If your vehicle is behaving erratically and you have problems with it running smoothly, it could be showing signs of ignition coil failure. The ignition coil takes power from the generator and relays it to the spark plugs. This ignites the fuel and makes your vehicle run. The severity of the symptoms vary according to which of the ignition coils are failing.
If your vehicle is backfiring, this can indicate early symptoms of an ignition coil failure. This occurs when unused fuel is emitted through the exhaust system. If you do not address the issue, you can also do serious damage to your exhaust, resulting in unnecessary and costly repairs. Your exhaust may emit a black smoke and you may even detect the smell of gasoline.
Check your high tension leads (HT Leads). They run between the distributor and spark plugs. Ignition coil failures result in 1 or more spark plugs not receiving the appropriate amount of charge. If you have trouble starting your vehicle in the cold, this is a good sign of potential ignition coil failure. You can run a simple test on the HT leads to check that there is in fact a spark going from each lead to each spark plug.
If your vehicle is getting a lot less mileage for the gallon, it could also be a sign of an ignition coil failure. When less power is reaching the spark plugs, your vehicle will struggle and use more fuel to compensate for the lack of power transfer.
Trying to start your vehicle when the ignition coils fail will result in a rough ride. Your vehicle will cough and splutter regularly. When you drive at high speeds, your vehicle will jerk and spit. It will also vibrate when you are running idle at a stop sign or intersection.
With ignition coil failure, your vehicle will have irregular sparks emitting to the plugs to keep it running. This will result in stalling. When you bring your vehicle to a stop, it may just shut off totally, thus leaving you needing to restart it.
If your spark plugs are worn out, it forces the ignition coils to operate at a much higher output. Keeping your spark plugs in optimum condition can reduce your chances of experiencing an ignition coil failure. Some simple regular maintenance will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If the gap in your spark plug widens due to normal erosion, it leads to an increased voltage being required to create a spark in the chamber. The increased voltage demands more current flow through the primary circuit and this increased current flow can overload the primary transistor. Keeping all these components in good running condition is also a big help towards keeping your coils in a good working condition.