Best Spark Plug Wires: Keep Your Engine Running Smoothly
Fire up every cylinder of your car smoothly with these high-performance spark plug wires
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PUBLISHED ON July 28, 2019
Many car owners routinely swap out their vehicle’s spark plugs for maintenance. However, changing the spark plug wires is another project you should consider adding to your list when making sure your car is in working order. The wires are responsible for providing the spark that ignites each spark plug, and they need just as much care and attention as the plug itself. Here are the best-rated spark plug wires you should consider.
- Best OverallNGK Spark Plug Wire SetSummarySummaryThis spark plug wire comes with variable pitch winding and an ultra-low resistance level to provide a powerful and efficient spark to your spark plugs.ProsProsStainless steel terminal ends fit tightly and securely to the spark plugs to ensure a quick and vibration-free ignition. The wiring is made up of a heat-resistant silicone jacket that resists moisture, oil, gas, and cracking in the extreme heat of up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.ConsConsThe plug boots may not cover the sleeves of the engine head properly. This could lead to dirt and water entering the plug sleeves. Another downside is they are on the more expensive side.
- Best ValueDenso Spark Plug Wire SetSummarySummaryThese identical ignition plug wires are a direct match to the OEM fitted wires; however, the major difference is the improved conductor wire. This makes them familiar and easy to install.ProsProsThe wires are designed with a fiberglass carbon that quickly and efficiently sends a spark to your spark plugs. The housing for the copper wiring and cabling is sturdy and thick to help prevent against punctures and extreme heat or cold.ConsConsThe wiring can be a little too short to reach the OEM routing clips. You may also find it difficult to latch onto the gasket on the engine side.
- Honorable MentionACDelco Professional Spark Plug Wire SetSummarySummaryThese wires come with a specifically designed distributor boot shape and materials to provide a secure fit, easy installation, and watertight seal.ProsProsThey are corrosion resistant to prevent any kind of acidic buildup. Their terminal design improves spark plug retention and assists you during the installation process. Plus, the outer jacket acts as a high dielectric solution, keeping the copper in excellent shape with each mile.ConsConsThe wires may end up pushing so tightly to the end of the spark plugs that they are nearly impossible to remove without separating the metal connector from inside the wire boot. The wires may also be a bit too short in some cars.
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Benefits of Spark Plug Wires
- Increase engine performance. The best spark plug wire will instantly provide a spark for your vehicle’s spark plug. Standard OEM wires may do fine at starting your car, but eventually, they will weaken and lose their ability to properly start your engine. This could lead to misfires, a lower idle, and lack of power. Stronger and more durable cables hold the spark until it finds its way to the spark plug to boost the performance of your vehicle.
- Improve gas mileage. Running on bad spark plugs or spark plug wires can end up using more fuel. High-quality wires will allow the spark plugs to start faster and keep your engine running more effectively.
- Save money. Routinely swapping out your spark plug wires can save you cash. Driving on faulty wires can end up damaging your vehicle if you don’t switch out the wires quickly enough. You could end up hurting the actual spark plugs as well, leading to a much larger repair bill.
- Reduce radio frequency interference (RFI). Spark plug wires are built with carbon, giving them a higher resistance to other electronic frequencies. This helps reduce the amount of radio frequency interference generated by normal ignition system operation. RFI can impact radio reception and interfere with the sensors and computer systems within the car.
Types of Spark Plug Wire
Distributed Resistance Wires
These wires are made up of fiberglass-impregnated carbon core wires and are the most common of all wire sets found in today’s vehicles. It is the carbon that gives the wires a higher resistance to RFI noise.
Magnetic Resistance Wires/Inductance Wires
Magnetic resistance spark plug wires, or inductance wires, are more popular in Japanese style vehicles such as Acuras, Toyotas, and Hondas. They are designed from spiral cores wound with a nickel alloy or copper wires. The material is less resistant to the flow of electricity, which means it requires less current to generate a spark.
Fixed Resistor Wires
Fixed resistor spark plug wires are more prominently featured in European-style cars. They feature steel and copper wire and have resistors in the spark plug boots.
Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has designed world-class quality spark plugs, oxygen sensors, and other automotive products. It was founded in 1966, with its main office headquartered in Irvine, Calif. One of its top products is the NGK Spark Plug Wire Set.
Since 1906, ACDelco has been creating parts for vehicles, planes, and spacecraft. William Durant helped launch the company in Grand Blanc, Mich., and worked with General Motors to design spark plugs, shocks, and more. It makes the ACDelco Professional Spark Plug Wire Set.
Founded in 1949, Denso develops and designs a large number of automobile parts and equipment. From alternators, air filters, oil filters, and spark plugs, Denso covers basically all parts of the vehicle. A spark plug wire it is known for is the Denso Spark Plug Wire Set.
Spark Plug Wire Pricing
- $30-$40: Spark plug wires don’t really vary that much in pricing. Generally, you will be able to find one of the best spark plug wire sets in this price range. They will come with multiple wires to connect to several spark plugs.
- $40 and up: It’s in this price range you will find spark plug wires with more enhanced features, such as fighting against corrosion or improving spark plug retention to assist with installation. These are also made of a more durable material than less expensive products.
