A lot of shops act like there’s some top secret copyright that they need to protect from prying eyes and or all the teams AT OMG IT’S RACE WARRZZZZ. They worry that their secrets may get out like: what parts they use, what proven techniques they have, whose oil they recommend, psi in their tires…… you get the picture. We aren’t like that. We want our customers and everyone out there to have access to the best practices available at any given point so that they can make the best, most informed decisions about their vehicle.
When thinking about what the subject of our first blog should be, it was blatantly obvious, because it’s a suggestion we give each and every customer who brings a car into our shop for mods and tuning.
Next Step Colder Plugs
What does “next step colder” mean when it comes to spark plugs? Well, every spark plug has a heat level that is optimized for how your car was built from the factory. It runs at a very specific temperature that is in sync with different variables of your car. Things like airflow, compression, fuel load, timing, boost levels, power, exhaust flow, etc. all work together in conjunction with your spark plugs to ensure that they work at a very specific temperature. This temperature is incredibly important because your spark plugs dissipate their heat directly into your cylinder head. When you add power, the plugs run hotter than they would in a stock vehicle and that ends up being more heat in your cylinder head. Hence why you want to go next step colder on your plugs.
So, just like your vehicle manufacturer has chosen plugs that are optimized for your vehicles stock performance, companies like NGK have developed “next step colder” plugs that are optimized for performance adding mods and less heat. There are even multiple steps of colder plugs available based on how much more power you are adding over stock. NGK has a great write-up on their site going over their development of and applications for next step colder plugs as well.
So when can you install next step colder plugs into your car? Are you safe to install them yourself? Which next step colder plugs are made for your car? Do you need a tune once you’ve installed next step colder plugs? All great questions!
Next step colder plugs should be added when you make changes that result in more power. These changes can include forced induction (turbocharging / supercharging / procharging), nitrous, compression changes, fuel type changes, turbo-back exhaust systems, etc.
Yes you’re OK to install next step colder plugs yourself, but it is INCREDIBLY important that they are gapped correctly and you use anti-seize (careful not to overtighten and be certain to torque to manufacturers spec). I’ve included a list of our most commonly modified and tuned vehicles below, along with their specific next step colder plugs and proper gapping. So, yes you can install the plugs yourself and then drive your vehicle to the shop for tuning.
You do not need a tune once you’ve installed the next step colder plugs. We recommend it so that we can fully optimize your power gains from your modifications, but it is not necessary. We suggest that you get the plugs prior to the tune so that we are running at a cooler temperature and maximizing your power during the tuning process. If you’ve already gotten a tune and would like to switch over to next step colder plugs you are not required to get a brushup tune. For optimal performance the tune CAN be brushed up and made better once they are installed. With the next step colder plugs power delivery is more consistent and repeatable, the chart isn’t as choppy and generally a bit more power can be had.
Here’s our most common vehicles and their next step colder plugs:
- Audi RS3 – NGK Race Plug 4654
- BMW N54 / BMW N55 – NGK 97506
- BMW S55 – 97506
- Ford Raptor (3.5) – NGK SP542
- GM LS Motors (naturally aspirated) – NGK 3689
- GM LS Motors (forced induction) – NGK 3690
- GM LT Direct Injection (naturally aspirated) – NGK 6509
- GM LT Direct Injection (forced induction) – NGK 6510
- Infinity G35 / Nissan 350Z – NGK 2309
- Infinity G37 / Nissan 370Z / Skyline GTR R35 – NGK 93026
- Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ (2013+) / Subaru WRX (2015+) – NGK 93026
- Subaru WRX (2006 – 2014) / Subaru STi (2004+) – NGK 2309
- Toyota Supra GR / BMW B58 – NGK 94201
- Ford Mustang 5.0 – NGK 6510
- Dodge Hellcat / Hellcat Redeye / Jeep Trackhawk / Ram TRX – NGK 6510
We maintain a stock of each of these plugs in-house or can get them the same day. Give us a call prior to coming down to pick them up and we will have them ready for you!
Interested in a consultation for having us work on your next build? Need to get on the calendar for a dyno protune? Questions about parts pricing or availability? Submit an info request here.
To schedule maintenance, tuning, repairs, purchase parts or talk to one of our experts call 303.699.2000.