How Long Does a Distributor Rotor and Cap Last?

The distributor rotor and cap pass voltage from ignition coils into the engine’s cylinders. From here, the air/fuel mixture is ignited and powers the engine. The coil connects to the rotor and the rotor rotates inside of the distributor cap. When the tip of the rotor passes a contact on the cylinder, the high voltage pulse goes from the coil to the cylinder through the rotor. From there, the pulse moves from the gap an onto the spark plug wire, where it eventually ignites the spark plug on the cylinder.

The distributor rotor and cab are subjected to high voltage on a regular basis, meaning every time you turn on your vehicle, electricity flows through them. Because of this, they do wear out from time to time. When the distributor rotor and cap are replaced, the entire ignition should be inspected to ensure everything else is in good working condition.

Preventative maintenance is key to catching your distributor rotor and cap failing. Every time your vehicle has routine maintenance or is serviced by a professional, the ignition should be thoroughly inspected. In addition, this part is more likely to fail if you drive through a deep puddle because water will get into the distributor cap and short out the electrical current. The cap may not need to be replaced if this is the case, it may need to just dry out for a certain period of time. If you are unsure or if you start to notice any problems with your vehicle starting up, you can always schedule an inspection from a professional mechanic. They will thoroughly inspect your system and replace the distributor rotor and cap.

Since the distributor rotor and cap can go bad over time because they are located in a harsh environment, it is important to know the symptoms this part will give off before it completely fails.

Signs you need your distributor rotor and cap replaced include:

  • The Check Engine Light comes on
  • The car does not start at all
  • The engine misfires and has trouble starting

The distributor cap and rotor is an essential part to starting your vehicle, so the repair should not be put off.


Next Step

Schedule Distributor Cap and Rotor Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Distributor Cap and Rotor Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Distributor Cap and Rotor Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(238)

Rating Summary
221
6
4
1
6
221
6
4
1
6

Jason

23 years of experience
190 reviews
Jason
23 years of experience
Honda Civic L4-1.6L - Distributor Rotor and Cap - Nashville, Tennessee
Again, awesome service with Jason! He did a thorough job and got my car up and running, while also giving me useful information for keeping it in shape. I would definitely recommend him anytime!
Chevrolet Express 1500 - Distributor Rotor and Cap - Nashville, Tennessee
Effective and professional great to work with will always ask for Jason great job van runs better than ever thank you for your help

Jason

32 years of experience
507 reviews
Jason
32 years of experience
Nissan Frontier V6-3.3L - Distributor Rotor and Cap - San Jose, California
He came a little earlier than expected & is very efficient. He explains what he does & needs to be done.

Tim

15 years of experience
57 reviews
Tim
15 years of experience
Dodge Ram 1500 V8-5.9L - Distributor Rotor and Cap - Battle Ground, Washington
Tim and his father in law did a great job working on my truck. Thanks for your services. My invoice was incorrect for the oil change because I never got one done and I purchased my own Distributor Cap with Rotor and Coil. Your Mechanic only provided me parts for my Spark Plugs n Spark plug wires. But Tim said he fixed my invoice and I believe he will.

Matthew

15 years of experience
20 reviews
Matthew
15 years of experience
Chevrolet Express 1500 V6-4.3L - Distributor Rotor and Cap - Dayton, Ohio
Matthew (goes by Jake) was excellent, as was our experience with Your Mechanic. We booked on a Thursday and he came to us on Friday, and then he came back for follow-up services on Monday and Tuesday. He was knowledgeable about all of our vehicles and was very willing to show and talk about the services that he provided. We will definitely book him again!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Symptoms of Bad or Failing Points & Condenser
If your vehicle runs rough, the engine will not fire, or the vehicle will not start at all, the points and condenser system may be failing.
How to Remove, Install, and Adjust Ignition Timing
Ignition distributors help spark the gas and air in the engine. Worn distributors need to be removed to be cleaned to maintain proper ignition timing.
How to Replace a Distributor Rotor and Cap
Distributor caps and rotors keep the distributor clean and separate from the engine. Distributor caps may need to be replaced if the car won't start.

Related questions

Steering wheel shakes when applying brakes
The rotors and pads should be replaced as a set. If not, then you will not have even wear and diminished brake stopping power until the two components are seated to one another. Sometimes cutting a rotor will not fix...
no power from coil to distributor
The ignition module on the fender should be looked at to see if it has ever been replaced. These modules on the fender go bad all the time. Try to disconnect and reconnect the connection to the module. Test for...
I have a 2013 BMW M5 41.5kmi on it: is it necessary to replace rotors when replacing brake pads?
Thanks for writing in about your BMW M5. The rotors should be checked to be correct thickness. They should only be replaced if they're damaged or below the minimum thickness. If you're unsure if you're rotors need to be replaced,...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com