Is there a difference in spark plugs?

At our shop, we have the capability to measure how much electricity is generated by the coil to jump the spark plug gap or "build the bridge".  Another way to say the same thing is the ability to create and maintain the spark.  We can also measure how much electricity is needed to maintain the "burn" or bridge. Last, we can measure how long in milli-seconds the spark plug maintains the spark or burn. Many times in the past we have compared Champion to others and found Champion to out perform all others we've tested.  Because of that, I have used and sold Champion spark plugs for the last 30 years.

We tested forked spark plugs and  Champions on a 1990 S-10 Blazer with a 4.3 liter V-6 engine.  These "new" spark plugs took more electricity to make a spark, yet the burn time was less than the regular Champion spark plugs we tested them against.  It stands to reason, the best spark plug will use the least amount of electricity, yet maintain the longest spark. Generally, a set of 8 forked plugs will cost you $50 or more.  A set of 8 Champion spark plugs will cost $20-45 at  a discount auto parts store and we sell them to our customers for $35 for conventional plugs and $100 or so for a Platinum plug.

Here's the results of the test between the forked spark plugs and the Champions:

KV / electricity needed to create & maintain the burn Burn time in milli-seconds
New Champion Plugs 1.66 1.86
New Forked Plugs 1.96 1.66


So as you can see, new Champion spark plugs needed less electricity than the forked plugs and have a longer burn time.

Next, we took a 4 cylinder (22R) Toyota truck and installed four different sets of new spark plugs and ran the same test for each set of plugs.  All were gapped exactly alike.  The results are below:

Type of spark plug

KV / electricity needed to create & maintain the burn Burn time in milli-seconds
Champion Spark Plugs 1.38 1.9
AC Spark Plugs 1.72 1.7
Autolite Spark Plugs 1.90 1.7
NGK Spark Plugs 1.75 1.9

Again the Champions needed less electricity to create and maintain the burn and then they held the spark or flame as long as the NGK and longer than the other two.


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