Get to Know Your Engine Coil

The engine coil was invented in the early 1900s and remains a critical component of your ignition system. Your engine coil is the component that produces the thousands of volts of electricity required to create a spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber of your engine. Without an engine coil, your engine would not have a way to burn the fuel that makes your car run. However, although it is an important component, it is only a single component of a complex ignition system.

What Does the Engine Coil Do?

The engine coil is often referred to as the ignition coil, and most professional mechanics simply refer to it as the coil. The engine coil consists of two coils of wire encased in a metal or plastic canister. The coil converts 12 volt power, provided by the battery, to over 30,000 volts. This high voltage is then delivered to the engine spark plugs in order to create an electric spark hot enough to ignite the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

Does an Engine Need More than One Coil?

In the early 1900s, a coil was required for each spark plug in the engine. As the coils were refined, they were consolidated down to a single coil. When computers became part of an automobile ignition system in the 1980s, manufacturers returned to the concept of using multiple coils. At the same time, coils became smaller and more powerful.

Does the Engine Coil Require Maintenance?

An engine coil does not require regularly scheduled maintenance. When your coil has a problem, the only thing that you can do is to replace it. However, because of the computers that have become present in all vehicles in recent years, it can be a challenge to know if your coil has a problem or of your coil is malfunctioning because your computer is giving the coil bad data. If you do have a bad coil, you need to replace it as soon as possible. A bad coil can make other engine components malfunction or fail.

Is There a Better Engine Coil Than the One Installed by the Manufacturer?

If you want your engine to produce a little more power, you can get a more powerful aftermarket high performance coil. High performance coils can produce over 80,000 volts. This increased voltage produces a hotter spark at the spark plug. This hotter spark will more efficiently ignite the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

As you can see, your engine coil is a very important component, and although many improvements have been made through the years, the fundamental design of the coil remains the same. If you discover that your engine is starting to run rough, one of the first things that you should check is the coil, because a bad coil can have an adverse effect on other engine components as well. If you desire to get an aftermarket high performance coil, you will need to do lots of research concerning the acquisition of the proper coil for your car. High performance auto shops can help you to locate the proper high performance coil.