Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Electronic Spark Control

Modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of electronic sensors and modules to control the various engine functions necessary for the vehicle to run. One of these components is the electronic spark control module, commonly referred to as the ESC module, or the ignition module. The ignition module works together with the computer to time the engine’s ignition system for the best performance and efficiency. One of the specific functions of the ESC module is to advance or retard the timing of the ignition system, depending on the operation conditions.

Under heavy load, the module will advance the timing to increase power and will retard it at low throttle and cruising speeds in order to maximize efficiency. The ESC module makes these changes automatically and smoothly, almost to the point where they are virtually unnoticeable to the driver. As the ESC module plays an important role in the operation of the engine, any problems with it can cause issues with the drivability and performance of the vehicle. Usually a bad or failing ESC module will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced.

1. Engine performance issues

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the ignition module are engine performance issues. If the ignition module fails or has any problems it can lead to performance issues with the vehicle, such as misfires, hesitation, loss of power, and even reduced fuel economy.

2. Engine stalling

Another symptom of a problematic ESC module is the engine stalling. A faulty module may cause the engine to suddenly stall and be unable to start again. Sometimes the engine can still be restarted after a short period of time, usually after the module has been allowed to cool off.

3. Car not starting or engine not sparking

Another common symptom of a faulty ESC module is a no start, or no spark condition. The ESC module is one of the components that directly controls engine spark, so if it fails, it can leave the vehicle without spark. A vehicle without spark may still crank, but will not be able to start or run.

The ESC module is one of the most important components found on many modern ignition systems, and without it most vehicles will not run properly. If you suspect that your ESC module may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your vehicle needs an electronic spark control replacement.


Next Step

Schedule Starting And Charging Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Starting And Charging Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. 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 Starting And Charging Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(169,816)

Rating Summary
159,374
5,600
1,163
825
2,854
159,374
5,600
1,163
825
2,854

Joseph

20 years of experience
633 reviews
Joseph
20 years of experience
Chevrolet Camaro L4-2.0L Turbo - Starting And Charging Inspection - Salt Lake City, Utah
Friendly, thorough , and most importantly (to me) was not dismissive or condescending. My cursory knowledge of some Chevrolet's interesting design choices with the Camaro, coupled with Joe's experience and perseverance is how we both found upon the problem. Highly recommended.
Hyundai Accent - Car is not starting - Kaysville, Utah
This was better than towing into a shop and having a diagnosis done. Joseph took 20 minutes and figured out my problem and gave me great advise. I be sure to use him again when needed.

Damian

11 years of experience
465 reviews
Damian
11 years of experience
Dodge Durango V8-5.9L - Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer - Bowie, Maryland
Damian replaced a harmonic balancer (aka damper) on my 1999 Dodge Durango. Initially, he struggled a little getting a hard to get to bolt off to remove the engine fan first to make space to get to the crankshaft pulley. He went out of his way to eventually make it work and replace the part. Although offered to perform the repair inside a garage outside at temperatures between 35-40. Tough guy.
Mercedes-Benz C230 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Silver Spring, Maryland
Having Damien as a mechanic was a great experience. He was prompt knowledgeable and efficient. And the repair ( brake pads all four wheels and rotors on the front) was it done while I was working at my office. How can you beat that. I will definitely use Damien and the service again.

Kirk

31 years of experience
54 reviews
Kirk
31 years of experience
Ford Windstar V6-3.8L - Car is not starting - Lafayette, California
Online Scheduling problems on your end cost me 4+ hours of valuable time. We shall see if your repair man follows up correctly. At this point, I do not have the confidence to use your company again. We shall see. Bill Main 530.521.6100
Honda Accord - 130,000 Miles Maintenance Service - San Mateo, California

Greg

22 years of experience
304 reviews
Greg
22 years of experience
Infiniti G35 V6-3.5L - Starting And Charging Inspection - Tempe, Arizona
Great experience

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

P2762 OBD-II Trouble Code: Torque Converter Clutch Pressure Control Solenoid Control Circuit Range/Performance Low
P2762 means a problem with the torque converter clutch pressure solenoid control circuit due to a bad or failing transmission or electrical issue.
P0616 OBD-II Trouble Code: Starter Relay Circuit
P0616 means there is an abnormal reading from the starter relay circuit often due too a faulty ignition switch or blown fuse.
P2662 OBD-II Trouble Code: B Rocker Arm Actuator Sys Stuck On Bank 2
P2662 means an issue within the rocker arm actuator function which may cause rough idling, choppy acceleration and poor engine performance.

Related questions

4WD will not engage

First, if there are any other lights on the dash, (such as the VSC, ABS etc.,) the 4WD module may not allow the 4WD to engage. As for the symptoms that could be causing this condition, it could be: faulty...

Check Engine Light came on

You need to have the purge valve checked to see if it is flowing vapor from the fuel tank when the engine is at idle. The flow will cause the engine to run too rich and can cause the cylinder...

Won't start right away. Chugs while excellerating .

Your 1995 Buick LeSabre has two different problems: The hard start problem is the fuel pressure not being maintained after shut down. This can be caused by the fuel pump (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/fuel-pump-replacement) in the tank or the pressure regulator (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/fuel-pressure-regulator-replacement) on...

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