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The ignition coil is one of the most critical parts of a car’s ignition system. It would be impossible to deliver an electric charge to the spark plugs without the ignition coil. This can lead to engine misfires, poor acceleration, and rough handling. It can also be difficult to start your engine. Replacing a faulty ignition coil can help address these issues. Learning how to replace ignition coil is easy enough that you can perform it on your own. Here’s how.

Gather the Tools and Materials You Need

You will need an ignition coil pack replacement that is appropriate for your car’s brand, model, and make. Always check the owner’s manual of your vehicle for the specifications. In addition to the replacement coils, you will also need your car’s service manual. This will provide you with specific instructions on how to change ignition coil. It also contains information about the different tools needed to accomplish the task.

You will also need screwdrivers, wrenches, and a ratchet and socket set. You may also want to prepare rubber gloves as well as dielectric grease.

Cut off Power from the Car’s Battery

Before you start with the ignition coil replacement, it is best to cut off power from the battery. One has to remember that the ignition coil delivers electric current from the battery to the spark plugs. You do not want to create a short circuit in the event that the coil gets in touch with metal. Loosen the bolt on the clamp of the negative battery terminal. Remove the clamp from its connection on the terminal.

It would be a good idea to tuck the negative cable down the battery’s side. This will help ensure that it will not spring back up and make contact with the battery terminal. An alternative will be to cover the negative terminal post with cloth or a piece of paper.

Determine the Location of the Ignition Coils

Check your service manual where you can find the ignition coils in your vehicle. In general, you can find them on the top surface of the engine. If your car comes with a distributor, you will have to look for the wire in the distributor cap. This should lead you to the ignition coil.

If your car uses coil packs, you can find the ignition coil mounted next to the valve cover. Vehicles that use coil-on-plug ignition coils will have the device mounted above each spark plug. There are also those that place the ignition coils near the spark plug.

Label the Ignition Cables

There are vehicles that have an ignition coil that delivers electricity to multiple cylinders. In such cases, they will come with ignition cables that supply electric current to individual spark plugs in each cylinder. When changing ignition coil, it is best to retain the normal arrangement of the ignition cables.

Use a paint pen or a permanent marker to label the cables from left to right. If your car comes with two rows of these cables, then start at the top row from left to right. You can then continue on the leftmost part of the bottom row, moving to the right. When it is time to connect the cables to the new ignition coil, you will connect them in the exact same order.

Disconnect the Ignition Cables

Hold the ignition cables near the ignition coil. Squeeze them in a firm manner and pull the boot of the ignition cable from the ignition coil. Be very careful when squeezing and pulling the cables to help prevent breaking them. It is also crucial to pull the cables near the boot.

Gather the ignition cables and tie them together. Tuck them to the side so you will have better access to the ignition coil, making ignition coil replacement a lot easier. Do not worry about mixing the ignition cables. As long as you put a label on them, they should be fine.

Remove the Ignition Coil

Check the side of the coil. You may see an electrical plug. Press the clip that secures the plug to the coil. Pull the electrical plug backwards. This will disconnect the electrical connector from the coil.

Remove the screws or bolts on the ignition coil. Many cars have a 4-bolt configuration. You can use a socket wrench to loosen the bolts. Be sure to use only the correct size of wrench or socket. You do not want to strip the bolt’s head.

Grab the top of the coil and pull it out. If you are having a difficult time pulling it out, check again if there are any bolts or screws that you’ve missed. It is also not unusual for coil removal to be quite difficult. Grime and dirt can accumulate in the opening, making removal a bit challenging.

Check the ignition coil and compare it to the coil pack replacement. Make sure that they match. Their connectors should look identical. The holes for the bolts should also be in the same exact places. If there is any form of mismatch, it is best to return the replacement part for the correct one.

Install the New Ignition Coil

Apply a dielectric grease on the inside surface of the coil-on-plug ignition coil’s end. This will help prevent the ignition cable boot from sticking to the individual spark plugs. It also helps protect the connection from water moisture.

Insert the new ignition coil into the slot. Secure the ignition coil with the bolts. Always start tightening them using your hands to help prevent cross-threading. Secure them by tightening the bolts using a socket and ratchet.

Reconnect the electrical connector to the side of the coil. You should hear a clicking sound as a sign that it’s secure. Reconnect the ignition cables by following the numbered labels on them. You should hear a ‘popping’ sound whenever you connect a cable to its slot. This is a sign that it’s connected properly.

Reconnect the Battery and Finish Up

Connect the cables to the negative terminal of the battery. Secure the clamp by tightening the bolts. Start your engine to make sure that the new coil is functioning properly. If it does not turn, you may want to recheck the connections.

Changing ignition coil is easy enough that you can do it on your own. Just make sure that you have the correct tools and the right replacement part.

Sources:

  1. How to Change an Ignition Coil – WikiHow
  2. How to Replace an Ignition Coil – Your Mechanic
  3. How to Test Ignition Coil in a Vehicle – Do It Yourself

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