What Are The Symptoms of A Bad Pencil Ignition Coils?

  •   No car part lasts forever, but a failing car part like a bad ignition coil can cause a plethora of other problems and limit your vehicle’s performance. However, it may be difficult to take appropriate action if you don’t know what are the symptoms of a bad Pencil Ignition Coils.

      Misfiring or sudden loss of power while you are driving in the open road may be indicators of several different issues, and a bad ignition coil may be one of them.

      However, there are more than just a couple of bad ignition coil symptoms, and detecting them early on may prevent further damage.

      You are at the right place if you would like to find out what are the symptoms of a bad ignition coil because in this article we are going to show you how to detect them.

      What Do Ignition Coils Do?

      Your car’s engine cannot start if the ignition system isn’t functioning properly. Spark plugs, ignition coils, car battery, or alternator are all equally important parts of the vehicle’s ignition system, and in case any of these parts is malfunctioning your car’s performance will be impacted.

      Car batteries are the main source of power used to ignite the fuel/air mixture, but most cars have batteries that generate 12V power, while it takes between 20,000 and 40,000V to ignite the fuel.

      That’s where ignition coils come into play, as they convert voltage from low to high which enables spark plugs to receive enough power to create the spark that ignites the fuel/air mixture. That’s why ignition coils are also called compact transformers.

      An ignition coil has two windings that are placed over the iron core, while the housing on older types of coils is also filled with oil that acts as a refrigerant.

      The low voltage current produced by the battery reaches the primary winding or the so-called outer coil that is then transmitted to the secondary winding that generates the high-voltage current and sends it to the spark plug or the distributor.

      The electromagnetic field is generated once the 12V current reaches the outer coil which causes the current to stop and as a result, the electromagnetic field collapses.

      A high voltage current is induced on a secondary coil in this manner and used to supply the spark plug with the power it needs to ignite the fuel.

      Differentiating Between Different Types Of Ignition Coils

      Even though all ignition coils have the same operating principle, in the last few decades different types of ignition coils were developed. This means that the type of ignition coil your vehicle uses depends on when it was produced. Let’s take a look at different types of ignition coils

      Can-Type Ignition Coil

      This type of ignition coil has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century, but today you can mostly find it on vintage cars. Some older models have a housing that is filled with oil that cools and insulates the core and the primary and secondary coils.

      Distributor Coils

      A distributor mechanism is used to supply the spark plug with the high-voltage current generated by the ignition coil.

      Ignition Blocks

      An ignition block consists of several ignition coils that are connected to the spark plugs with H.T cables. A single or dual spark technology can be used to create an ignition block.

      All ignition cables deliver the high voltage to just one cylinder if a vehicle is equipped with a single-spark ignition block. The dual-spark technology is designed to send high voltage current to two cylinders, one located at the power stroke and the other at the exhaust stroke.

      Pencil Ignition Coils

      Commonly used on vehicles that have an electronic ignition system, the pencil ignition coils are mounted directly onto the spark plugs. In this manner, the power is fed directly to the spark plug as pencil ignition coils are placed in the spark tunnel which eliminates the power loss.

      Ignition Coil Packs

      A coil pack consists of several pencil ignition coils that are mounted on a rail that spans over a few spark plugs.

      The Most Common Signs Of A Bad Ignition Coil

      Recognizing the symptoms of a bad ignition coil may help you fix this issue before it goes any further. Here’s what you need to know about the signs of a bad ignition coil.


      This is one of the most common early symptoms of bad ignition coils that occurs once the unused fuel from the combustion cylinders reaches the vehicle’s exhaust system.

      Detecting this issue shouldn’t be too difficult since back-firing is usually accompanied by the black smoke that has a strong smell of gasoline.

      Addressing this problem as soon as you notice it is paramount since it can lead to the failure of expensive car parts.

      Decreased Fuel Economy

      In case you start noticing that your vehicle needs more fuel to cover the same mileage than before, you should inspect the ignition coil because this may be the reason why you’re spending more fuel than usual.

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