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Faulty Ignition Coil - Signs And Symptoms

By Expert Author: Nate Rodney

The ignition coil is a vital part of a vehicle's ignition system. It amplifies the voltage produced by the battery enabling the spark plugs to fire. A well-functioning ignition coil is essential for the optimal performance of the spark plugs. Conversely, a faulty one leads to failure of spark plugs. Before discussing the signs and symptoms of faulty ignition coil, let us see the common causes that could lead to its failure.

Causes of failure
Lack of proper maintenance and using spark plugs that are too old. Bad spark plugs often cause the failure.
Overheating also leads to failure. This is because its ability to carry electricity decreases drastically.
Normal wear and tear also leads to damage. This is because of the high voltage generated and as the voltage goes across all parts in the ignition system, it results in high wear and tear, which in turn results in ignition coil failure.

Signs and symptoms: When it is defective, you notice certain signs. They are as follows:

Starting trouble: If the ignition coil is completely dead, it is obvious that the vehicle won't start because the spark plugs need power at a high-voltage. This prevents the vehicle from starting, and leads to trouble.

Vehicle runs sluggish: A faulty ignition coil does not produce enough voltage that can create enough sparks. This weakens the combustion process making your car run sluggish.

Repeated spark plug misfires: If your vehicle is experiencing repeated spark plug failures, it is also a sign of faulty ignition coil. This sign requires immediate attention as it can damage the engine.

Poor fuel economy and noisy engine: Your car gives very less mileage. As the spark plugs do not get enough power, your car will have to consume more fuel. Your car may emit thick black smoke. Also, the car produces loud noise because the engine has to work harder as you accelerate.

Acceleration gets affected: When you accelerate the car, it might not go at a speed beyond 25-30 mph. It will not accelerate even if you try hard.

Test to check
To confirm that the ignition coil is problematic, follow these steps.
Run the vehicle for half an hour, and tap the ignition coil module. If the engine stops, the ignition coil has become faulty for sure.
Check the resistance using a multi-meter.
If the resistance is too high, it is a positive sign of failure. This is because, when the resistance is too high, the ignition system will have more load and has to struggle.
If the resistance is low, it leads to flow of a high amount of electricity, which might damage the ignition system.

Tips to reduce the failure
Ensure health of spark plugs: The spark plugs play an important role as part of the ignition system of your car. Make sure to get it checked periodically as recommended by manufacturer. Keep it clean and replace after the life period or if it is damaged, worn out, whichever is early.

Regular maintenance: Maintenance of your car can avoid the failure. Make sure to follow the user manual given by manufacturer.

Ignition coil is the energy generator to the engine of your car. The points discussed in this article are likely to help you spot a faulty one, and take necessary remedial steps.

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