spark plug in a four-stroke engine capable of revving to 10,000rpm will produce 166 sparks per second if a 'wasted spark' ignition system is used. A spark plug in a more highly tuned or competition engine would produce in excess of this depending on maximum rpm and ignition system utilized.