Maintenance Matters

April 2008 Issue

Fine Wire vs. Massive: Which is Better?

Although fine wire spark plugs cost three times as much as massives, they last longer and deliver more efficient combustion. We think they’re worth the cost.

What kind of spark plug do you have in your aircraft engine? Do you even know or care? Or should you just leave that up to the shop and buy what’s cheapest? While delegating this choice to your shop is the no-hassle option, we think having an informed opinion on spark plugs might save you a few bucks. Maybe a lot of bucks, actually. But it’s a case of spending more to save more. In aviation as in everything else, you’re confronted with the dilemma of one product that does the same thing as another, but costs twice or three times as much. That’s definitely the case with spark plugs. The popular massive electrode plug sells for a third less than its fine-wire electrode cousin. In this article, we’ll make the pitch for spending the additional money, at least for owners who fly high-performance aircraft and who are interested in fuel economy and long-term durability.

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