Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Distributor Rotor and Cap Last?

Distributor Rotor and Cap

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...


Related questions

Q: Disconnected 2ga wire from battery; rehooked, but warning light on

Hi, thanks for writing in about your 2006 BMW 740i. Disconnecting battery cables while the engine is running causes a voltage spike in the electrical system. Electronic control modules typically do not take this well! Sometimes this will damage some...

Q: Rotors keep wearing out - 2007 GMC Sierra 2500

Warping of brake rotors means that too much heat is being developed while braking and is unable to be dissipated. One thing that may help with this if original equipment manufactured discs keep warping is to possibly seek out some...

Q: Car wont start now

The distributor assembly on these engines are known to go bad and cause no spark or loss of spark intermittently. The distributor will leak oil into itself and short the sensors and coil. You can either replace the entire distributor...