|$ Labor: $50 - $120 per hour.||$ $ Parts: $60 - $400+||$ $ $ Professional replacement: $100 - $550+ (parts and labor)|
People who have experienced problems starting their cars tend to think about battery or engine issues first, but the ignition coil can also be responsible for it.
Ignition coils are a crucial component of the ignition system of any car, and they work as transformers that convert the energy supplied by the battery into a current high enough to start the engine.
So after knowing this, it’s understandable that if the ignition coil is not working correctly, the car will have problems starting.
Table of Contents
How Do Ignition Coils Work?
Batteries only provide a 12-voltage current, which isn’t enough to start the engine, so the role of an ignition coil is to transform that voltage into a high current of 15,000-40,000 volts or more.
The high current produced by the ignition coil is high enough to supply the spark plug, which will create a spark that will ignite the fuel and air inside of the engine to produce the combustion necessary to start the car; here’s a video that shows how ignition coils work.
How To Know An Ignition Coil Is Not Working Properly?
Having a bad ignition coil can translate into troubles starting the car, and in the long run, if the issue is not addressed, it could damage the engine and the exhaust system of the vehicle.
But there are other signs that can be the result of an ignition coil that’s not working correctly:
- Difficulty starting the engine.
- Poor fuel consumption.
- Loss of power and acceleration.
- Decreased fuel economy
- Rough idle.
This article by YMF Car Parts talks about some of the symptoms of a bad ignition coil.
What Types Of Ignition Coils Exist?
There exist four types of ignition coils:
- Conventional Ignition Coil
- Electronic Ignition Coil
- Distributor-less Ignition Coil (DIS)
- Coil-on-Plug Ignition Coil (COP)
Even when there are many types of ignition coils, their job is the same: take the battery’s electricity and transform it to supply the spark plugs to start the combustion process; this article by Engineering Learn talks about the different types of ignition coils.
There also exist coil packs, which consist of various ignition coils that can provide a huge spark, but the downside is that if one coil in the pack fails, the entire pack has to be replaced.
How Long Does An Ignition Coil Last?
Ignition coils typically last up to 100,000 miles before needing replacement, but they can fail prematurely due to vibration, extreme temperatures, or moisture.
They are very vulnerable to temperature, and if a problem with another part of the car makes its temperature rise, like a blown head gasket, this can affect the ignition coil.
Also, voltage overload can affect ignition coils; bad HT cables can cause a voltage overload, causing a higher amount of voltage that can wear out the ignition coil prematurely.
What Affects The Costs Of Replacing An Ignition Coil?
The facts that affect the final price of replacing an ignition coil are: the type, year, make and model of the vehicle, the type of ignition coil the car has, if the replacement part is from an OEM or an aftermarket product, and where you take your vehicle for the job.
An ignition coil usually can cost from $60 to $400 or more, and labor costs for installing an ignition coil go from $50 to $120 per hour.
So, the total cost for the professional installation of an ignition coil, including parts and labor, can be $100 to $550 or more.
You can get your ignition coil replaced at independent repair shops, car-repair chains like Pep Boys, Midas, Meineke, or Sears, and car dealerships which tend to be the most expensive.
Things To Consider
- First, you should test your ignition coil to see if there is really a problem with it, as car batteries can also be at fault when a car is not starting. Here’s a video by CarsNToys that shows you how to test an ignition coil.
- Before going for a replacement yourself, check if your ignition coil still has a warranty. The Federal law in the United States establishes that ignition coils have to be warranted for at least two years or 24,000 miles.
- Check your vehicle’s ignition coil to make sure you get the exact same replacement piece that matches your car.
- Replacing an ignition coil usually is a straightforward process and should take about an hour.
- DIY car experts can install an ignition coil themselves with the proper tools at home for saving purposes. Here’s a video that shows you how to change an ignition coil.
- After replacing the ignition coil, the coil wires, spark plugs, and spark plug wires should be inspected. If one of these parts were affected or damaged, they need to be replaced too, adding $50 to $350 or more to the final cost.