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Home >   How To >   Buyer's Guides >   Buyer's Guide: How to Buy an Ignition Coil

Buyer's Guide: How to Buy an Ignition Coil



How to Buy an Ignition Coil


How to Buy an Ignition Coil

An ignition coil is responsible for generating the voltage that produces the spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in an engine. With no functional source to generate the spark and burn the air-fuel mixture, what would happen? Your car will fail to run at optimal efficiency, and may exhibit other symptoms such as backfiring and stalling. This buyer's guide provides information about the working of the ignition coil and what you need to look for while choosing the right ignition coil for your vehicle at Happy shopping!


Purpose of an Ignition Coil


The ignition coil, the central component of your vehicle's ignition system, serves the purpose of multiplying the battery voltage into the several thousand volts needed to create a spark. This spark is what ignites the air-fuel mixture in the ignition system. The coil is usually located on the right side of the engine, adjacent to the spark plugs.


How it Works?


The working of the ignition coil is similar to that of a step-up transformer. The ignition coil includes primary and secondary windings. The alternating current from the battery flows through the primary coil which has less windings than the secondary coil. This difference between the number of windings is the basis to produce a multiplied-voltage in the secondary windings. The current in the primary coil creates a magnetic field around both the coils which develops and collapses, alternately. This continuous change induces a voltage in the secondary coil, that is several times larger than the voltage in the primary coil.


Ignition Coil


Know the various kinds of ignition systems


Before you buy an ignition coil, knowing about the various kinds of ignition systems is advantageous. The types of ignition systems are explained below:


Mechanical Ignition Systems


Mechanical ignition systems have the ignition coil and distributor. The multiplied voltage from the coil is passed to the distributor via ignition points. The voltage is then passed to the spark plugs via the distributor cap.


Electronic Ignition Systems


Electronic ignition systems work similarly to mechanical systems, except that an electronic module controls the flow of current in the primary coil. These systems do not have ignition points since the voltage flow is regulated by the electronic module.


Distributorless Ignition Systems


As the name implies, distributorless ignition systems lack a distributor; Instead, they depend on the vehicle's computer which instructs the ignition system of the time for the spark plug to be fired. Distributorless ignition systems have multiple ignition coils.


Symptoms of a Faulty Ignition Coil


There are several symptoms of an ignition coil going bad. Some of the symptoms are explained below:


Engine Misfiring


One of the obvious symptoms of a bad ignition coil is the engine misfire. This can induce other problems such as rough running and jerking, at high speeds. The automobile will also vibrate while idling.


Backfiring and Stalling


A common symptom of a malfunctioning ignition coil is a backfire. This is due to unburnt fuel in the engine which is emitted via the exhaust system. This can also be detrimental to your exhaust system. A faulty ignition coil can also cause the spark plug to spark at irregular intervals, resulting in stalling.


Problems in Starting


If your automobile experiences difficulty while starting, especially in cold weather conditions, it can be due to a defective coil. This is because the spark plugs do not receive a sufficient amount of charge from the coil.


Fuel Economy


A faulty ignition coil will consume more fuel than necessary, bringing your automobile's fuel economy down. Due to the overconsumption of fuel, your exhaust system would give off black fumes, accompanied by a smell of burnt gasoline.



Recommended Parts while Purchasing an Ignition Coil


Ignition Coil Sets and other Parts


Most of the modern automobiles are equipped with multiple ignition coils. If one ignition coil fails, other ignition coils are likely to fail in due course. For your convenience, stocks ignition coil sets at affordable prices. Our ignition coils come in sets of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12. Purchasing a set of coils will give you the largest discount.


We also stock ignition system components such as ignition wiring coil harnesses, control modules, distributors and voltage transformers. If you are looking to replace a complete ignition system, we have got the ignition system kits for that too!


Ignition System

Spark Plugs


It is recommended that you inspect the condition of the spark plugs while replacing the ignition coils. A faulty spark plug will force the ignition coil to operate at a much higher output. This can damage the ignition coil. So, when replacing the ignition coil, get the spark plug checked and replace it as well, if needed.


Spark plug


Selecting the Right Ignition Coil


Choosing the ignition coil based on your vehicle's needs is a wise decision. If you want a replacement ignition coil that can enhance your vehicle's performance, street or strip ignition coils can be the best option. On the other hand, if enhancing the performance of your vehicle is not a priority, stock ignition coils are the perfect choice.



Why the OEM number is important while buying a replacement part


If for any reason you cannot find your ignition coil by entering your vehicle's year, make and model, you can find the best ignition coil for your vehicle by its Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) number. The OEM part number can be found directly on the part itself. You can also call a dealership with your VIN, and they will provide you with the OEM part number. You can give one of our car specialists a call at 1-888-907-7225 for further assistance in purchasing your ignition coil.


Part Numbers On an Ignition Coil


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Frequently Asked Questions


What are the various causes of ignition coil failure?

As with any part of the vehicle, the ignition coil is susceptible to wearing out due to age and continuous exposure to heat. Common causes of an ignition coil failure include overheating, electrical surges within the coil and resistance issues in the coil. Over time, the coil may develop cracks, which can cause it to malfunction.



What are the tools needed while replacing an ignition coil?

You will need wrenches, screw drivers, a torque wrench and a dielectric compound. Be sure to follow the installation procedure as recommended in the owner's manual. Take a look at the video here to know the replacement procedure of ignition coils: How To Replace Your Ignition Coils



I need some clarification while buying ignition coils at Buy Auto Parts.

We have a full team of American-based auto-parts experts waiting to help you. We know how confusing this process can be, but we've all been trained to get you the right part every time. If you have any doubts, please call us.


Sales: 1-888-907-7225


Customer Service: 1-800-241-3197



What does the P0351 fault code mean?

The code P0351 indicates that there is an electrical problem in either the primary or secondary side of the "A" circuit of your ignition coil. Similarly, P0352 indicates an electrical problem in the primary or secondary side of the "B" circuit, P0353 indicates an electrical problem in the primary or secondary side of the "C" circuit and so on, till P0362 indicating the same problem in the "L" circuit.



How can I test my ignition coil?

One of the simple ways of testing it is by allowing the engine to run for about 30 minutes and then rapping it gently, may be with the head of a screw driver. If you find the engine dead, the ignition coil is faulty. Another way of testing a coil is to check its resistance with a multimeter.



View more FAQs and their answers in this link: How Much Does an Ignition Coil Cost?


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