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Platinum Spark Plugs?

I have a very honest and skilled mechanic but want to make sure this advice is okay, since it isn’t a Subaru shop. My '99 Subaru Legacy needs a tune-up (144K mi). It has platinum spark plugs, which make the tune-up incredibly expensive. He said regular spark plugs would work fine, but they won’t last as long. He’s willing to do either platinum or regular, knowing money is tight.

Do any of you know if this is okay for Subarus?

Use the exact plugs (brand and model #) specified by Subaru. No need to use different ones. If Subaru specifies platinum, use them. They aren’t ‘incredibly expensive’.

The tune-up is over $400 because of them. Isn’t that pretty pricey for a tune-up? (I checked with a Subaru dealership-- they charge around $500 for the same tune-up.

I agree with texases. If Subaru specifies platinum plugs then use them. They last longer than regular plugs anyway.

I agree 100% with texases.
The engineers who designed your car tested many different types of spark plugs before specifying the ones that the car was equipped with when it was delivered.

While I admire your mechanic’s desire to save some money for you, his advice is short-sighted. If you use any spark plugs other than what is specified in your Owner’s Manual, you are likely to have driveability problems and you might even experience reduced power output as well as reduced gas mileage.

Don’t “second guess” the people who designed and built the car.
Have the mechanic use the same brand, and the same type of spark plug that Subaru specifies for the car.

Okay, makes sense. I’ve gotten great mileage with this car (30 mpg consistently!) and sure don’t want to mess with that. I also need to keep it running for a long time.

Thanks for your help, folks-- I appreciate it.

The platinum plugs cost about $3-5 each, $10 for the super-fancy ones (which may not be original equipment for your Subie). They are not why the tuneup is $400. How much does he say the tune up would be with regular plugs? I’m starting to be concerned about your mechanic.

He said the platinum plugs it takes cost around $25 each. Subaru confirmed that.

This guy saves me tons of money. I have no concerns whatsoever that he’d ever overcharge me.

Wow, $25? I can’t find 'em that expensive…but this is small potatos if he’s done well by you. By ‘Subaru’, the parts department, I assume? So that means platinums are called for. I’d use them, in that case.

I’m sorry, $25/plug is still bugging me. Do you have your owner’s manual? Does it list the brand and model number for the plug? The ones at Autozone are almost all under $10 each.

I appreciate your efforts!

Here it is:

You need to look around some more. I just priced spark plugs for a 1999 Legacy (both 2.2L and 2.5L) online platinum plugs run $2.99 on the low side for Bosch Platinums to $13.50 for NGK Iridiums.

Any mechanic that claims that platinum spark plugs will somehow cause the price of a tune up to increase by a couple hundred dollars either full of BS or is incompetent. It’s no secret that platinum plugs have been OEM equipment on most cars made in the last 15 years or so. You’d be hard pressed to find a car these days that didn’t come from the factory with platinum or Iridium plugs. They are nothing new.

If your mechanic is recommending those, get a new mechanic ASAP. Those are just gimmick spark plugs, and your “mechanic” is taking advantage of you.

I agree. Walk away. I was just on some Subby forum sites, and they all seem to like NGK’s. I use these in my Toyota’s exclusively, since they are the supplier Toyota uses for factory and dealer plugs. Check the owner’s manual and see what plugs they list for the car. I’ll bet they are NGK’s, and those are available everywhere in platinum for under $10 apiece.

I agree with FoDaddy.
If your mechanic is recommending those Pulstar spark plugs, then he is either incompetent or he is just a thief.

These plugs have no advantage over the original equipment platinum plugs (probably NGK brand), and are likely to produce driveability problems for you.

Why pay more money and wind up with lower gas mileage, less power, and less money in your wallet?
Your mechanic is highly suspect, IMHO.

Both ACDelco and Motorcraft platinum plugs sell in the 9 - 10 dollar range.
Now, irridium plugs are another animal.

YOU call Auto Zone, O’Reilley’s, and Car Quest and ask. You must also provide engine size ( which you didn’t here so my prices are average for both the 2.2 or 2.5 )

Spark plug type and reletive life are a ‘‘pay me now or pay me later’’ situation anyway.
If you put in cheaper plugs that get replaced more often,
Or if you spend more for plugs that last longer.

Hence the advice from all to stick with o.e. type.
If this is your first tune up at 144 k…DUH , go with the well proven o.e.

I appreciate your help, folks, but there’s no need to insult this guy.

I knew I needed new brakes soon (two shops gave the same measurement). He kept saying, “You can get another month out of them.” He told me when it was finally needed. I got them done today (for $50 less than anyone else quoted), and I asked if I needed a transmission service in the near future. He checked it and test drove it with me and said “It’s great. You don’t need anything done to it.” So–he’s not a cheat.

He was perfectly fine with using less expensive plugs and said it wouldn’t matter. Subaru said it needs the expensive plugs.

He said the same thing-- more expensive plugs last a lot longer.

(It’s not the first tune-up. Jeez, why the DUH?)

I am guessing that ken green said “DUH” because if you’ve had a tune up before, you probably had the plugs replaced then and should know what to expect this time…

Agreed no need to insult the guy, I think you are better of investing in the plugs recommended for the car if you can swing it. Maybe ask if he could cut the price a little, but when doing the plugs on my car I heard nothing but bad news for non oem (original Equipment manufacture) I think it will be money well spent.