August 31st, 2021 by Fix Auto USA
Both the ignition coil and spark plug are parts of your car’s ignition, and each has a distinct function. It pays to know the differences between an ignition coil and spark plugs. That way, you will be better equipped to identify ignition issues before they evolve into larger, more costly problems.
What Is An Ignition Coil?
An ignition coil is an induction coil found in your car’s ignition system. Your car’s ignition coil transforms the battery’s low voltage into thousands of volts. In doing so, the coil creates an electric spark in the spark plugs. Here, the plugs ignite fuel.
Bad Ignition Coil Symptoms
Here are signs that your car’s ignition coil may be malfunctioning:
- Your engine misfires.
- You notice a decline in your car’s power, particularly when you accelerate.
- Your car’s fuel economy diminishes over time.
- It becomes increasingly difficult to start your car’s engine.
- Your car’s check engine light illuminates.
- Your car’s exhaust frequently backfires.
- You notice an increase in your vehicle’s emissions.
- There is a smell of gas emanating from your exhaust.
- There is fuel leaking from your car.
If any of these issues crop up, bring your car to a professional auto mechanic. This allows you to get your vehicle inspected by a mechanic who can diagnose and correct any bad ignition coil symptoms.
What Is A Spark Plug?
A spark plug provides electricity that ignites the air-fuel mixture in your car’s engine. As a result, a spark plug helps you start your car.
In addition, your car has spark plugs that set your engine’s pistons into motion. They keep your vehicle moving as it travels down the road.
How To Differentiate Between A Good Vs. Bad Spark Plug
Here are signs that indicate it may be time to replace your car’s spark plugs:
- It is tough to start your car.
- Your engine misfires.
- Your car’s fuel economy gets worse over time.
- You notice knocking and/or rattling noises when your car idles.
- Your engine becomes exceedingly loud.
- Your car’s check engine light is on.
If you notice any of these issues, bring your car to a professional mechanic. Then, the mechanic can perform appropriate testing to determine if your spark plugs, ignition coil, or other parts are defective.
What’s The Difference Between Coil Packs And Spark Plugs?
Coil packs tend to be found in cars produced during the late 1990s and beyond. A coil pack consists of several ignition coils. Together, these coils use power from your car’s battery to create a spark that fires each cylinder in the ignition.
How To Tell If Your Car’s Coil Pack Is Defective
The signs of a faulty coil pack tend to replicate those of defective ignition coils and spark plugs. These include:
- Loud engine
- Rough idle
- Lack of power
- Decline in RPMs while accelerating
- Illuminated check engine light
Ultimately, any time your car’s engine shows signs of wear and tear, get your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic. This ensures you can receive tips, recommendations, and guidance to fix your vehicle. Most importantly, you can verify that your engine is running at peak levels and your car is safe to drive.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Gambell, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Anchorage area and surrounding communities.