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When The Ignition Coil Goes Bad?

Published by: Tony
Date of Publish:

The automobile industry has taken the world by storm. New models with the latest technologies and outstanding features are launched every day. The variations, designs, models, and qualities are taking us back, but still, there is a need to make these intricate machines flawless and error-free. This is the level of technology that everybody is looking forward to. Till then, humans will face problems with the maintenance of vehicles.

Cars and humans have developed an irresistible relationship. Almost half of our chores require the availability of a vehicle. People have become dependent on cars and other vehicles to save time and energy.

Since we have talked about the intricacy of vehicles before, it is crucial to mention again how important it is to keenly monitor and maintain our vehicles for better precision and accuracy.

The simple, everyday practice is to get to your car, settle on the seat, put the key in the ignition, and start! However, imagine if it does not happen, and you feel stuck. The possible reasons for such a situation are numerous; we, however, would talk about the ignition coil and the after-effects of it going bad.

This blog post contains accurate information about ignition coils and what to do when they turn bad.

When the ignition coil goes bad

Ignition System and the Ignition Coil

An ignition coil is the essential part of a vehicle combustion system. This system mainly comprises a battery, a distributor, the induction coil, a part that generates high-value voltage discharges from the ignition coil, and a set of spark plugs.

The ignition coil produces a spark at a high temperature. This spark is the primary starter for igniting the air-fuel mixture leading to combustion.

The ignition coil is also called a spark coil. Several incredible materials are available for making ignition coils, such as alloys, iron, and aluminum, but the best ignition coils are copper. This material ensures maximum power delivery to the spark plugs. Copper has remarkable properties, such as durability and strength, making it an ideal choice for ignition coils.  Another incredible factor that renders its efficient and more excellent shelf life is the resistance against abrasion and corrosion. These are the reasons behind making copper ignition coils the most demanded parts in the market.

You can find more info at When do you need to replace the ignition coil, How small engine ignition coil can be tested with a multimeter

ignition coil

Working Principle of Ignition System and Ignition Coil

A car's ignition system is a critically designed system that works in harmony and collaboration with the rest of the engine. This usual cycle of ignition continues if all of its parts are well. The ignition coil has the most crucial job. It ignites the fuel at the exact time. Timing is the key because it is at the exact time when the correct response is to be produced.  As a result of the efficiency of the ignition coil, the fuel performs the maximum amount of work, and we enjoy a smooth ride.

The ignition coil changes the battery's power to a high voltage. This high voltage creates a spark at the spark plugs. The spark further ignites the air-fuel mixture and starts the combustion process required for starting the vehicle. The ignition coil can thus be regarded as a starter.

Therefore, considering the ignition coil, a starter for the combustion is valid. More at Type of ignition coil for your car, How much does ignition coil replacement cost, How to replace ignition coil Ford F150

Types of Ignition Coil

There are 4 types of Ignition coils, which are as follows

  1. Coil-on-Plug Ignition Coil
  2. Electronic Ignition Coil
  3. Conventional Ignition Coil
  4. Distributor-Less Ignition Coil

Detailed info, please refer to How to check ignition coil with a multimeter

Life Of an Ignition Coil

An ignition coil can be approx. last up to 100,000 miles. However, damages are inevitable, and many factors are responsible for the premature damage of this coil. New cars are equipped with ignition coils covered in hard plastic for protection. But because of a copper interior, more extended stay in the plastic covering can damage it because of heat and moisture.

When Does the Ignition Coil Goes Bad?

The ignition coil is a critical part of the engine which sparks the plugs and thus fuels the combustion. If it is damaged or turns destructive, it can lead to severe consequences that we will discuss later. We must shed light on the possible reasons that cause the ignition coil to collapse. Following are the reasons:

#1 Damaged Spark Plugs

The condition of spark plugs and ignition coil is directly proportional. If the plugs are healthy, the ignition coil will stay in good shape, but if your spark plugs are worn out, it will cause the ignition coil to operate at its maximum. The ignition coil will be forced for greater output.

