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Car encyclopedia

Ignition Coil

The ignition coil converts low battery voltage into the higher voltage needed to produce the spark that ignites the fuel in each cylinder.

Symptoms of Wear or Failure

  • The Check Engine Light may come on
  • The engine may run rough or stall
  • Lack of power on acceleration
  • The engine cranks, but will not start

Related Repair Advice

  • Continuing to drive with the above mentioned symptoms can damage the catalytic converter
  • An engine can have a single ignition coil that covers all cylinders; one coil for each cylinder head of a V6 or V8 engine; one coil for every two cylinders (waste spark ignition); or one coil for each cylinder in the engine (coil-on-plug ignition)
  • On some vehicles, it may be necessary to remove the intake manifold to gain access to the ignition coils
  • A failed ignition coil can be the result of failures elsewhere in the ignition system. The ignition wires and spark plugs should be inspected and replaced if necessary.
  • Oil or coolant leaks can damage ignition coils—the leaks need to be repaired along with the ignition coil
  • Care should be taken when servicing the ignition system as up to 45,000 volts may be present while the engine is running

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