How Often Should the Ignition System Be Inspected?

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Your ignition system is a critical part of both your car and daily driving experience. If it isn't working correctly, you could experience anything from poor engine operation to engine stall or failure to start. It’s critical that you keep your ignition in good shape, and part of that is having it inspected on a regular basis.

How often should the ignition be inspected?

First, understand that there’s no hard and fast rule here. There are several types of ignition systems out there, and each has its own service interval.

  • Conventional Ignition: If you have an older car that still uses a distributor cap and points, then you’ll need to have your system inspected (and tuned up) roughly every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. These are the most maintenance intensive systems, but they’re very rare these days.

  • Electronic Ignition: If your car has an electronic ignition, meaning that there’s an electronic ignition module, and you have no points, then you should have the system inspected and tuned up roughly every 25,000 miles or so.

  • Distributor-less Ignition: After about 1990 or so, many automakers switched to using a distributor-less ignition system. There are no mechanical components here, and the system is controlled by the car’s computer. Service intervals vary significantly, but many automakers recommend every 100,000 miles.

If you have a conventional ignition, you can count on having it inspected with every other oil change. However, if you have an electronic ignition or a distributor-less ignition, things are less clear. The best rule of thumb in this instance is to have your system inspected when you notice the engine not running correctly. These symptoms include:

  • Rough idling
  • Stalling
  • Spitting and sputtering under acceleration
  • Difficulty cranking
  • No start (with a known good battery, starter and alternator)

Make sure to have your ignition system inspected by a professional mechanic who understands the type of ignition your car uses.


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Richard

15 years of experience
60 reviews
Richard
15 years of experience
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Fremont, California
Excellent communicator, walked me through the fixes and even gave me an idea of what might be next on the fix list.
Dodge Grand Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Union City, California
quickly diagnosed the problem but knew it would take longer than appt time to fix. since we had appt the next day for brakes he rearranged his schedule to do it all together the next day. very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.

Tung

14 years of experience
285 reviews
Tung
14 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Mableton, Georgia
Very detailed and customer service oriented. Did an amazing job fixing my back brakes and even set-up a schedule of future appointments for my car!
Ram 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Marietta, Georgia
Tung showed up on time and was very friendly. Changed my brake pads in about 30 minutes and gave me recommendations on when to change the rear pads. Will ask for him by name next time.

Horus

9 years of experience
103 reviews
Horus
9 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Horace worked on my Land Rover today. Showed up on time and was professional and courteous. Replaced front and rear break pads. Great job!

Juan

11 years of experience
37 reviews
Juan
11 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Mountain House, California
Was very thorough in explaining the condition of the car and how the repairs will impact it’s service.

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