The ignition module of your car is the heart of your entire ignition system. Its two vital roles are to create a spark strong enough to ignite the air/fuel mixture for combustion and to regulate the timing of the spark plugs by opening and closing the ignition coil ground circuit. The ignition module has a direct effect on the performance of the engine.
The module looks like a small electrical box with a wire harness. It is usually found on or in the distributor housing in domestic cars, and on the firewall or wheel-well in foreign cars.
Like all automobile parts, the ignition module will eventually go bad and break. However, you can think and prepare for the failure. These tips will help you know the two most common signs of ignition module failure.
Overheating is a regular indicator that you could be having an ignition module issue. Ignition modules that are overheating will soon completely stop to function and in the meantime can create electrical shorts, engine stuttering, lower gas mileage, power loss, stalling, and gasoline odors from the exhaust.
You can test for overheating while the car is still running. Idle the engine for 30 minutes, and then tap the module with a screwdriver. The car may stall, which would strongly show that ignition control module may be the cause of the overheating you’re noticing.
If you are having an overheated module in an emergency setting, you can cool it down with ice water, engine coolant, or even a refrigerant fluid. However, this is but a temporary solution only to be used as a last resort until you can get to a repair facility.
2. SUDDEN FAILURE
When your vehicle stalls unexpectedly during operation and will not ignite again, it is likely because of loose or corroded electrical connections in the ignition module. In this situation, check the switch, clean oxidized terminals, and change broken wires if needed.
It’s also possible the circuits may be severly damaged by overheating if the problem is not addressed after the first or second happening. If you cannot start the car, you have to test the ignition control module with the help of a light timing tester to check the output of the module.
Connect the timer to the positive terminal of the battery and see if the continuity of the black output wire while cranking the starter. If the light blinks, the module is good. If the light is actally blank or constant, the module is bad. Before you attempt to change the control module, you must rule out other ignition system parts. The module is expensive and changing it is a laborious process. Check the ignition coil for a spark. Examine the wires at the cap, rotor, and spark plugs. If the car runs but has timing issues, use a tester light and wrench to adjust the spark plug timing according to the manufacturer’s standard.