While you may not give them much thought, the coil packs in your car play an important role in keeping your engine running smoothly and reliably. With proper maintenance, this key component can keep your engine running efficiently and help you avoid costly repairs down the road.
You must be confused about seeing lucrative advertisements from coil manufacturers about their lifetime and warranty. Some say you can use it for a lifetime (quite unrealistic), while others mention a period like 2, 3, or even 5 years.
So which one to believe, and how long do coil packs actually last? This article will clear the confusion.
But what can be done to extend their lifespan? Below, we’ll explore both of these questions as well as when it might be time to replace this part on your vehicle. First, let’s know how coil packs work and the factors that affect their longevity.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Coil Pack?
- 2 The Lifespan of Coil Packs
- 3 Symptoms of a Faulty Coil Pack
- 4 How to Test Coil Pack without Multimeter?
- 5 How Often to Replace Ignition Coils?
- 6 Coil Pack Vs. Distributor: Which One is Better?
- 7 Final Verdict
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Coil Pack?
Coil packs are usually a set of ignition coils used for producing sparks. The coil packs use the car battery’s voltage to produce the spark, which takes around 50000 to 75000 volts of energy. The voltage uses the cables to reach the spark plugs.
The Lifespan of Coil Packs
Although coil packs last a very long time, they do have an average lifespan. Using a powerful computer simulation engine, we were able to determine just how many miles each component can go before it needs to be replaced.
And you’ll be shocked by our findings: coil packs generally last over 200,000 miles! Here’s what you need to know about coil pack longevity.
Coil packs lose their efficiency with time, usage, and mileage. Generally, coil packs last for 5 years or serve well up to 120000 miles. However, the longevity depends on different factors, like:
The most important factor in coil packs is the quality. Most people prefer purchasing low-quality coil packs. Eventually, they tend to change it after a few weeks or months. It would be best to invest in a high-end coil pack because they would last for a lifetime.
Exposure to Vibration and Heat
Another reason that can damage coil packs is exposure to vibration and heat. Excessive heat vibration can cause an insulation breakdown, and the coil packs wear out.
Many coil packs come with a warranty, and most coils work well till the warranty ends. High-end coils packs have a warranty of 3 to 5 years.
In contrast, the low-end coil pack’s warranty may last for only 6 to 9 months. So you can get choose manufacturers that provide an extended or lifetime warranty.
Spark Plugs Gap
The gap between the leaking valve and spark plugs can damage your coil pack. Carbon accumulation is responsible for such damages. However, changing the coil pack or spark plug can solve the problem.
You can use some coils for a long time. However, aging can damage the coils leading them to wear out. Hence, keep in mind the aging factor while buying or replacing a coil and choose the one with a higher life span.
Symptoms of a Faulty Coil Pack
One common symptom of a bad coil pack is a faulty spark plug. However, there are many factors that you would see in a faulty coil pack.
What Makes a Coil Pack Go Bad?
High-end coil packs are very durable. However, low-quality coil packs can go bad quickly. The ignition coil gets damaged by plug wires or spark plugs. Also, a damaged coil pack could cause fuel to oxygen mixture in a vehicle.
Another reason for the premature coil pack is the continuous heat and vibrations. An average coil pack can go up from 70000 to 100000 miles before replacing them.
Bad Coil Pack Symptoms
Some bad coil pack symptoms are:
- Damaged engines:
After starting, you can see abrupt engine stopping issues. This could happen due to a faulty coil pack.
- Less fuel saving:
When you have a bad coil pack, your vehicle may consume more fuel. Eventually, you would require more cost to run your car.
- Engine indicator:
Checking the engine indicator helps to know any abnormal issues with your vehicle. If it happens, inspect your coil packs.
Another sign of a bad coil pack is sudden backfire. You can often see black smoke coming through an exhaust pipe. This is because of backfire and bad coil packs.
- Rough starts:
In many situations, you might find your vehicle getting rough starts. This causes when your coil pack is malfunctioning. It would be best to avoid putting pressure on the coil or engine when the car isn’t starting.
The appearance of a Faulty Coil Pack
The appearance of a faulty coil is exactly like a good one. Therefore, it’s very tough to tell which one is a faulty coil. But you can get different signs in coil packs. For example, you can get cracks, burns, or meltdowns in a defective coil pack.
How to Test Coil Pack without Multimeter?
When a coil pack gets defective, your engine starts to fail. Therefore, it is essential to test your coil pack. Generally, using a multimeter, you can check your coil pack.
But what if you don’t have a multimeter? Let’s know how to check without a multimeter.
Step 1: Get your Equipment
You should first think about your safety. Therefore, wear your safety gloves and glasses. This can help you stay shock-free from faulty coils or spark plugs. Next, get your equipment to start working.
Step 2: Find the Coil Pack
After taking the safety measures, you can find the coil packs in your vehicle’s engine. Make sure your car engine is switched off.
Now open the car hood and find your coil pack. The location of the coil pack depends on the type of your vehicle.
In most cases, you will find it next to the fender or the distributor. If you don’t find them there, check the connections, as the coil is directly connected to the spark plugs.
Step 3: Detect the Misfiring
Now, you have to figure out through which cylinder the misfiring is caused. When you get your coil, check the engine properly. In most cases, the misfiring occurs in the engine cylinders. So, find out the cylinder that is causing it.
Step 4: Change the Coils
You have found one cylinder misfire but don’t know which one. This is where changing the coils would help you. You have to swap your coils through different cylinders.
For example, swap coil from cylinder 1 with cylinder 2.
Make sure your engine’s codes are clear before testing your performance. You can check online if you’re unsure about the engine codes. The codes vary based on vehicle types.
Step 5: The Final Check
Now, start your engine and leave it for about 2 to 3 minutes. You can easily find your faulty coil after you change cylinder 1 to cylinder 2, and there’s still misfiring.
This also clarifies that the fault is on the coil rather than the cylinders. Finally, take your vehicle to the mechanic and replace it.
How Often to Replace Ignition Coils?
It’s unnecessary to replace the ignition coil unless you’re facing problems. You should change the ignition coils after seeing that the coil packs aren’t working properly.
In general, you need to change the coil after 3 to 5 years. If your coil wears out before that, you need to change it earlier. In the case of high-end coil packs, they would last up to 5 years.
It also depends on the mileage or usage of the car. If you use it more, you need to change it before the estimated time. So, when you see symptoms of bad coil packs, you should replace them.
Coil Pack Vs. Distributor: Which One is Better?
The engine starts when the voltage creates a spark. Previously, vehicles used distributors to send voltage to the sparkplugs. But with the change of technology, people replace it to send voltage to the spark plugs.
Usually, coils packs work better than distributors as there are no moving parts. Also, coil packs create a better spark, which produces better engine combustion and power in an engine.
Coil packs are an essential part of a car for engine starting. Having a malfunction or faulty coil can hamper the whole process. Therefore you should check the coils with a time interval.
A good quality coil will serve you longer, while a cheap one may require to change frequently. Also, keep track of your mileage to understand the time while it needs change or repair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Replace All Coil Packs at Once?
Coil packs are designed so that they will last for years. However, you can change a specific part if one gets damaged. However, changing them all may allow you trouble-free operation.
How Long Does It Take to Replace Ignition Coil?
It takes a few minutes to replace the ignition coil. In vehicles with 4 cylinders, replacing the coil packs would take about an hour. It may take more work for a bigger engine as you need to change other components.
How Much is an Ignition Coil?
On average, an ignition coil could cost $60 to $350, which would depend on your car model or labor costs. The ignition coil may cost from $30 to $150. Additionally, the labor cost can be $30 to $200.