Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Ignition problems at the distributor.

asked by on

When I connect a test light to the positive post on the battery and touch the negative side of the coil it will light up but this will only happen with the key off. When the key is on it will not light up and I do not have spark at the plug.

My car has 2000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help. This is common as you supply power to the coil once the key is in, which will cause the ground to change. If you are not getting spark then the power to the coil needs to be checked first. If there is power then the ignition needs to be checked to see if it is providing ground to the coil when the engine is rotating. If it has points then those need to be checked. If it has HEI ignition then the ignition module has more than likely failed. If you need to have this tested, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose this.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Ignition problems at the distributor.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Is it possible to fit a LT4 Supercharged 376ci / 6.2L Engine into a 1997 Z28 Camaro?

When changing the engine over from a Z28 to a LT4 Supercharged 376 CI engine, you may have to adjust the engine mounts to accept the engine transferring over. The blocks are about the same size and will both bolt...

Q: My car will crank but will not start.

Thanks for writing in about your 1994 Buick Roadmaster. There are many things that can cause a no start condition. You may want to have this thoroughly looked at in person by a professional before moving forward with any other...

Q: car vibration

If the struts are defective, that can be a cause of vibration. It sounds like the struts have to be replaced anyway, so I would suggest doing that first. Check the exhaust system (is it all OEM?). Check for damaged...

Related articles

What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.