Skip to content
All Parts Ship FREE in Continental USA! 📦
All Parts Ship FREE in Continental USA! 📦
How Often to Replace Ignition Coils: When & Why You Need to Change Them - Southwest Performance Parts

How Often to Replace Ignition Coils: When & Why You Need to Change Them

Imagine driving on a long stretch of highway late at night, only to suddenly feel your car stuttering. Your vehicle's smooth roar transforms into a jarring sputter and the check engine light flickers ominously on your dashboard. Could it be? Have your ignition coils given up on you at the worst possible moment?

Ignition coils might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to routine vehicle maintenance, but they are integral to the smooth functioning of your car's engine. If you're noticing irregularities with your car's performance or experiencing breakdowns, it might be time to examine your ignition coils. 

But how often should ignition coils be replaced? More specifically, how do you know when to replace ignition coils? We’re going to take a look at the life cycle of ignition coils, the signs of failure, and explain how to best maintain them for peak performance. 

As a rule of thumb, you should replace your ignition coils anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 miles after installation. This is obviously quite the range - where do fall along that 40k-mile spectrum? We’ll help you find out in this detailed guide on how often to replace ignition coils. 

And should you discover that your ignition coils need to be replaced, we’ll guide you through the process of doing so quickly and easily - without breaking the bank. Let’s get one thing out of the way - do ignition coils need to be replaced regularly?

Do Ignition Coils Need to be Replaced Regularly?

We see this question asked a lot - and it’s alarming. Because yes, ignition coils need to be replaced on a routine basis. While the scheduling won’t be as frequent as oil changes or tire replacements, many vehicle owners neglect to change their ignition coils altogether.

Because ignition coils are subjected to high voltage electricity, extreme under-hood temperatures, and vibration, degradation of their insulation and components is inevitable. And when this happens, you’re in for a rude awakening…

Here’s What Happens When Ignition Coils Go Bad…

To understand what happens when your coils start failing, let’s take a step back and look at how ignition coils work. An ignition coil's main function is to convert the battery's low voltage into the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs, igniting the fuel. When this doesn't happen efficiently, your car suffers.

Your vehicle may start to misfire, leading to irregular jumps or reductions in power. This not only leads to a rough driving experience. It can also cause increased emissions and decreased fuel economy, leading to more frequent trips to the gas station.

Other symptoms of failing ignition coils can include a stalling engine, a check engine light turning on, or even your car not starting at all. In worst-case scenarios, faulty ignition coils can cause severe damage to the engine, leading to expensive repairs or even the need for an engine replacement.

Given the critical role that ignition coils play in your car’s performance, recognizing these symptoms and addressing them promptly can save you a significant amount of time, money, and stress. 

So, how often should ignition coils be replaced? Before we can answer that question, we need to take a look at the factors affecting when to change ignition coils below.

Factors Affecting When to Change Ignition Coils

While your vehicle's user manual will provide a basic guideline, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to how often ignition coils need replacing. Several factors can influence the lifespan of your ignition coils. We’ll dissect them here for you.

The Age and Mileage of Your Vehicle

Generally, the older your car or the more miles it has on the odometer, the more likely it is that you'll need to replace the ignition coils. Higher mileage vehicles have ignition systems that have been exposed to wear and tear for a longer period. On average, you can expect ignition coils to last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.

Your Driving Habits

If you're someone who loves taking off quickly from a stop or pushing the car to its maximum speed on highways, you're placing more demand on the ignition coils. This increased demand can cause them to wear out more quickly.

Regular Maintenance

Regularly scheduled maintenance is crucial in prolonging the lifespan of your ignition coils. For instance, if your spark plugs aren't replaced at the recommended intervals, they can wear out and place additional stress on the ignition coils, causing premature failure.

Vehicle Make and Model

Some vehicles are known to have ignition coils that last longer than others. It’s worth researching common issues with your specific vehicle model to see if premature ignition coil failure is a common problem.

Quality of the Coils

Chance are, you already realize that not all ignition coils are created equal. Just as with when to replace a serpentine belt, the timeline is influenced by the quality of the coils themselves. 

Thus, choosing a high-quality ignition coil during your initial purchase or replacement can significantly affect its lifespan. While you’ll pay more in the actual cost of the coils, you’ll save money in the long run - while eliminating a huge source of stress as well.

By understanding these factors, you can better judge when your vehicle may need an ignition coil replacement. It also underscores the importance of regular vehicle check-ups and maintenance in preventing sudden ignition coil failure. So, how often should ignition coils be replaced?

So, How Often Should Ignition Coils Be Replaced?

So, how often should ignition coils be replaced? A good rule of thumb is to inspect them every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, although it varies significantly based on the factors we just covered.

