Tips to Choosing the Right Spark Plug Wires for Your Vehicle
Ever heard of engine misfiring? This is the result of failing spark plugs which can highly affect your vehicle’s performance. That’s why your spark plugs require periodical replacements. Having said that, it may not be enough only to change the spark plugs. Once in a while you should give some attention to your spark plug wires as well which are often neglected.
Investing on a quality spark plug wire is highly suggested since it’s very important to extract the full benefit of changing a spark plug. Never let an inappropriate spark plug wire wear your vehicle’s performance down. If you’re confused to pick the right one we’re here to guide you!
So, let’s get you electrified with some spark plug wiring knowledge so that you can hit the road with better performance and mileage.
Why should you install a quality spark plug wire?
Spark plug wires, also known as ignition wires suppresses the voltage interference that transmits spark energy to the plugs. If the plug wires are made of materials that cause high resistance, it may produce lower ignition leading to crossfires. For this reason, it is very important to choose the right spark plug wire and to maintain engine fitness.
A good quality spark plug will elevate your engine performance, improve fuel consumption, reduce RFI and most importantly, save you a lot of money but don’t expect your spark plug wires to develop any horsepower. Remember that a spark plug wire only gives you a better build quality by maintaining the right spark for a longer period until it requires replacing.
Spark Plug Wiring Related Key Terms
If you’re a beginner in changing your spark plug wires, words like resistance or EMI may not be familiar to you. Let us give some ideas.
The cross section of a spark plug wire will typically give you consecutive layers of silicone jacket, fiberglass braid, insulator, conductive layer, suppression layer and center core. This center core is very important and is usually made of materials like- copper, carbon, steel etc. Different cores have different resistances. That’s why you have to be careful while choosing the appropriate wire core for your vehicle.
You may wonder what is this resistance? Well, the resistance is simply the ignition wire’s tendency to resist the flow of the current. The more the resistance, the less the current will pass through the wire to the plug.
If the resistance is high, it may become the culprit behind poor engine performance and fuel consumption down the road.
EMI and RFI
The other important terms you should know regarding spark plug wires are EMI and RFI.
The EMI(Electromagnetic Interference) or the RFI(Radio Frequency Interference) are the interferences of an electromagnetic field. This field is the result of the excessive flow of charges caused by the resistance of the electronic ignition.
At times, you may notice some creaky noises if you turn on the radio which actually indicates the field interfering with other electronic devices. This is harmful for other sensors as well.
Spark plug wires are mainly designed to tackle the problems mentioned above. Some wires will help in lowering the resistance whereas some will suppress the EMI.
How Will You Pick the Right Spark Plug Wire?
So the million dollar question is, how are you going to pick the right one for your vehicle? Let’s have a look.
#1. Try Consulting with An Expert First
It’s always best to take expert advice if you’re dealing with your vehicle’s technical issues. Though if there are no other options but to do it yourself, then it’s recommended that you at least discuss with your car’s manufacturer on your car’s cylinder type and additional things to purchase before changing the wires directly.
But, if that’s not an option for you at all, then you can take help from the manual of your car as well.
Asking your mechanic for some advice may also work. He can give you step by step instructions via video calls or other mediums to pick the right wire after having a look at your vehicle type. Moreover, suggest you the numbers of wires as well as the other necessary parts required to install it.
You may have to pay some extra bucks in exchange for this expert opinion but we’d recommend you to go for it if you’re a beginner.
#2. Determine Your Vehicle’s Core Type
As we already mentioned earlier, the core of an ignition wire can be of different types. You need to determine which type is suitable for your ride.
Daily Driver/ Stock Vehicle
OEM style carbon cores are highly recommended for a daily driver or stock vehicle. It’s important that you buy high quality carbon core wires since mostly these type wires have the tendency to wear down faster than usual. So, your engine may need routine check-ups if you’re using one.
Racing cars/ Vintage hot rods
For vehicles with the traditional magneto or point style setup, you can go for the solid-core wires. The carburetors of the racing car or the vintage hot rods, gain more advantage from such type wires as they provide super low resistance. So, no more additional noises or interferences unless you use any MSD ignition box.
High performance cars with V8 engines
On the other hand, if you’re looking for spark plug wires that can handle high performance applications like computers, modern ignition or other electronic devices, we suggest you go for inductive spiral core leads. This type is known to provide maximum voltage and minimum resistance to the plugs for high cylinder pressure and more fuel.
In addition, solid core wires are preferable for smoother performance and eliminating EMIs since these are made of thicker layers of insulators. Hence, inductive spiral leads with larger diameters (8.5mm-10.4mm) are highly effective in reducing inductive crossfires leading to engine damages.
#3. Number, Diameter and Heat Tolerance Matter
Buying the right number of spiral plug wires according to your cylinders are essential. To know the numbers, you can either count the wires already installed or just ask your manufacturer for the number of cylinders in your car. The number of cylinders depicts the number wires you need to buy.
Besides, connecting the plug wires in order is a must. You can easily do it by checking the color codes or the numbers imprinted on the wires.
In most cases, the length of the wires are mentioned in numbers on top of the wire skin but if not, then you can always lay the wires side by side to compare their lengths and keep a note for future replacements.
There is no significant proof that the size of the wire correlates to the energy of the spark. However, it is widely accepted that larger wires have better insulation which provides more spark to the plug. As you already know by now, more spark leads to less gas leakage and less gas leakage means more mileage.
The most important thing is to buy a high-quality wire. Premium wires are made of insulation materials designed to tolerate the temperature for a longer period. If you have an incredibly hot coil, chances are that the insulation made of cheaper materials may melt leading to misfires. So, choosing wires that can withstand higher temperatures is highly recommended.
#4. Spark Plug Wire Pricing
You’ll be able to find an average plug wire within the range of $30 to $40. The spark plug wire cost doesn’t usually vary much. So, you’ll easily get a stack of medium quality wires within this budget. We suggest you buy a large assortment of wires since it’s not that costly and you can always have a backup if you’re unsure.
For high-performance ignition wires with excellent features, more heat durability and improved spark plug retention, you have to go more than $40. Normally within $80-$100 you’ll find spark plug wires made of better materials.
We’d recommend you going for the next one, since investing on a premium spark plug wire will give you better build quality. On top, you can’t deny the fact that it’s always wise to go for a reputed manufacturer over the ordinary ones as you can easily put your trust on those brands.
#5. Other Things to Consider
Other than all the things mentioned above, there are a few more things to consider. Don’t forget chemical resistance, Ohm rating, RFI suppressions, cut-to-fit or direct fit, boot types, boot angles and even the colors while choosing a high-quality spark plug wire to fit your needs.
Though spark plug wires are usually direct fit for a particular application, there are other available options like cut-to-fit wires like universal wires if you’re in an emergency looking for a short-term hack.
To conclude, we’d like to say that it’s not a challenging task to change the spark plug wires if required. You can easily replace it following the instructions. The real challenge is to find the right one according to your vehicle’s need.
We hope our article could be of a little help for you to decide on the ultimate one.
Gather as much information as possible and get started. All the best!