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Types Of Ignition Coil For Your Car

Published by: Genson
Date of Publish:

An ignition coil is an induction coil found in your vehicle's ignition system. This coil converts the low voltage of the battery into thousands of volts required to generate an electrical crank, causing the ignition. An ignition coil is also referred to as a spark coil.

There may be only one ignition coil for each cylinder or set of cylinders in modern automobiles. Therefore, a distributor is not necessary. Because compression is used to ignite the air and fuel combination in diesel engines, these do not need an ignition system.

This article covers the types of ignition coils, their functions and significance, and the issues that might arise with an ignition coil.

How Does An Ignition System Work?

Every ignition system in a vehicle, except those used in diesel engines, is required to produce a powerful spark to traverse the space between the spark plugs. An ignition coil, which consists of two coils of wire tied around an iron core, is used to do this.

The primary coil will have the battery's 12 volts sent through it to create an electromagnet. The magnetic field dissipates when the car's ignition system cuts off the power supply.

A secondary coil is designed to take advantage of this dissipating magnetic field and transform its energy into voltages ranging from 15,000 to 25,000 volts.

To get the most power out of the air and fuel combination, the spark has to go off during the compression stroke at precisely the proper time. To manage the timing of the spark, engineers have used a variety of ways.

The first systems used completely mechanical distributors. After that came hybrid distributors, which were effectively low-end computers since they were equipped with solid-state switches and ignition control modules.

After that, engineers developed entirely electronic ignition systems for automobiles, the first of which was a type that did not need a distributor.

In today's modern automobiles, the ignition systems are known as coil-on-plug. In addition to enhancing the spark timing, these systems employ ignition coils modified to deliver a far more significant impact and create a hotter spark.

You can find more references at When do you need to replace the ignition coil, When the ignition coil goes bad, How much does ignition coil replacement cost, How to replace ignition coil Ford F150

Importance Of Ignition System In A Car

A vehicle may have problems starting or may not operate at all if the ignition system is not functioning correctly and precisely. The engine's performance will suffer due to worn spark plugs and faulty components in the ignition system.

These issues can result in a wide variety of issues with the engine, including difficulty starting the engine, misfiring, a lack of power, poor fuel economy, and even permanent damage if the problems are not addressed promptly.

Engine difficulties, which are brought on by malfunctioning ignition systems, may also cause harm to other vital components that are found in the car. Therefore, performing routine maintenance on the ignition system is necessary if one wants to guarantee the best functioning of the engine and, as a result, drive in a smooth and risk-free manner.  

A visual examination of the components of the ignition system must be undertaken to look for any symptoms of wear or failure at least once a year, and it should be immediately replaced if necessary. When it comes to spark plugs, one should check them and replace them at the intervals that the manufacturer advises of the car.

Again, considering how vital the ignition system is, routine maintenance is essential if one wants to get the most out of their engine and extend its life.

Types of Ignition Coils

The fundamental ideas behind the spark ignition system have remained unchanged for over a century. However, how the spark is generated and dispersed has undergone significant development due to technological advancements. Go to check How to check ignition coil with a multimeter

There are four primary categories of ignition coils, which are as follows:

1.      COP

The conventional ignition system sometimes referred to as a mechanical ignition system on occasion, is the sort of ignition system that has been around the longest. Since the beginning of the vehicle industry and particularly up until the 1970s.

On the other hand, they are made up of many mechanically movable elements, which means that the risk of wear and tear, malfunction, and failure is significantly increased.

Over time, the maximum spark energy might be reduced due to the anticipated breakdown of these ignition systems. This can lead to frequent engine issues such as misfires and higher emissions.

2.      EIC

The electronic type of ignition shares most of its properties with a conventional system. The word "Electronic" is in the name for a reason. The system is entirely controlled electronically, which is why it is referred to as an electronic ignition system in the first place.

This technology uses a pulse-type transformer that serves as the ignition coil. This transformer can generate a high-voltage, brief fire that kick-starts combustion. It causes the high voltage necessary to enable the current to flow through the gap in the spark plug.