The greater output happens because the gap between the plugs increases, and the coil struggles to provide a higher voltage to fill the gaps. This voltage overload results in overheating and failure. This condition is not favorable for the ignition coils and would thus damage them. Therefore, it is essential to keep your spark plugs in good condition. This will help the ignition coil survive.

#2 Vibrations and Overheating

Vibrations are another potential cause of ignition coil failure. Continuous exposure to vibrations can turn the ignition coil badly.

Overheating severely damages the ignition coil.

#3 Wear and Tear

Wear and tear is another potential cause of ignition coil failure. This promotes a reduction in insulation which leads to coil exposure, thus causing overheating. Wear and tear degrade the insulation between the primary and secondary windings.

ignition coil

What Happens When the Ignition Coil Turns Bad?

The reasons mentioned above damage the ignition coils, which makes way for more complications. Following are the outcomes when the coils are damaged.

More Fuel Consumption

Are you worried about a recent rise in the fuel budget? While calculating the monthly expenditure, have you explored an unusual surge in your gasoline expanse? If so, you must have raised an eyebrow, and the next step would be finding the cause. One of the possible causes might be that the ignition coil has turned bad.

The issue of more fuel consumption arises when the ignition coil turns bad. It thus becomes unable to transfer power. The vehicle uses more fuel to compensate for the inadequate power transfer between the battery and the plugs. So, if your traveling routine hasn’t changed and you notice more trips to the gas station, get an appointment with a professional mechanic to examine your vehicle and ignition coil comprehensively. The probability of pointing out a bad ignition coil is higher. The problems with the ignition coil can give birth to many other issues, such as engine misfires, so if you doubt your car is eating more fuel to compensate for the engine issues, consider replacing your ignition coil in the first place. It might play the role of a culprit in the engine missing.

Difficulty in Starting the Car

It's early morning; you have stepped out of the house with zeal and passion and settled on the car seat. When you put the key in the ignition and try to start the vehicle, you experience jerks or shaking, or the car might not start. On another day, it might stall. This is the worst that could happen! Particularly when you are punctual, disciplined, and sensitive towards your vehicle. What could be the possible cause of this mood spoiler? And the most probable option would be an ignition coil that has gone bad.

Vehicle Backfires

A nightmare for nature lovers and conservationist is when your vehicle backfires.

This problem can give you chills if you are a nature lover and conservationist, besides the internal damage to the vehicle. Seeing your car throwing up black smoke or a gasoline-like smell wrestling with your nostrils is bone-chilling.

 This means that your car is releasing unused fuel through the exhaust system. Amongst many other reasons, bad ignition coils are most likely to cause backfiring.

ignition coil

Check Engine Dashboard Light Indication

Seeing the check engine dashboard light lit up is very upsetting. This lightning is a self-explanatory phenomenon requiring 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 vehicle's performance.

Ignition Coil and Its Cost

Before you practically step out to replace your ignition coil, it is essential to manage your budget. This step is crucial because an ignition coil is a part with a considerable price and is not cheap and moderately priced. Another substantial expenditure to consider while replacing the ignition coils is the labor cost and taxes. So a wise fellow would always work on his budget before the replacement.


People are freakily possessive about their vehicles and spend a fortune on maintenance. This shouldn't be surprising because our cars are valuable possessions earned over a certain period. They carry us around and help us utilize our time effectively while swiftly managing tasks.

The engine is the peculiar part of an automobile because it is the most vital yet most vulnerable part of the vehicle. The ignition coil is a tiny part of the engine with a magnified job. If this part is all fine and working, you drive flawlessly, and if it turns bad, the results are pretty annoying.

Wear and tear, overheating, vibrations, and damaged plugs are the main reasons for the ignition coil's damage. If the ignition coil is damaged, you can experience spluttering and jerking, or on some days, the vehicle may stall and, on other days, might not start. A damaged ignition coil can cause the car to backfire and eat more fuel than average.

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