Ignition Control Module Replacement Cost in 2023​

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National average cost of a an Ignition Control Module Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is an ignition control module and how does it work?

An ignition control module is a small onboard computer used in many older vehicles to control when the spark plugs engage or “fire” inside the engine. This control module relies on data from components such as the crankshaft position sensor, camshaft position sensor, and throttle position sensor to determine the proper timing for the spark plugs and to optimize engine efficiency and power. Many newer vehicles do not have an ignition module. Instead, spark plug timing is controlled by the engine control module (ECM).


How do I know if my vehicle needs the ignition control module replaced?

If the ignition control module malfunctions, the symptoms that result can mirror those of the components that it controls, namely the coil(s), distributor cap, spark plugs, and spark plug wires. If your vehicle has an ignition module that goes bad, you might notice the following symptoms:

Your engine sputters, lacks power, and/or stalls

The engine backfires or afterfires (backfires once it has been shut off)

Your vehicle will not start

Your vehicle fails an emissions test

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How is a an Ignition Control Module Replacement done?

An ignition control module is usually located somewhere in the engine compartment, either on the engine, the distributor assembly, or the firewall (the panel that separates the engine from the passenger compartment).

To replace the ignition control module, a technician will take the following general steps:

  • Disconnect the negative battery terminal to cut power to the vehicle
  • Remove any shields, guards, covers, or ducts necessary to gain access to the engine control module
  • Disconnect the electrical wiring from the ignition control module
  • Unfasten the mounting screws or hardware
  • Remove the module and install a new on in its place
  • Re-attach the mounting screws and reconnect the wires
  • Reinstall the shields, guards, covers, or ducts that were removed
  • Most ignition control modules do not need to be programmed after installation, but a technician will need to verify that it is working properly by running and test driving your vehicle. The location of the module and wires on some vehicles require access from below the vehicle and can make the service more difficult to perform.

Other questions customers ask

Is an ECU the same as an ignition control module?
No, the ECU (Engine Control Unit) or ECM (Engine Control Module) is a computer that controls a variety of engine functions, including timing, air/fuel mixture, and more. It interprets data from an array of sensors and uses that information to help your engine run efficiently and at peak performance. An ignition control module, on the other hand, guides only the ignition timing on (mostly) older engines.
What causes ignition module failure?
Heat is the most common contributor to ignition control module failure. Not only does the engine compartment contain a good deal of heat from the engine and exhaust system, but, on many older vehicles, an aging distributor assembly can cause excessive heat and affect the module.
Where is the ignition control module located?
An ignition control module is often mounted on the distributor assembly near the back of an engine. It might also be located elsewhere on the engine or on the firewall that separates the engine compartment from the passenger compartment.

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