3.      DIS

Using the information from sensors and a computer, the system estimates the timing of the spark. In some automobiles, the Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP), is attached to the front of the crankshaft or the area close to the flywheel. On other automobiles, the (CMP), is attached to the area close to the end of the camshaft. These sensors keep a close eye on the locations of both shafts and send that data to a computer at regular intervals.

The Distributor-less System uses a distinctive coil configuration. The Distributorless System employs several ignition coils collectively called "coil packs." Each of these coils is responsible for producing a spark for only two cylinders instead of requiring a single coil to power all of the cylinders.

Because of this, each coil can remain on for longer, which allows it to generate a more powerful magnetic field (up to 30,000 volts) and a more substantial, hotter spark, both of which are required to ignite the leaner fuel blends used in modern vehicles.

4.      COP

The COP vehicle ignition system has all the electrical controls found in a DIS automobile ignition system. Still, instead of two cylinders sharing a single coil, each COP coil serves a single cylinder and has twice as much time to create the maximum magnetic field.

Consequently, specific COP automobile ignition systems create up to 40,000 to 50,000 volts and much hotter, more powerful sparks.

COP ignition systems provide an additional significant benefit over DIS ignition systems. Since the coil is mounted directly on top of the spark plug, the firing voltage is transferred directly to the plug, eliminating the need for spark plug wires. If plug cables get oily or damaged, contamination and cross-firing may occur.

Identifying The Problems With An Ignition Coil

After identifying the problems, check the When to replace the ignition coil

1.      Backfiring Or Misfiring Engine

A faulty ignition coil may be the reason why your car begins producing backfires. When unused fuel bursts in a vehicle's combustion cylinders, it results in a loud explosion sound, the emission of black smoke from the exhaust pipe, and a strong smell of gasoline.

If the issue is not addressed as soon as possible, it will harm the system. When you accelerate, the automobile may start to jerk, which is another sign that the engine is misfiring. This is because the voltage being generated is not suitable, which will have a detrimental impact on the spark plugs and the combustion.

2.      Rough Idle and Stalling

Vehicles with faulty ignition coils often operate poorly. This implies that one may experience a harsh sensation or noise while the car is idle. Additionally, the car may suffer a loss of power. As a result, a defective ignition coil can result in sluggish acceleration. The car might perhaps stall.

This may occur due to the defective coil, which may cause the spark plugs to get erratic sparks. When the driver comes to a complete stop, the vehicle might turn off altogether, leaving the driver with the inconvenience of trying to get it to start again.

3.      Difficulty Starting The Car

If you have trouble starting your automobile's engine, it may be because of an issue with the ignition coil. Multiple ignition coils are standard in contemporary automobile engines. If you have numerous ignition coils that aren't working properly, you can end up with a defective ignition and have trouble starting the engine. 

Because various issues might make it difficult for an engine to start, the fact that the engine is difficult to start by itself is not sufficient evidence to indicate a problem with the ignition coil.

4.      Check the Engine Light

The check engine light may notify you of several various issue scenarios, one of which might be a damaged or broken ignition coil. However, this is just one of the circumstances that it can alert you to.

The computer will be triggered if your vehicle is experiencing performance difficulties, such as misfires, and the check engine light will be lit. You may be able to identify problems with your vehicle using the internal diagnostics system to catch them in the early stages before they cause more severe problems.

5.      Increased Fuel Consumption

If your automobile is getting fewer miles per tank of gas than it usually does, this might indicate that the ignition coil needs to be replaced. This occurs because the system will attempt to compensate by injecting additional gasoline whenever insufficient power is delivered to the spark plugs due to the malfunctioning ignition coil. Because of this, it is also possible that a faulty ignition coil might cause gasoline leakage.


The article discusses the working and importance of ignition coils in a car and demonstrates the working of an ignition system. It talks about the four types of ignition systems: electronic ignition coil, distributor-less ignition coil, conventional ignition coil, and coil-on-plug ignition coil. Further, it highlights identifying the symptoms and problems with an ignition coil.

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