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Home >   How To >   How to Repair Distributor >   How Does a Ignition Distributor Work

How Does a Ignition Distributor Work




The distributor is the component that transfers the voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. The primary components of the distributor include the rotor and the cap, in which the former spins inside the latter. The cap has the output contacts. The distributor is driven by the engine's camshaft.


How does a distributor work    


How does a distributor work?


The metal part of the rotor is connected to the high-voltage cable from the ignition coil by a spring-loaded carbon brush. As the rotor spins, it passes close to the output contacts which are connected to the spark plugs via high-tension cables. This way the voltage from the ignition coil is delivered to the right spark plug. Since the voltage from the ignition coil is high, the voltage manages to pass thorough the gap between the rotor and the contacts.


Symptoms of a defective distributor:


One of the symptoms of a faulty distributor includes the shaking of the vehicle while driving. This is often due to the rotor that does not rotate properly. A defective distributor also causes difficulty while starting the automobile. The caps on the distributor are more prone to wearing out. A bad distributor cap will emit a high-pitched squealing noise when the vehicle is started.


Modern ignition systems:


Newer ignition systems do not have distributors. They have multiple ignition coils, each dedicated to a spark plug or one ignition coil for two spark plugs. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) controls the ignition system.


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