DIY

What Is A Coil Pack?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A coil pack, simply put, is an electronically controlled pack of ignition coils controlled by the car’s computer.  Its main responsibility is to build up the energy and then release the voltage through the spark plug cables so it can reach the spark plugs–and that’s how the combustion process starts. In modern cars, the distributor is replaced by this device because of two reasons: 1.) it is more reliable and 2.) it provides better spark, which results in a more efficient combustion and higher horsepower.

What will happen if you have a bad coil pack?

Once the coil pack fails, engine misfiring can happen because one or more spark plugs in the engine cylinders didn’t receive enough voltage. This will usually cause a drag on the crankshaft; hence, a poor performance from your engine.

Closeup of coil pack
A faulty coil pack has pretty similar symptoms to a failing spark plug including rough idle, unusually louder engine, a noticeable drop in RPMs when accelerating, and significant lack of power. | Source: YouTube

What are the common symptoms of a faulty coil pack?

A faulty coil pack has pretty similar symptoms to a failing spark plug including rough idle, unusually louder engine, a noticeable drop in RPMs when accelerating, and significant lack of power. You might also notice your check engine light blinking or the gas warning light activating even when the gas tank is full.

How to make sure that the coil pack isn’t the problem in your vehicle?

Fortunately, there’s a fairly easy test that you can perform to make sure that the coil pack is working properly. What you need to do is to use an ohmmeter to check each coil’s primary and secondary resistance. For the primary resistance, the ohmmeter should be set to the 10 ohms range. Then you need to touch one of the meter leads to the center prong on the electrical connector of the coil pack. If the reading is between 0.3 and 1.0 ohms, then it’s good. It’s the same thing for the second resistance. This time, however, the ohmmeter should be set to 20,000 ohms. The reading should be between 5,000 and 10,000 ohms. This process should be done on each coil.

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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