Do not let the small size of the spark plugs befool you! A spark plug or a sparking plug is a tool for delivering electric current from an ignition system to a spark-ignition engine’s combustion chamber. This is done to ignite the compressed fuel/air mixture by an electric spark while containing combustion pressure within the engine.
To extend the engine’s life, you will need quality spark plugs to bring maximum durability and performance to the internal combustion engine.
When I researched spark plug, I saw that every engine needs a spark plug replacement. So, I was exploring to find out some best ones and came across the ruthenium spark plugs. They are cheaper yet superior to the iridium. The iridium spark plugs, which are also made by NGK, are costlier than the ruthenium ones.
Since Ruthenium’s genetic makeup is harder than iridium, people are shifting towards Ruthenium for the higher resistance to wear and tear.
What Is A Ruthenium Spark Plug?
The spark plugs are evolving with new alloys to render long service life, better performance, and spark propagation. NGK has introduced their next-generation spark plugs, which are known as ruthenium spark plugs. These plugs feature electrodes made of the precious metal ruthenium.
Ruthenium is a chemical element with the symbol Ru and atomic number 44. Similar to the other components of the platinum group, ruthenium is inert to most other chemicals. It melts at 4233 degrees F, but if we talk about the alloy, it becomes much more resistant to corrosion and oxidation than the alloys of current iridium and platinum. So it’s been a great choice to use in electrical contact to make them wear-resistant.
Features of Ruthenium Spark Plugs
As the technology advances, modern engines demand more power while combusting less fuel, which ultimately shortens the lifespan of iridium or platinum spark plugs. This is where ruthenium spark plugs make a difference. It offers superior oxidation resistance and advanced high ignitable technology for a longer lifespan with two different designs.
DFE AND PSPE Tip Design
You can find a design named DFE or double fine electrode. It can simultaneously maximize the ignitability and reduce emissions for low heat engines. This NGK-patented configuration is suitable for non-turbo applications.
Again, there is also another design named PSPE or projected square platinum electrode. This one is suitable for high-heat engines like turbo and supercharged engines.
Ruthenium alloy offers severe wear resistance than the other materials of the platinum family. According to NGK, these plugs last longer than other lead metal spark plugs. It lasts 2× longer than iridium spark and 4× than standard nickel electrode plugs. Moreover, Ruthenium performs better at the higher temperature.
These plugs provide higher ignitability, which guarantees maximum combustion to ensure complete fuel burn resulting in quicker throttle response, better acceleration, and a cold start.
The cold-start up is faster, and you will get the less raw gas smell in the exhaust in the first minute after starting. And during the low speed or automatic downshifts, you can notice a behaved starting.
How To Use Ruthenium Spark Plugs?
Ruthenium spark plugs have a ruthenium body with a porcelain insulator. After giving a kick or voltage supply, the ruthenium body gets the voltage about 20000-40000V. This massive amount of voltage then passes through the ruthenium electrode surrounded by porcelain or high–grade alumina silicate ceramic.
It works as an insulator and resists the leaking of voltage, which may cause a short circuit. This insulator is ribbed shape so that this enormous level of voltage has to pass more distance to reach the ground electrode.
When electricity flows from the top, it flows to the base and tries to jump to the ground electrode. While jumping, the quick flow of voltage ionizes the air in the gap, which creates ignition and burns the gasoline or petrol. The fuel creates energy by burning , and the engine uses the power to operate.
A Note: Be careful about the voltage leaking. Change and clean the spark plug after a regular time for a good throttle of your engine. If the manual suggests changing the spark plug every 20000 km, you should replace it after traveling 10000 km. Because when the vehicle is not mobile in traffic, the engine still runs, and the spark plug suffers wear and tear.
The ruthenium spark plugs that you can buy:
NGK has brought some great products to the automotive aftermarket for delivering power for today’s engines. Ruthenium HX is one of them. This one has got superior oxidation resistance with DFE and PSPE tip designs. The advanced high-ignitability technology and enhanced blistering/anti-peeling feature have made it our favorite.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Ruthenium Spark Plugs?
- Enhancing fuel efficiency: The worn-out sparking plugs will not run as efficiently as the fresh ones. Replace your faulty plugs with the ruthenium ones, and your engine will require less effort to keep the combustion process going. Thus, this small accessory will increase fuel efficiency over the long run.
- Increasing the engine’s response: You will get smooth, responsive acceleration while stepping on the gas pedal.
- Removes the rough running: The ruthenium ones can provide sufficient ignition to spur the combustion process in your motor. Thus, your tool can smooth out the rough idle.
- Lower down the risk of damage to the components: Replace your faulty sparking plug with the ruthenium ones. The former can cause misfires, lackluster acceleration, and other ignition issues.
- Improving the reliability: The spark plug plays a vital role in getting your vehicle started.
Importance of the Spark Plug Gap
Double-check the plugs have the proper gap to enhance the engine’s performance. The gap ensures the correct voltage that ignites the fuel and generates the combustion to make the engine run.
If you incorrectly set the spark plug’s gap, it can lead to damage to your engine. Too small the distance, too weak the spark is to complete the combustion process within the engine. And you may encounter misfires at high speeds for wider gaps.
Because of the consolidation of the parts, the factory gap may not always be the proper one for your engine. The gap setting varies from one vehicle to another, but most are somewhere between 0.028″ and .060″. Always refer to the specified electrode gap on your engine emissions decal. The amount of tightening the spark plugs depends on the plugs’ size and the type of plug seat.
What are the issues of a faulty spark plug?
A: Some symptoms are mentioned below –
- Backfiring during acceleration
- Rough idle and difficulties starting your engine
- A significant drop in fuel economy
- If the vehicle doesn’t run as well as it usually does
How frequently should I change my ruthenium spark plugs?
A: The change depends on the grade of spark plugs you have in your vehicle. Highly-efficient spark plugs will last longer than the ordinary ones. Most mechanics recommend changing your ruthenium spark plugs every 100,000 miles. This interval may vary if your engine isn’t in its best condition. So, inspect them for wear and change them accordingly.
If you neglect the unaddressed, malfunctioning plugs, there is a high possibility that you may encounter low fuel economy or damage to your vehicle’s components. So, it is crucial to replace the bad plugs immediately. And nowadays, which one will be better other than the newest ruthenium spark plugs?
Ruthenium spark plugs are the latest development in spark plug technology. The special ruthenium alloy electrodes generally last 2X longer than current iridium spark plugs and 4X longer than standard nickel electrode spark plugs. The increased wear resistance means these plugs may genuinely become “lifetime” spark plugs that never need to be substituted or removed.