Best spark plugs for Toyota: Tacoma, 4Runner, RAV4

by | Auto Tools, Best Of (Cars), Japanese Cars

Recently, I’ve got quite a few people asking me what spark plugs would be the best for their Toyota. There are also quite a few people who are unfamiliar with what’s the right gap either.

So I decided to simply write a quick post on the best spark plugs for Toyotas – from Tacoma to the 4Runner and Rav4. As the rule goes, it’s best to stick as close to OEM as possible.

If you want to be 100% OE, you can go with these genuine Toyota plugs.

In reality, these are Denso manufacture. The exact part number is 3381 K20HR-U11 and it fits V6 Tacoma 4.0 or 4Runner (2004-2014 models). These are copper spark plugs – cheaper, but not as long-lasting as platinum or iridium.

NGK is a good OE alternative if you want something more long-lasting.

This NGK spark plug is the newer iridium type that will last longer than the original Toyota. Fits like a glove on most Tacoma, 4Runner and RAV4 model years.

If you want platinum for the RAV4, I recommend you stick to NGK G-Power BKR6EGP. I think these are even more optimal for this specific Toyota model.

NGK IX Iridium

Most long-lasting spark plug replacement for various Toyota models. Awesome all around.

But why Denso or NGK?

Most Japanese cars come with either of these two brands as an OEM. I think NGK is installed on more vehicles, but correct me if I’m wrong.

Some Toyota models are a very curious case, however. For example, the Toyota Tacoma 4L.

If you open it up, you’ll see that your spark plugs are half Denso (3x) and half NGK (3x). This is what confuses some people, I think.

In reality, that’s great. This means you can freely choose any of the two brands without worrying whether the plugs will be just like your OEM.

A few recommendations I have for the best spark plugs for Toyota: Rav4, Tacoma 4.0, 4Runner...

What about the gap on these spark plugs for Toyota?

This is another little detail quite a few people don’t know about.

The thing with iridium and platinum spark plugs is, they have very delicate tips. Manufacturers get them out pre-gapped to match your specific application because of that. If you tinker around with the tips too much, you can damage them beyond repair.

Toyota engines have two different gap recommendations:

  • First generation 2RZ-FE, 3RZ-FE and 5VZ-FE engines: The gap is .043”

  • Second generation 2TR-FE and 1GR-FE engines: The gap is .039” to .043”

In the latter case, this means that some manufacturers hit anywhere between those two values.

If you look at the NGK G-Power I recommend for your RAV4, it’s set at 0.039” by factory design.

The .043” gap is common with other Japanese vehicles too – like most of Nissan’s fleet.

On the topic of how to actually change the spark plugs on a Toyota…

Here’s a very good video. The guy does a full demonstration on spark plug replacement, in this case on a 2005-2015 second gen Tacoma:

Let’s head to the reviews of the best spark plugs for Toyota vehicles.

Best spark plugs for Toyota Tacoma & 4Runner:
NGK LFR6AIX-11

Best iridium spark plugs for Toyota Tacoma 4.0 and 4Runner: NGK

These actually fit Tundra, Camry and Sienna too.

The simple reason why I recommend them is because they’re iridium NGKs. There’s nothing more long-lasting than this combo. NGK are being shy with their 50-60k miles longevity estimation.

I’ve seen some people drive more than 90k miles with the Iridium IX.

NGK’s proprietary trivalent metal plating helps these buddies deal with common issues like corrosion and anti-seizing.

Similar to most modern plugs, these also come with corrugated ribs. Translated into a benefit, this means they prevent flashovers from happening.

To sum it up, these are the longest lasting spark plugs you can get for your Toyota Tacoma 6l or other models like the RAV4 and 4Runner. They come pre-gapped at .043”, as OEM specifications require.

They’re a little bit more expensive, though. Typical for most iridium plugs – so if you have an issue with that, move on to the next choice.

Best direct OE spark plug replacement for Toyotas:
Genuine Toyota (Denso plug)

Best original spark plug replacement for Tacomas and 4Runners: Denso

As I mentioned, this is the Denso 3381 K20HR-U11 part.

Unlike the NGK, these are made of copper as a material. This means better conductivity, but ultimately you’ll have to change them sooner than the NGK.

The general lifetime of copper spark plugs is somewhere around 20-40k miles. Double that for the IX Iridium as I pointed out earlier.

These come with Denso’s U-Grove design. In short, the ground electrode is manufactured in such a way, that it gives the flame a groove to expand in. What happens is a better, fuller combustion process thanks to the reduced flame dissipation.

Neat, huh?

Other notable features include the five rib insulator – similar to NGK, it prevents flashovers.

To improve over the typical copper construction, Denso has put some purified alumina powder insulation elements. As I mentioned, this means high-class conductivity, but also additional durability in the spark plug.

A great option for the RAV4 Toyota:
NGK G Power

For Toyota RAV4, my spark plug recommendation would be the G Power from NGK.

Platinum spark plugs are right in the middle between copper and platinum ones as I’ve explained previously. NGK’s G Power is an instant classic in the platinum department.

Nothing that much to say about these – the general design and construction quality are both similar to how the IX Iridium looks and behaves like.

You have the same corrugated ribs, the same enhanced metal plating for more durability and resistance to elements…Generally, same spark plugs, different tip.

You can expect around 40 to 50k miles out of the G Power series for you RAV4, be it 2006, 2007, 2008…Whatever year make you decided to pick up.

If you want to treat yourself, switch these for the iridium plug I reviewed above. If you’re OK with middle of the road longevity, stick to these. Can’t go wrong with them, really.

A few closing words

I hope this article helped you at least a little bit. Spark plugs aren’t that complicated, but the sheer variety of them, and changes in engines and models can get frustrating.

I see some people going for Bosch etc., other spark plug brands. However, I believe for Toyota cars – be it SUVs, passenger cars or crossovers, Japanese manufacturers like NGK or Denso are the only suitable choice. And if you look at online communities, other people seem to think so too.

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!