auto technician replacing ignition coil in vehicle

What a Wonder is a Car

Your car is an incredible machine for a number of reasons. Through the smart application of different sciences, your vehicle can handle all sorts of terrain, in all kinds of weather, all while keeping the cabin at a comfortable temperature as your favorite music plays over the radio. Your car changes liquids to gas, carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, and harnesses the power of fire, water, and electricity to hurdle you over land at speeds most of humanity never thought possible. 

It’s truly a marvel of human ingenuity. 

One of the best examples of this is how your vehicle goes from being completely cold to flying down the road in just a few seconds. This type of change is more indicative of a person than of a machine, as they can go from a seated position to running in a matter of seconds. A train, on the other hand, is more powerful than a car but has a long warming-up process as it lurches into activity.

The Ignition System

This type of dexterity is thanks to the car’s engine and of its ignition system, two things the technicians at Master Muffler’s Ogden car repair center know a lot about. With the turn of the key, the engine springs to life and you’re ready to get on your way. But how does it work?

The process involves batteries, coils, and spark plugs, and goes as follows:

The Battery

When you turn the key in the ignition, it prompts the battery to send an electrical current to the ignition coil. There are numerous types of car batteries, each providing different levels of power based on the vehicle’s needs. 

  • Lead-acid batteries are the most common in gas and diesel vehicles and usually go by the nickname SLI, standing for Starting, Lighting, Ignition, or the different functions of the battery.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are most commonly used in hybrid or electric vehicles because they charge fast and store a lot of energy.

As it stands, your car battery should be changed every three years or so, which we can handle quickly at our Ogden car repair center.

The Ignition Coil

An ignition coil is a tool that basically transforms the low energy of the battery into the thousands of volts needed to fire the spark plug in the engine. Within the chamber are housed two coils — a primary and secondary coil.

  • The primary coil is loosely coiled within the body of the transformer and receives the charge directly from the battery.
  • The secondary coil is wound very tightly within the center of the transformer and conducts the magnetic field from the primary coil so it can be distributed as a high-voltage current.

As the low current of the battery travels down the primary coil where it splits into two paths: one colliding with the contact breaker and the other being absorbed into a condenser. As the name suggests the contact breaker houses a rotor that periodically severs the connection between the two breaker points, thus disrupting the continuous flow of electricity.

This disruption causes a surge of electromagnetic force that collapses on the secondary coil which winds the field multiple times until the voltage soars from dozens to tens of thousands. 

The Distributor Cap

The high-voltage current of the secondary coil gets funneled to the distributor cap where another rotor moves between distribution points connected to the engine’s spark plugs. 

  • A car will have as many spark plugs as it does piston cylinders. So, a V8 engine will have 8 spark plugs.
  • The exception to this rule is a HEMI engine that has two plugs per cylinder.

There is a small gap in between the rotor and the distribution points, so as the rotor moves the high-voltage current will leap from the rotor to the point and then travel down to the spark plug, igniting it in time with the compression of the combustion chamber. Voila! We have ignition.

Your ignition system is what changes the cold contraption of your car from a nice museum piece into a legitimate vehicle. It’s the “spark of life” that makes the whole thing work. Something this important should be serviced regularly so that it’s always running at peak efficiency. The experts at Master Muffler’s Ogden car repair center can make that happen. Come in today for a full tune-up and start driving with confidence again.

Categories: Automotive Info

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