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What are the symptoms of a bad ignition coil?

May 11, 2018

Ignition coil plays an important role in running your car smoothly. It provides the required electricity to the spark plug for starting the engine. Ignition coil draws power from your car’s battery.

It amplifies the power and sends it through the spark plug. A faulty ignition coil can degrade your car’s performance and cause further damage to it. The following are the symptoms of a failing ignition coil:

Car Backfiring

When an ignition coil is not functioning properly, it does not send enough power to spark plug. This causes incomplete fuel combustion which leaves unused fuel that can go out through the exhaust. This leads to your car backfiring. This unused fuel can explode before getting out of the exhaust which can damage other car parts.

Engine Misfiring

If one or more of your car’s cylinder fires incorrectly or does not fire at all, then it leads to engine misfiring. You can experience shaky and jerky motions and vibrations when the car stops.

You will also experience engine misfiring when you accelerate and put more load on it. A misfiring engine causes more emission, and this can damage other parts like catalytic convertor.

If you experience these problems, then it may indicate a problematic ignition coil.

Poor Fuel Economy

A malfunctioning ignition coil will not provide enough power to the spark plug.

This will make it difficult to start the engine. Your car’s system compensates for this problem by injecting more fuel.

This can lead to greater fuel consumption. You will experience your car’s fuel economy dropping considerably when it has a bad ignition coil.

The engine is Hard Starting

If your car has only one ignition coil, then this symptom will be more prominent. If the car’s spark plug does not receive enough power, it will not power the car’s engine. A faulty ignition coil will not generate any power.

This means that there will be no spark for combustion to start. Hence, if you observe that the engine is hard starting, then it could be a symptom of a faulty ignition coil.

Check Engine Warning Light is On

Turning on of engine light suddenly can be a symptom of a faulty ignition coil. You can take your car to a mechanic for an OBD-II check. You can also do this test by yourself by purchasing an OBD-II scanner.

The most common engine code that shows up during a diagnostic run is P0351 which corresponds to ignition coil-primary/secondary circuit failure.

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Your car’s ignition system needs a high-quality ignition coil to keep it in good condition. Ignition coil provides the required power to the spark plugs for starting the engine. They can last for 100,000 miles or more after which they should be replaced.

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