Ideally, you should replace them as part of your regular vehicle maintenance routine, or as soon as you notice any signs of failure. Ignition coils are vital to your car's performance, fuel efficiency, and longevity, so neglecting them can lead to larger issues down the road. They’re not that expensive - so replacing them preventatively is definitely worth it.

Now That You Know How Often to Change Ignition Coils, Here’s Our Advice on Doing So…

You now know how often to change ignition coils. The only question is, how do you go about doing it? It’s actually a fairly straightforward project. In fact, you can likely handle on your own in the garage or front yard. 

Below, we’ll guide you through the process - starting with why you can count on us for dependable, long-lasting, high-performance replacement ignition coils.

Get High-Quality, Reliable, and Affordable Replacement Ignition Coils at Southwest Performance Parts

At Southwest Performance Parts, we understand the importance of quality and reliability in auto parts. That’s why we supply high-performance ignition coils designed to optimize your vehicle's efficiency and power. 

Even better, we manufacture our parts under our reputable A-Team brand, allowing us to cut out the middleman and pass the savings directly to you. We guarantee top-tier parts without the hefty price tag usually associated with high performance. 

With over 75,000 satisfied customers, we stand by our commitment to quality and affordability. Free shipping and easy returns make your shopping experience hassle-free, so why not upgrade your vehicle's performance today? 

Explore our performance ignition coils today. From LS ignition coils to Jeep, Plymouth, GM, Ford, and more - we’ve got you covered. Once you have your coils on hand, here’s how to get the job done…

Tips for Replacing Your Ignition Coils

While those with no automotive technology experience are suggested to take their cars into a shop, anyone with a bit of background working on cars and the willingness to learn can handle this job themselves. Here’s how you should go about it:

  1. Review your vehicle’s service manual: Before replacing your ignition coils, be sure to check your vehicle's service manual. It will provide specific information on where the ignition coils are located and how to safely remove and replace them. Better yet, watch a step-by-step YouTube video on the process for your specific make/model
  2. Use the correct tools: Using the right tools is crucial for a successful ignition coil replacement. You'll typically need a wrench or socket set, screwdrivers, and possibly a torque wrench. Some vehicles may require special tools, which will be mentioned in the service manual or the video you watch.
  3. Take note of wiring placement: Before removing any wiring, take a photo or make a sketch of where each wire connects. This will make reassembly easier and help prevent mistakes. Trust us - it’s worth it to prevent a headache later on.
  4. Ensure a clean installation: Be sure to clean the area around the ignition coils before installation to prevent dirt or debris from entering the engine.
  5. Remove the old ignition coil: Once the area is clean, you can begin the process of removing the old ignition coil. This typically involves disconnecting the electrical connector, removing the bolt or screws securing the coil, and then carefully pulling the coil out from its position.
  6. Inspect the spark plug condition: Once the ignition coil is removed, you'll have a good view of the spark plug. Take this opportunity to inspect the condition of the spark plug. If it's covered in oil or soot, or looks worn out, it may be a good idea to replace it along with the ignition coil. You’re already working in this area, why not get it all taken care of at once?
  7. Install the new ignition coil: With the old coil removed and the area clean, you're ready to install the new coil. Carefully align the new coil with the spark plug and push it into place. Once it's properly seated, secure it with the bolt or screws and reconnect the electrical connector.
  8. Test your work: Once you've installed the new coil, it's a good idea to test your work. Start the engine and listen for any unusual noises. If the engine runs smoothly and the check engine light stays off, you've successfully replaced your ignition coil.
  9. Dispose of the old ignition coil properly: Used ignition coils are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of at a proper facility.

Remember, replacing your ignition coils can be a relatively simple DIY task for some vehicles, but in others, it might be best left to professionals. Always consider your skills and the complexity of your vehicle's setup before deciding whether to undertake the task yourself.

Parting Thoughts on How Often to Replace Ignition Coils

Staying up to date on your car’s maintenance can sometimes feel like traversing a maze. It’s especially overwhelming with some of the more obscure parts that you didn’t necessarily realize need to be replaced on a regular schedule, like ignition coils.

But now that you know how often to change ignition coils, you can take a deep breath and relax. It typically only needs to be done once every 60,000 miles at most - and sometimes, you can go every 100,000 miles with routine maintenance, quality coils, and a bit of luck.

At Southwest Performance Parts, we understand the importance of reliable, high-quality auto parts for the regular upkeep of your vehicle. We're here to help you maintain that crucial rhythm of replacement without breaking the bank. 

Beyond our ignition coils, you can count on us for high-performance transmission coolers, a performance brake booster, performance headlights, performance fuel pumps, performance cylinder heads, serpentine belt kits, and everything in between.

For now, though, it’s time to take what you’ve learned in this guide on when to replace ignition coils and determine if you’re due for a swap out! You can feel confident doing so armed with the advice we’ve shared today.

Previous article How Long Do Water Pumps Last in Cars?
Next article How Much Are Power Steering Pumps?