How to Tell if the Ignition Coil is Bad (Symptoms Of A Bad Or Failing Ignition Coil)

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Get solutions to ignition coil problems. When starting a car and there is little or no electric spark could be a potential ignition coil problems. Typically, a sound ignition system generates a very high voltage from the vehicle 12-volt battery; then transmit to each sparkplug so as to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the car engine combustion chambers. Hence, the failure to get this work optimally can be as a result of having an ignition coil problems. An ignition coil is a component that produces or generate a high voltage. The function of the ignition coil is to transfer battery’s low voltage to enable it to create an electric spark in the spark plugs to cause combustion.

An ignition coil can suddenly develop fault mainly when the spark plug ignition cable is worn out. If you are an experienced driver, you should be able to notice when these problems start manifesting because with a bad sparkplug ignition cable, there will be an increased in resistance. A bad ignition coil comes with some signs. Once you start experiencing any of the signs that will listed here, then you should get the ignition coil or a related issue fixed.

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How To Tell If Ignition Coils Is Bad | Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ignition Coil

A bad ignition coil does not stay too long before it is detected. The symptoms are very conspicuous.

Here are 6 ignition coil problems and symptoms

  • Check Engine Light comes on

Issues like this cannot be seen in a normal ignition coil. However, check engine light coming up can be caused or linked to other issues around the engine system. Check engine light is a usual suspect. It is one of the common symptoms of a bad or failing ignition coil. When issues like this happens, combustion can’t occur. Check engine light coming up can be detected when you use a computer or device that can be used to scan and detect faults.

  • Car not starting

When an ignition coil is bad or is getting worn out, one of the problems drivers will encounter is difficulty in starting the car. A bad ignition coil will not have the capacity to transfer voltage to the car engine combustion chambers. If your car fails to start, first check it is not a battery problem. Anything outside battery fault, could be caused by a bad ignition coil or weak sparkplugs.

  • Engine misfiring and rough idle

Engine misfiring can cause performance issues in a car. There are several other problems that could lead to engine misfiring such as having a bad spark plug or wire. An engine misfiring can be caused by bad spark plugs or as a result of an imbalanced air/fuel mixture. When an engine misfires, the vehicle engine skips over one of the processes of its combustion cycle thereby causing the engine to run rough, jerk and misfires. Apart from these other problems causing engine misfiring and rough idling, one known cause for an engine misfiring is having a bad ignition coil.

Replacing the bad ignition coil should be done immediately. Managing a worn-out ignition coil which has resulted in engine misfire can cause more damages to the engine. Aside that your life is at risk too.

  • A reduction in power( loss of power)

This symptom is clear enough to tell that the ignition coil is bad. Due to the loss of power, an electric spark cannot be created. A bad ignition coil will not have the capacity to transfer battery’s low voltage to enable it create an electric spark in the spark plugs to cause combustion.

  • ·         A reduced or poor fuel economy

With a bad ignition coil, there is a drastic reduction on the fuel economy of the car. When this issue occurs, there is insufficient power to circulate, which will make the car not only jerk but, consume much fuel.

  • ·         Vehicle backfiring

Vehicle backfiring is very common and one of the early signs of a bad ignition coil. Backfiring happens when there is an unused fuel in the exhaust system. When a vehicle backfires, it usually has a strange sound. At times, it is accompanied by flames. Once you notice, check to see if the ignition coil is still intact. Sometimes, vehicle backfiring occurs when the exhaust is leaking, bad spark plug or a damaged engine belt.

What causes ignition coils to keep going bad?

Ignition coil does not get damaged or get worn out quickly. Some last longer than others but with time, the efficiency will reduce especially, when it has covered at least 100,000 miles or more. Frequent replacement of ignition coil may be due to bad spark plug ignition cable or not using the right size of a spark plug. With a bad spark plug ignition cable, there is an increased resistance which can cause the ignition coil to get damaged speedily. This is because, with the excessive voltage, it creates a very high amount of heat which melts the coil’s wire insulation. Some other factors that can cause an ignition coil to keep going bad are, vibration, or caused by engine performance issues on the secondary side of the ignition system.

How to prevent ignition coil failure?

Ignition coils comes in various sizes. It is important to use the right size and make sure your vehicle spark plug ignition cable is in good condition. To prevent ignition coil from failing, do the following.

  • Spark plug gapping: To prevent a reoccurrence, use the right spark plug size. It comes in different shapes and sizes. To enable you achieve this, check the spark plug manufacturer’s gap specifications. This is because, when there is an excessive gap in the spark plug, it will cause an ignition coil to burn faster. It uses higher voltage to cover the gap and create spark inside of the cylinder.

Knowing the right spark plug gap will prevent you from changing your ignition regularly.              

  • Leaking valve covers or moisture intrusion.

To prevent your ignition coils from going bad too often, make sure there is no leakage at the top or bottom. The ignition coil gets damaged when substances like oil leaks from the valve cover gasket. The leakage occurs when the seal between the valve cover and that spark plug tube gets weak thereby causing oil to leak in and fill up around the spark plug and ignition coil. This can lead to spark plug and ignition coil failure. Water intrusion can damage an ignition coil when the AC is leaking. It leaks or drips directly into the ignition coils, filling up spark plug holes with water.

Conclusion on How To Tell If Ignition Coils Is Bad (  ignition coil problems symptoms )

Once Ignition failure symptoms are detected, it should be fixed immediately to avoid further damages. Sometimes, the symptoms can be caused by a different issue. What you should do is to run a proper diagnostic on the engine system. It is the best way to ascertain the actual problem. Issues like engine misfiring should be worked upon immediately. The engine misfiring may be caused by some other underlying factors. If your exhaust is leaking, fix or replace it.

Most of the ignition coils are durable. Nonetheless, it should be replaced once it has reached the life span stated in the manufacturers’ guild. Ignition coils get worn out due to several reasons such as excessive heat, moisture and bad spark plug and plug wire issues.

It is important you use a scan device to know exactly what the fault is. Although the symptoms listed here are common ignition coil problems, but knowing the exact cause and fixing the issue is a better option.

After running a diagnostic around the engine control units and everything seems to be working well, then it is time to change your plug spark wire, clean or get a new fuel injector.

Read Next: 4 Step guide on How to Disable Check Engine Light Permanently

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