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An ignition coil transforms ignition voltage (12 volts) to the very high voltage pulses (20,000 volts or more) that fire the spark plugs. The number of ignition coils varies depending on car model and year of production. Older cars will have one coil covering all engine cylinders while newer cars may have a coil-on-plug type arrangement — that is every cylinder will have its own dedicated ignition coil.
Yes. A malfunctioning ignition coil will cause loss of power and lower fuel efficiency but that will not present an immediate safety issue. If the coil malfunction is causing misfiring, this will allow unburned fuel to enter and permanently damage the catalytic converter from overheating.
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