How To Test The Ignition Coil On A Car: Easy Tips!

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In a vehicle, an ignition coil converts the 12 volts of battery power into the thousands of volts it takes to fire the spark plugs. This part is essentially an induction coil and, in a nutshell, a high voltage transformer. While ignition coils are generally very robust and reliable, over time, due to heat, vibrations, and poor insulation, they can become damaged. you will learn here how to test the ignition coil on a car.

There are two ways to test your vehicle’s ignition coil: the spark plug test and the bench test. While the spark plug test is effective, the bench test is more thorough. Why?

In the first, you rely on the spark to determine the condition of your coil; in fact only in a no spark condition would you be sure your coil is faulty. In the second, you rely on resistance readings and data to test the condition of the ignition coil. Here, even if there is only slight damage to your coil, your readings will indicate it.

How to test the ignition coil on a car

Read on for the proper instructions on how to perform these tests so you can be sure if your coil needs to be replaced.

Step 1 – Take precautions

When testing vehicle parts, particularly the engine, you must be very careful. Before you begin, make sure you’re wearing safety goggles, no loose clothing, and that your hair, if it’s long, is tied back securely. Also, a car engine produces electricity, so it is necessary to take the utmost precautions to avoid any unfortunate incident.

Step 2 – Remove the spark/winding plug

For the spark plug test, start by removing the spark plug wire. It’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s service manual to make sure you’re removing the correct wires. Then, with the help of a spark plug, remove the spark plug.

If you are bench testing, refer to the service manual and remove the two windings (primary and secondary) that are inside the ignition coil.

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Step 3 – Check for Sparks (Spark Plug Test)

After removing the spark plug, reconnect the spark plug wire. Now, hold the spark plug wire with insulated pliers and let the bare threaded end of the spark plug touch a grounded surface (any exposed metal area, like a stud). In the meantime, ask your assistant to start the engine.

With the key turned, you should be able to see a bright blue spark at the end of the plug. If you do, your coil is fine. If it doesn’t, your coil needs to be superseded. However, even a malfunctioning coil can give off a small spark; therefore, to be comprehensive, the bench test is needed.

Step 4 – Checking the primary and secondary windings (bench test)

Refer to your service manual for the correct resistance readings applicable to your vehicle and model. Typically, for most automotive coils, a reading of 0.75 to 0.81 ohms for the primary winding and 10,000 to 11,000 ohms for the secondary winding is correct.

To check resistance, connect the multimeter/ohmmeter leads to the outer two poles of the primary winding. On the secondary winding, connect one wire to either side pole and the other to the center high voltage terminal. If the readings are even slightly outside the resistance listed in your service manual, you should have your ignition coil replaced.

In a vehicle, an ignition coil converts the 12 volts of battery power into the thousands of volts it takes to fire the spark plugs. This part is essentially an induction coil and, in a nutshell, a high voltage transformer. While ignition coils are generally very robust and reliable, over time, due to heat, vibrations, and poor insulation, they can become damaged. you will learn here how to test the ignition coil on a car.

There are two ways to test your vehicle’s ignition coil: the spark plug test and the bench test. While the spark plug test is effective, the bench test is more thorough. Why?

In the first, you rely on the spark to determine the condition of your coil; in fact only in a no spark condition would you be sure your coil is faulty. In the second, you rely on resistance readings and data to test the condition of the ignition coil. Here, even if there is only slight damage to your coil, your readings will indicate it.

How to test the ignition coil on a car

Read on for the proper instructions on how to perform these tests so you can be sure if your coil needs to be replaced.

Step 1 – Take precautions

When testing vehicle parts, particularly the engine, you must be very careful. Before you begin, make sure you’re wearing safety goggles, no loose clothing, and that your hair, if it’s long, is tied back securely. Also, a car engine produces electricity, so it is necessary to take the utmost precautions to avoid any unfortunate incident.

Step 2 – Remove the spark/winding plug

For the spark plug test, start by removing the spark plug wire. It’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s service manual to make sure you’re removing the correct wires. Then, with the help of a spark plug, remove the spark plug.

If you are bench testing, refer to the service manual and remove the two windings (primary and secondary) that are inside the ignition coil.

[pt_view id=”eaa230chbr”]

Step 3 – Check for Sparks (Spark Plug Test)

After removing the spark plug, reconnect the spark plug wire. Now, hold the spark plug wire with insulated pliers and let the bare threaded end of the spark plug touch a grounded surface (any exposed metal area, like a stud). In the meantime, ask your assistant to start the engine.

With the key turned, you should be able to see a bright blue spark at the end of the plug. If you do, your coil is fine. If it doesn’t, your coil needs to be superseded. However, even a malfunctioning coil can give off a small spark; therefore, to be comprehensive, the bench test is needed.

Step 4 – Checking the primary and secondary windings (bench test)

Refer to your service manual for the correct resistance readings applicable to your vehicle and model. Typically, for most automotive coils, a reading of 0.75 to 0.81 ohms for the primary winding and 10,000 to 11,000 ohms for the secondary winding is correct.

To check resistance, connect the multimeter/ohmmeter leads to the outer two poles of the primary winding. On the secondary winding, connect one wire to either side pole and the other to the center high voltage terminal. If the readings are even slightly outside the resistance listed in your service manual, you should have your ignition coil replaced.

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