Choosing new spark plug wires really comes down to the type of vehicle you drive. If you use your car as an everyday driver, distributed resistance wires are your best choice. They are designed specifically with a reduced amount of RFI and will not hinder your onboard computer, sensors, or gauges. If your vehicle is American-made, go for distributed resistance wires. A Japanese car will need magnetic resistant wires, and European vehicles will operate more efficiently with fixed resistor wires.
Number of Spark Plugs
It’s also important to know how many sparks plugs your vehicle has. Some spark plug wires split into multiple wires to fit onto multiple spark plugs, while others can be purchased separately. The more plugs your car has, the more wires you will need.
- Length: You will need to know the distance from the distributor or ignition to the spark plugs. Ignition cable wires vary in length and need to be able to reach the spark plugs and the ignition to properly transfer a spark to the plugs.
- Order: Make sure to properly connect the spark plugs in the order listed on the spark plug wires. This can be done by checking the wires for numbers or color-coding.
Best Spark Plug Wire Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: NGK Spark Plug Wire Set
NGK’s brand of spark plug wires come with variable pitch winding and an ultra-low resistance level. They provide a powerful spark to the spark plugs for an instant and powerful start. The wires are also fitted with positive locking and are corrosion resistant. Their stainless steel terminal ends fit tightly and securely to the spark plugs to ensure a quick and vibration-free ignition.
One feature we found useful is each wire is numbered for an easy-to-see and use identification system for each spark plug. Each one is also color-coded so you can tell which wire is connected to a certain spark plug. The wiring is made up of a high-temperature silicone jacket that resists moisture, oil, gas, and cracking in the extreme heat of up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.
While these ignition plug wires make for a great replacement for OEM wires, we did find the plug boots may not cover the sleeves of the engine head properly. This could lead to dirt and water entering the plug sleeves. Another downside is they are on the more expensive side.
Best Value: Denso Spark Plug Wire Set
Denso’s premium spark plug wire sets are identical to the OEM style fashioned to most vehicles. That makes them familiar and easy to install after you remove the old ones. The major difference is the materials, such as the conductor wire, that make up these replacement wires. These are much more durable than the standard wires that come with your car.
The wires are designed with a fiberglass braid that quickly and efficiently sends a spark to your spark plugs. The housing for the copper wiring and cabling is sturdy and thick to help prevent against punctures and extreme heat or cold. Another bonus is the wires are a bit cheaper than the exact matching set found in your vehicle.
A drawback to the Denso spark plug wire is it can be a little too short to reach the OEM routing clips. However, you should be able to stretch them so they fit properly. You may also find it difficult to latch onto the gasket on the engine side.
Honorable Mention: ACDelco Professional Spark Plug Wire Set
ACDelco’s professional spark plug wire set fits properly to the spark plug and ignition, providing your car with the maximum voltage needed to start running and continue running throughout your drive. The specifically designed distributor boot shape and materials provide a secure fit, easy installation, and watertight seal.
The corrosion resistance feature helps prevent any kind of acidic buildup while the terminal design improves spark plug retention and assists you with installing each wire correctly. Plus, the insulation acts as a high dielectric solution, keeping the copper in excellent shape with each mile. Also, the coil retainer prevents fretting and micro-arcing in the material.
A word of caution to anyone removing them yourself: the wires may end up pushing so tightly to the end of the spark plugs that they are nearly impossible to remove without separating the metal connector from inside the wire boot. You may need to have them professionally removed when you replace the wires. Another issue you may find is the wires can be a bit too short in some cars.
- We recommend having your vehicle information on hand when shopping for new plug wires or spark plugs. This will ensure you’re selecting the right wires for your vehicle. You can find the information in your owner’s manual or vehicle registration card.
- Since you’re swapping out the spark plug wires, it’s wise to also replace your spark plugs too. Faulty wiring can damage the plugs, so switching out the plugs at the same time will help maintain the life of your engine.
- Consider inspecting your spark plug wires every so often to make sure they are in good condition. Finding any signs of fraying could lead to faulty starts, misfires, or other damage in the engine.
- You can use a dielectric compound to coat the wire connection and the insulator where the boot sits. The compound resists the effects of corrosion and prevents the boots from sticking to the insulator, which can harm the wires and eventually cause them to break during future maintenance.
Q: How often should I change the spark plug wires?
A: We recommend changing your spark plug wires every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. However, this also depends on the kind of driving you to do. But if you race cars or take your vehicle off-road, you may want to consider changing out the wires sooner. You will want to inspect the spark plug wires often to make sure they are in good shape.
Q: How can I tell if a spark plug wire is going bad?
A: There are several signs that your spark plug wires need to be swapped out for a new pair, including hesitation or backfiring during acceleration, decreased acceleration, a rough idle, charring on the end of the wire that connects into the plugs, a significant drop in fuel economy, or difficulty starting your engine.
Q: Is there a proper way to connect the wires?
A: You will need to correctly route the wires to the appropriate spark plug to ensure your engine starts properly. Misrouting the wire could create a misfire in the engine, which is both annoying, loud, and startling. To help guide you on the correct order, the wires will be labeled or color-coded.
For anyone who needs a good-quality set of spark plug wires, consider the NGK Spark Plug Wire Set. They provide a powerful spark to the plugs for an instant and powerful start.
For those who want to save a bit of cash and still get a top-rated wiring kit, check out the Denso Spark Plug Wire Set.