Ignition Coil: Problems and Repair

Car problems can be frustrating. Often, you might feel that your car is not working as well as it should be, but it’s difficult to pin down the exact cause. Problems with your car’s ignition coil are just some of those irritating problems that can be difficult to recognize or diagnose. Often, the symptoms might seem like small irritations that are easy to dismiss. However, it’s important to recognize potential issues in order to prevent them from causing further damage to your car’s other components.

What is an Ignition Coil?

The ignition coil in your car is what’s responsible for providing power to the spark plugs. It’s really just an electrical transformer, transferring power from one circuit to another. The coil itself will build up energy to 50,000 to 75,000 volts in order to create the spark that is needed to ignite the spark plugs. The spark plugs then ignite the fuel and air mixture in the cylinder chamber, which in turn provide the power the car needs to run.

What are Some Symptoms of a Failing Ignition Coil?

When your ignition coil begins to fail, there are certain signs. Usually, your car will begin to misfire, jerking sharply while it’s running due to one of the spark plugs not receiving enough voltage to properly ignite. Other signs and symptoms include a lack of power to the engine, loud engine noises, rough idling, the check engine light flashing, a drop in RPM’s while accelerating, and exhaust being released irregularly. If the problem gets bad enough, then your car may not start at all.

How to Test Your Ignition Coil?

Testing your ignition coil for problems is a relatively easy process. If you are familiar with how to use an ohmmeter, a meter that can test for electric resistance, then you can use this device to easily test your ignition coils. You want to first determine what your car’s ohm values should normally be. You can find this information in your user’s manual or by doing a little bit of research online. This number should fall between 0.4 and 2 ohms. If it reads anything higher or lower, then you have a problem. If you aren’t comfortable testing it yourself or you don’t have an ohmmeter, then take it into your local repair shop to have them test it for you.

How can You Fix Your Ignition Coil?

If there is a problem with your ignition coil, then you need to replace it as soon as possible in order to avoid the risk of damaging other components in your car. Problems with the ignition coil can lead to problems with your car’s PCM, or powertrain control module, resulting in even more costly repairs. When the coil is replaced, you want to make sure that the new coil is compatible with your car. Also, double check your connections. If there is corrosion on any of the connectors, then you may experience coil failures in the future.

If your car won’t start, misfires, or just simply doesn’t run as smoothly as it used to, then you may have a problem with your car’s ignition coils. The good news is that there is an easy way to diagnose these problems with the ohmmeter. You can perform this test yourself or call in a professional to help. If caught early, you can prevent a simple ignition coil problem from turning into a more expensive powertrain control module problem.