what's ignition coil and how does it works ?.
It is a certainty that a broken coil can cause the engine to stop or not work precisely. Spark plug for ignition cannot generate current on its own. The ignition coil is responsible for introducing a high-voltage spark, allowing the spark plug to create a spark in the combustion chamber. If the ignition coil is damaged, the ignition system will not work.
In the past, vehicles used a single-coil and had a distributor to power the spark plugs through the spark plug wire. The engine will fail immediately when the ignition coil fails because the distributor will not have electricity to power each piston’s spark plugs. Your car may be broken on the highway waiting for rescuing.
In modern cars with coil on top, there is less chance of the engine completely failing. You can still drive if one ignition coil is damaged while your vehicle is running. Another fully functional ignition coil still ignites the remaining piston, giving the car engine enough power to continue running. What you may have noticed is that the car engine does not run smoothly, jerks consume more fuel, and there is a smell of oil caused by incomplete combustion from the exhaust.
Regardless of what type of coil your car is using, you need to be aware that you need to fix it as quickly as possible. Leaving the engine running may soon damage the engine. You will pay several times more than a new ignition coil.
How does a broken ignition coil affect the car?
It is a certainty that a broken coil can cause the engine to stop or not work properly. Spark plug for ignition cannot generate current on its own. The ignition coil is responsible for generating a high-voltage current, allowing the spark plug to create a spark in the combustion chamber. If the coil is broken, the ignition system will not work.
In the past, the vehicles with a single-coil and had a distributor to power the spark plugs through the spark plug wire. The engine will fail immediately when the ignition coil fails because the distributor will not have power from the coil to power each piston’s spark plugs. Your car engine may fail on the highway waiting to be rescued.
In modern cars with the coil on top, there is less chance of the engine completely failing. You can still drive if one coil is broken while driving. Another fully functional coil will still ignite the remaining piston, giving the engine enough power to continue driving. What you may have noticed is that the engine runs smoothly, jerks consume more fuel, and there is a smell of oil caused by incomplete combustion from the exhaust.
Regardless of what type of coil your car is using, you need to be aware that you need to fix it as quickly as possible. Leaving the engine running continuously may soon damage the engine. You will pay several times more than a new ignition coil.
What is the symptom of a broken ignition coil?
When the ignition coil broke, it may have the initial symptoms gradually. It is easy to check if it is completely broken. But most of the time, it starts with symptoms sometimes. The signs of the car when the ignition coil starts to fail to include:
- The engine and the car shake. The engine may shake because the ignition system is not working as usual. The ignition coil intermittently sends a spark to the spark plug, so the spark plug does not have enough spark to ignite the piston chamber. The engine will experience symptoms ranging from uneven idle to regular working cycles, such as jerking when you press the gas pedal.
- High fuel consumption. You may find that you need to fill more fuel than usual, and the vehicle will run fewer distances. It is due to the engine designed to have powerful enough to drive the car. For the car with ignition problems, the ECU will compensate by increasing the fuel supply to other cylinders to maintain enough engine power.
- Difficult to start the engine. Some or all spark plugs fail because they are not receiving power from the ignition coil. Of course, that will prevent you from cranking the engine. In a car with an ignition coil on top, you can start the engine, but this may require more than one attempt.
- Smoke and smell of unburned fuel. Engines with ignition coils start to fail but can start, may have a more foul smell of fuel and smoke from the exhaust. If your car has never had smoke at the end of the exhaust, this is a symptom that you need to check, especially it comes with other symptoms noted earlier.
- The car has no power may find the car is difficult to move, unable to accelerate, slowing down speed. It is a symptom of an incomplete ignition system.
- The engine warning light is on. The engine warning light is on. This warning light is available on all vehicle models and brands. It may not let you know what is damaging parts because it requires a code-scanning tool such as an OBD2 scanner. The scanner will extract the damage information stored in the car’s ECU. A broken ignition coil will have a misfire code, the same as a broken spark plug.
You can buy an OBD2 Scanner used by yourself or take the car to a mechanic.
Checking the ignition coil
The inspection of the ignition coil can have two cases: 1. Normal check. 2. Emergency check
- Normal check: You have enough time after returning home with a car with a malfunctioning engine, and you suspect that some ignition coils may have failed. You will need a multimeter to check the values.
Unplug the coil power then you can find the three terminals above the coil. Adjust the multimeter dial to the position of the Ohm measurement, 2000 Ohm. Use the positive and negative test leads to touching the coil electrodes. The pole positions from left to right are negative and positive. It may differ for each coil model.
If the number on the meter display screen is number one, the coil is damaged. But if there is a number like 9.2, then the ignition coil is still working.
- Emergency check If you are driving outside and the car is experiencing the symptoms earlier mentioned, and you want to check if the coil is good. You can use a steel screwdriver bar to test the flow of current from the ignition coil.
First, remove the coil from the spark plug. Without unplugging the coil plug, put a screwdriver stick into the ignition coil in place of the electrode plugged into the spark plug. Ask someone for help to start the engine while you place the tip of the screwdriver to the metal part of the car engine at a centimeter away. A broken coil will not have a spark at the metal tip of the screwdriver. Be careful that you must only handle the ignition coil in plastic or rubber piece. Otherwise, you could be electrocuted by forty thousand volts of high voltage, causing injury or death.
If you don’t have a screwdriver or a metal stick to check above but can pull the coil out of the spark plug, check it by removing the ignition coil to see engine operation. To do this, while the engine is running and experiencing intermittent idling, remove the ignition coils one by one and watch for the engine symptoms. The car engine will jerk more if you pull out a good one. But if any ignition coil is unplugged and the engine still shows no more fault (shaking and unevenness at the same level), that coil is damaged.
When should replace the ignition coil?
Ignition coils in cars are hard to damage, but eventually, it will lastly get damaged. For vehicles with a mileage of more than one hundred thousand or sixty thousand miles or more, the car owner should have to prepare for any damage.
In modern cars with multiple coils, the coils are gradually broke one by one. You could replace it all at once. But if you want to save money, you can replace only the broken one. It is necessary to repair it immediately because if left unattended, the engine damaged, and you will have to pay more.
Older cars before 2000 using a single coil were more vulnerable. You should check it with a multimeter, or if you’re not comfortable with it, take the car to a mechanic to check.