Common Car Ignition System Problems and Solutions

You can find the cause of your ignition system problem by knowing what symptoms to look for. First, the engine has to start. When you turn the key, the ignition system should turn on the spark plugs in sequence. When all four are firing, you should hear a nice loud popping sound after starting the car.

Car Ignition System Problems

Ignition Wire – Cracked

It is the most common problem with the ignition system on a modern vehicle, and several things can cause it. To determine which wire is shorted, you must remove your distributor cap and inspect the cables at this point. If the spark plug firing wire is missing or damaged, this will cause your problem. Soak it in penetrating oil, check for pinholes or cracks in the insulation, and replace it. Also, check if all of the other wires are intact. If not, then you will have to replace them as well.

Distributor Cap – Dirty

Dust, dirt, and oil buildup on the distributor cap can cause misfires in certain cylinders. If you cannot start your car when it’s cold, this is a likely cause. The distributor cap must be removed and cleaned before reassembly. Newer vehicles require you to have a unique tool that enables you to disassemble the cap without just removing it.

Ignition Coil – Shorted

The ignition coils are located inside the distributor cap. An ignition coil can short out if you have a bad plug wire or the engine overheats. You will have to replace it and the plug wires to solve this problem.

Ignition Cylinder – Corroded

A corroded ignition cylinder can cause misfiring and the engine not to start. It is the likely culprit if your car will not start when it’s cold. You will have to remove the cap and inspect the cylinders to determine which one has corroded. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean it, or replace them all.

Ignition Control Module – Burned Out

The ignition control module can cause several problems. It can cause the engine to start and then stall, prevent the car from creating, and cause intermittent misfires and other issues. The ignition control module must be removed from the distributor cap and tested for continuity before you replace it. If it has no continuity, you may need to replace it; however, this part must be cleaned with an electrical contact cleaner or replaced if it’s damaged.

Ignition Control Switch – Stuck Off

The ignition control switch can cause the engine to start and then stall. If your car has a manual transmission, it will not shift correctly. In a modern automatic transmission system, this can cause several problems with the vehicle’s computerized components. Without tearing into it, there is no way to tell what part is stuck in the “off” position. You must remove the cover over the switch and check for any internal damage before replacing it or trying to fix it.

Ignition system problems are a common problem in modern vehicles. These problems can cause costly damage if they are not corrected immediately. Automotive locksmiths are skilled professionals who can help you with any problem with your car’s ignition system.

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