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When Do You Need to Replace the Ignition Coil?

Published by: Genson
Date of Publish:

Automobiles have become an integral part of our lives. Our movement is greatly dependent on the vehicle that we possess. Since it is the source that transports us around, automobiles have an extensive care protocol. This complex machine is composed of numerous parts assembled professionally and mechanically. People tend to spend more on maintaining vehicles to keep them in good shape; however, problems may arise, so a thorough check and balance are always needed.

The ignition is probably the first thing you come across after settling on the car seat. Everyday practice is to put the key in the ignition, start the car and get going! However, this is not so simple and is a mechanical phenomenon. The working of the ignition coil will be discussed later; however, it is essential to know that an ignition coil may fail if water enters the ignition bay or the sparks are not replaced over a considerable time.

This blog post will walk you through the detailed information on the ignition coil and educate you about when to replace the coil.

when do you need to replace the ignition coil

What is Ignition Coil?

An ignition system is one of the car’s most essential parts. This complex consists of a battery, an ignition coil, a device to produce high-voltage discharges from the ignition coil, a distributor, and a set of spark plugs.

The ignition coil is the part of the car’s engine that produces the spark at a high temperature. This spark is responsible for the ignition of a fuel-air mixture. The ignition coil is structured in a particular way and contains a central, layered iron core, further surrounded by two copper coils.

For more about the ignition system and ignition coil, please refer to When the ignition coil goes bad, How small engine ignition coil can be tested with a multimeter

ignition coil

How Does an Ignition Coil Work?

A car’s ignition system is designated to work in harmony with the rest of the engine if all of its parts are well. The ignition coil has the most critical job of igniting the fuel at the exact time. Timing matters the most. As a result of the efficiency of the ignition coil, the fuel performs the maximum amount of work. It is here when the ignition coil doesn’t promptly perform, causing the vehicle to eat more fuel and pointing towards a possible fault in the ignition coil

It changes the battery power to a high voltage to create a spark at the plugs. The spark further ignites the air-fuel mixture and starts the combustion process required for starting the vehicle. We can thus declare the ignition coil the motivational factor.

You can find more references on Type of ignition coil for your car, How much does ignition coil replacement cost, How to replace ignition coil Ford F150

Indicators For When You Need to Replace the Ignition Coil

Following are the indicators for when you need to replace the ignition coil. For more, please refer to When to replace the ignition coil

ignition coil

When You See a Hike in Fuel Consumption

Has something fishy about the fuel alarmed you? Were you working on the budget, and you explored a fluctuation in your fuel expenditure? This might leave you wondering about the possible causes, one of which is an ignition coil that might have gone bad.

The problem of more fuel consumption happens when the ignition coil turns bad and cannot transfer power. The vehicle uses more fuel to compensate for the inadequate power transfer between the battery and the plugs.

So if your trips to the fuel station have increased with the same traveling routine, approach a mechanic to inspect your car, and the probability of pointing out a bad ignition coil is higher. This is important because the current hike in fuel prices has already rung the alarm, and also, the vehicle is at stake.

Engine issues such as misfiring may arise because of the problems with the ignition coil, so if you doubt your car for eating more fuel to compensate for the engine issues, consider replacing your ignition coil because it might be a culprit in the engine missing.

When the Vehicle Backfires

This problem can give you chills if you are a nature lover and conservationist, besides the internal damage in the vehicle. This will be a nightmare to see your car throwing up black smoke or sense a gasoline-like smell.

Your vehicle is undoubtedly backfiring if you have witnessed this unfortunate scene. This means that your car is releasing unused fuel through the exhaust system. Among many other reasons, bad ignition coils are most likely to cause backfiring.

When You Observe Your Car Is Experiencing a Problematic Starting

Imagine you are fresh and motivated, left home in great spirit, and settled down on the car’s seat. When you put the key in the ignition and try to start the car, you experience jerks or shaking, or the car might not start. On another day, it might stall.

This is a spoiler, but what has caused it? A BAD IGNITION COIL, most probably! This happens because the worn-out coil sends irregular currents to the spark plugs, thus interrupting the flow and steadiness.

When The Check Engine Dashboard Light Begins to Appear

The appearance of a check engine dashboard light is terrible and alarming. We can bet on you, never hoping for it to happen. This is the worst you can think of when you start the car and are welcomed by such a sight.

This lightning is a self-explanatory phenomenon that requires you to make an immediate appointment with the mechanic because there is a good chance that your engine ignition coil has turned bad, affecting the overall vehicle’s overall performance.


Now that you know when you should get your ignition coil replaced, there are some questions you might have about the ignition coil. So, let’s have a look at some of those.

ignition coil

How Long Does the Ignition Coil Last?

An ignition coil usually lasts around 100,000 miles. Several factors contribute to the premature damage of this coil. The modern and new cars in the market are embellished with ignition coils and covered in hard plastic for protection. But because the interior is of copper all around, longer encapsulation in the plastic can damage it because of heat and moisture.

Which Material Makes the Best Ignition Coil?

Another name for an ignition coil is the spark coil. Various incredible materials are available for ignition coils, such as alloys, iron, and aluminum. However, the best ignition coils are those made of copper. This material is responsible for the maximum power delivery to the spark plugs. Copper is at the top of the list because of its remarkable properties, such as durability and strength. It is resistant to abrasion and corrosion, another brilliant factor for its increased life and efficiency. These are the reasons behind making copper ignition coils the most demanded parts in the market.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Ignition Coil?

When you consider replacing your ignition coil, it is crucial to managing your budget. These parts are not cheap, and they cost you a considerable price. Another significant expenditure while replacing the ignition coils is labor and taxes. So, it is a clever step if you manage your budget accordingly.

How Often Should the Ignition Coil be Replaced?

 An ignition coil usually has a longer life span and does not become faulty easily. There is no particular age to replace them until and unless a problem is detected. Certain circumstances indicate an ignition coil replacement, such as reduced fuel mileage, engine shaking, and spluttering.

How Hard Is It to Change the Ignition Coil?

If we think of doing this task at home, some people believe it can be easily done. All you need to do is to be careful as voltages are involved. So better to disconnect your battery before you start. It is essential because it can damage the coil or the car’s electrical system besides the damage that high voltage may cause.

However, in a broader sense, it must be pretty challenging. As the engine is intricately designed, you may face hurdles in accessing and ticking the components or tearing them apart when completing the removal.

So, if you still are passionate about practicing at home, you must get a few tools for efficient procedure and safety. This kit includes a repair manual or access to the repair database, a ratchet set containing a ratchet, socket, extension, safety glasses, and a torque wrench. However, the torque wrench is optional.


A vehicle is one of our valuable assets. It’s justified if we call it an earned possession. Owning a vehicle is recreational, but its maintenance is a heavy burden on the shoulders because you have to invest time and money in doing so. Since vehicles are complex, mechanical wonders whose parts are woven and integrated with great calculations and precision, there still is a chance of malfunctioning. This may happen because of many reasons.

A bad ignition coil is such an example. Though a tiny part, it carries a great significance and duty. Without an ignition coil, no energy will be required to spark the plug and initiate the combustion process. One of the foremost duties of a car owner is to detect issues with the car’s tiny parts to avoid big hassles. We can guess a problem with the ignition coil if our car consumes more fuel than normal. Shakes or vibrates, can’t start properly, a check engine dashboard light appears, or the engine misfires. All these are indications that a problem may have occurred in our ignition coil and the best way to eliminate this fault is to replace the ignition coil.

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