The Ultimate Guide to Restoring Dirty Iridium Spark Plugs

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Cleaning spark plugs is an inevitable part of car maintenance. Spark plugs are responsible for the ignition of a fuel-air mixture, and if they aren’t working well it can lead to more wear on other parts like your engine or transmission which will ultimately make driving less enjoyable.

Cleaning out those pesky dirt particles from beneath the hood not only makes checking off one item from your checklist feel good but also saves you some money down the line in terms of automotive repairs that could be avoided with proper care upfront.

When you think of spark plugs, one question that probably comes to mind is “Why do iridium spark plugs need so much more maintenance?” Well, the answer might surprise you. Iridium sparks aren’t any worse than other ones when it comes down to performance, they just last longer. Once every few months or even weeks depending on your driving habits can make a big difference in how long iridium and all its wonderful benefits will last for your car.

For all those who love to clean spark plugs, this is your chance. You can do it one way or another and you’ll find that the more ways, the better. There are some important things we need to know before doing any of these methods though. Cleaning iridium spark plugs will improve performance as well as prolong their life span. So don’t miss out on cleaning them properly.

How do you identify your spark plugs are dirty?

The job of spark plugs is to ignite a spark to start up the vehicle. If your spark plugs exhibit:

  • Difficulties in accelerating up
  • Poor performance 
  • Loud and harsh engine
  • Misfire
  • Improper functioning 

Then you can understand there are impurities in those plugs which need to be cleaned.

Decisions to confirm before cleaning your Iridium spark plugs

Experts suggest that you should avoid cleaning spark plugs if possible. Because: By far you have understood cleaning these plugs is not a piece of cake. If you mess up one step, you have to deal with a great hassle. 

Therefore, if you do not FEEL CONFIDENT ENOUGH to clean them, we will request you not to do that. 

Related: What Causes Spark Plugs To Go Bad Fast? & Its Sign

How to clean your iridium spark plugs

You cannot follow the same methods to clean any type of spark plug. 

Using sandpaper is common. It might work for copper spark plugs, but it would be harmful to Iridium as it will damage the tip.

Besides, different plug manufacturers have different ways to use iridium in spark plugs. Mostly, it is done by welding a small piece of iridium on one or both electrodes of the plug. 

Iridium spark plugs are delicate. While cleaning you need to make sure the iridium bits are still there. So, you must remain gentle throughout the process.

Follow these step-by-step

  • Locate your Iridium spark plugs, disconnect the wires, and gently bring them out. 
  • Use a clean and dry old cloth to wipe the firing tips as well as the plugs. 
  • Then take a quick-dry cleaner and spray it onto the firing tips. 
  • Leave the plugs for ten minutes. It will loosen the deposits.
  • After that, use a wire brush to remove all these deposits.
  • To remove any hidden deposits, use an air compressor and blow the plugs off.
  • You can spray contact cleaners after cleaning to make them look great. 
  • Now replace the clean Iridium spark plugs and start using them. 

For safety measures, you can use a soft old blanket while cleaning the plugs. So that if slips out of your hand the blanket can ensure they are not broken. You can use gloves as well. 

Things to avoid

Do not dip your Iridium spark plugs into the water to clean. Do not clean insufficiently. For this reason, clean one plug at a time, and clean thoroughly. Also, do not rush while cleaning them. 

You must make sure before cleaning your plugs whether they are dirty or damaged.

The Benefit Of Cleaning Iridium Spark Plugs

The bonus of cleaning is that you can save money and ride extra miles a little bit longer.

Iridium spark plugs are the best spark plugs to use in your vehicle. However, they come with a core disadvantage that it is too expensive. 

You can change them by yourself, which would minimize the cost a little but changing them at the shop would cost a lot more. 

If you are going through financial shortages, we recommend cleaning them to go the extra mile.

How often does Iridium spark plugs need to be changed? 

There is no written rule for that. Iridium spark plug can last for 4,000 hours while the engine is running. The time depends upon the plug’s power output.

It depends upon the vehicle’s performance, manufacturers’ recommendations, and your instincts as well.

How to identify if your spark plugs are damaged?

Pretty simple, damaged spark plugs won’t even start the engine. In this case, you have to replace them with new ones.

Related: Spark Plugs Go Black- A Real Problem

Why choose Iridium spark plugs?

Customers have options when choosing spark plugs. There are Copper, Platinum, and Iridium plugs. The difference is their tips, which are made of specified materials.

Copper spark plugs perform better. The tips are a bit big. The electrode is covered in nickel alloy because Copper has a low melting point. That means it has a short life span.

Platinum spark plugs last longer than copper. But they are less conductive than Copper. So, they perform poorly compared to both Iridium and Copper.

Iridium spark plugs are the best because they are approximately eight times stronger, six times harder than platinum, and they have three times higher melting points than Copper. So, you can guess why to chose them.

Advantages of using Iridium spark plugs

  • Iridium spark plugs save your fuel costs.
  • You get more engine power with these spark plugs.
  • They provide you with more durability.
  • With Iridium spark plugs you get more corrosion resistance.
  • It can improve the acceleration profile of the vehicle.
  • Iridium spark plugs consume less voltage compared to copper and platinum.
  • By upgrading Iridium spark plugs your vehicle can perform better.


Iridium spark plugs accompany you for 80,000 to 100,000 miles. After that they required replacement. You should note that all the advantages are subjective. Cleaning your Iridium spark plugs will not enhance your engine’s performance, but it will carry you longer. 

Cleaning can be a way to impact the overall performance. On the other hand, it can be detrimental to the vehicle’s health. 

Replacement is safer than cleaning and good for your vehicle. Your vehicle is an important purchase, and you surely want the best for it. We suggest if you can afford it, you should replace old Iridium spark plugs with new ones according to your preference. Trust us it is worth the investment. 

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