Spark Plug Advice

Hello Everyone,

I have a 2003 Toyota Tacoma 2WD (4 cyl. 2.4l) and I need to change the spark plugs. I am having a hard time deciding which plugs to use–brand? Platinum or not? I am leaning toward NGK for the brand but I am not positive about the model.

On the Toyota Tacoma forums people have recommended NGK V Power plugs (non-platinum) but the G Power plugs seems to get better reviews on various sites (they have a platinum electrode core and platinum electrode tip) and are only $1 more ($3.39/ each). NGK says all of their plugs have essentially a copper core–the V power uses more nickle.

Anyone have any suggestions? Which NGK’s should I use or does someone have another suggestion entirely?

Thanks in advance.


Use the ones recommended in the owner’s manual that came with the truck. Probably NGK platinum.

Agree with @mleich.

My GM And Chrysler Cars All Have A Placard (Sticker) Under The Hood That Has The Specific OEM Spark Plug Requirement. It’s In The Manual, Too. That’s What I Use And Never Have Had A Single Problem.

As a matter of fact, my GM cars spec 100,000 mile AC Iridium plugs and the Chrysler OEM plugs, I think are platinum 100,000 mile plugs, and when I change them at 100,000 miles I find that they are still in pretty good condition and the gap has not widened so much as to cause a problem, but it’s time.

Why experiment with something else ?

Oh, and some folks on this site say to never leave the plugs in for as long as 100,000 miles as they can become stuck and will do possible damage on removal. That may be good advice on some makes, but on my GM and Chrysler cars (after having changed many, many sets, the plugs always loosen and turn right out, clean.

I remember this being an issue on many Volkswagen products and it was on my Chevy Luv (Isuzu). I’m not sure if Toyotas have problems in that area, though.

What replacement interval (miles) is recommended for your vehicle and how many miles on the plugs, now ?

Having any spark plug related issues with performance ?


The recommendations for plugs in the manual is either DENSO K16R–U11or NGK BKR5EYA–11. The NGK plug is the V-power plug (non-platinum). The Denso is also (non-platinum). Even though it is not the recommendation would I be better off moving up to Platinum (NGK G Power)? Or is there really no point?

The spark plug replacement interval is 30,000 miles. I do not think the plugs have ever been changed. I recently purchased the vehicle so I cannot say for sure–limited maintenance records were available. The vehicle has 122,000 miles. I have heard about issues with plug removal on other vehicles but I have not heard anything specifically about Toyota. Hopefully not. ; )

In terms of performance issues. Yes, the engine is showing the usual signs that the plugs need to be changed.

I would use exactly the plug recommended. Contrary to what they ads say, you will notice no difference with a different type of plug, such as platinum. Unless they don’t work as well.

Thanks for the info./advice.

The Denso and NGK plug come off the same line at the same factory. If the store you go to has one but not the other no biggie, just stick with the factory recommended plugs.

Thanks for the info., Uncle Turbo!

Stick with either NGK or Denso. They are both OEM providers for Toyota. In fact on my 05 4runner…The left back had NGK plugs and the right bank had Denso plugs from the factory.

Platinum plugs last longer…NOTHING more. You’ll get the best performance and gas mileage from the standard OEM plugs recommended. If you don’t want to change the plugs less often then use Platinum or Iridium.

And there is ZERO difference between the NGK or Denso plugs you buy at your local parts store or the ones you buy at the dealer.

NGK #4996 is an oem replacement and is an Irium plug this is my first choice .

plugs make very little difference. walmart copper plugs are what i go with and have had zero proglems. they may be labeled autolite or something.

I’ve seen conventional NGK or Denso plugs (can’t remember which) in a Honda with 110K on them.
They were clean but [electrodes] fairly worn down.
Car had a light miss on low rpm acceleration.

I’m in the group that sticks with the factory type plugs.

Based on my own experience with Toyotas, including 24 years with Toyota pickups, I strongly recommend using only NGK or Nippon-Denso. Sparkplugs are not the same, and I can tell you that Toyota 4-bangers do not run well on other brands.

The platinum and iridium plugs do have some advantages besides just lasting longer in some engines.

The platinum and iridium have finer points on them, this concentrates the corona and insures a more consistent and hotter spark. That used to be an old racers trick, to file down the electrodes to a point, but with iron and copper tipped plugs, they didn’t last very long, but for racing, long plug life was not a consideration.

The platinum and iridium electrodes are much finer and still last for a long time because they don’t erode from the spark very fast. Not all engines need this extra intensity of spark because fuel injection tends to spray the gas in a finer mist (smaller droplets) with more consistency in the air/fuel mixture. But engines are being pushed to the limits for performance so sometimes the newer plugs are needed and come from the factory with them installed.

NGK and Denso plate the threads of their spark plugs so they won’t seize when left in their for ten plus years. The Copper/Nickel/Iron plugs may not have this plating and could seize if left in too long. For these plugs, you should use an anti-seize compound on the threads. There may also be some brands of platinum or iridium plugs that do not plate the threads so look for that on the other brands.

Bottom line, you can use platinum/iridium plugs in engines that came with iron/copper plugs. They will last much longer but won’t improve your performance. But in engines that specify platinum or iridium plugs, you must use them or performance could suffer.