The ignition coil is responsible for sending high voltage electricity to the spark plugs so that they can create sparks powerful enough to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine cylinders. The ignition coil first draws low voltage electricity from the battery before converting it to high voltage electricity that the spark plugs can use. This electricity may be sent to a distributor that evenly distributes the electric power among the spark plugs.
Within the ignition coil are two sets of windings: a primary and a secondary. The primary winding is a coil made of heavy wire and the secondary winding is a coil made of fine wire. Low voltage electricity from the battery flows through the primary winding. When it is time for the spark plugs to fire, the current is cut, which causes the electricity from the primary winding to “jump” onto the secondary winding. The fine wire in the secondary winding multiplies the voltage and allows the power to be strong enough to be used by the spark plugs.
Signs of a bad ignition coil
- Car won’t start
- Engine runs poorly
- Engine stalls
- Increased emissions/failed emissions test
- Lower fuel economy
- Check engine light illuminates
Ignition coil maintenance
If you notice any of the above issues, get your vehicle serviced by a car care professional as soon as you can. Your technician will first use a scan device to look for any trouble codes that may diagnose the issue quickly. They may also use a handheld scope to examine the ignition coil and determine if it needs replacement. A faulty ignition coil will always be replaced, however other engine components may have been damaged as well, so your technician will likely inspect the rest of the ignition system and engine components to ensure nothing else needs replacement.
The best way to get maintenance done on your ignition coil is to book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you’ll pay less than retail price on all car maintenance services.