Best Ignition Coils: Enhance Your Car’s Fuel Consumption
Guard your car against engine mishaps with these top ignition coil sets
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BY Alice Musyoka / LAST UPDATED ON June 22, 2020
It can be inconvenient to refill your gas tank, particularly when you thought you had enough gas. Misfires can also be annoying. But before you take your car to the auto shop to see what’s wrong, check the ignition coil. Choosing the best ignition coil ensures you get the best performance out of your car. In this review, we highlight three great ignition coils and tell you what to look for when buying one.
Engineered to OEM specifications. Delphi uses premium materials to make this coil. Great insulation capabilities.
Superior winding process yields greater wire length control, which means less chance of a breakdown of the wire coating and insulation. Material resists pinholes and cracks that can cause failures. Epoxy methods reduce air bubbles that can lead to energy leakages.
Some instances of misfiring. Some reports of the coil not fitting correctly.
Use as a replacement or upgrade. Coils fit many Honda, Acura, and Saturn models. Great value at a fair price.
The high-grade materials the manufacturer uses make these coils reliable and durable. They put out high electrical resistance and powerful spark from the spark plugs. These coils also resist abrasion and corrosion.
Coils wore out in less than a year for some buyers. Does not fit one purchaser’s 2009 Honda Odyssey even though the maker says it fits.
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Ignition Coils
- No “Check Engine” light. A bad coil can cause this dashboard light to illuminate. Replacing or upgrading the coil may turn the light off.
- More reliable starting. A worn ignition coil can prevent your engine from starting. Upgraded coils enhance starting capabilities and can help ensure your vehicle starts every time as it should without long crank times.
- Best performance. A broken ignition coil can make your engine run rough, cough, and backfire. These symptoms are caused by cylinder misfires and fouled spark plugs from a bad coil, which leads to a loss of power.
- Better gas mileage. When you install new ignition coils, your engine operates better. An engine that operates better operates more efficiently, which gives you more miles to the gallon.
Types of Ignition Coils
Breaker Point-type Ignition Coil
This coil is used on a conventional breaker point-type ignition system. This system has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century. Here’s a simplified version of how it works: after electrical current flows into the coil from the battery, the distributor cam opens the points. This breaks the electrical circuit in the coil and then-current flows into the distributor cap and on to the spark plugs.
Ignition Coils Used in Electronic Ignition Systems
The design of this type of coil is very much like the conventional coil. The difference is a two- ignition coil design. This design employs a pick-up coil to signal a control module. The control module then activates the ignition coil. Some of these ignition coils are located in the distributor cap. Manufacturers used this type of coil arrangement often in the 1970s as it produced more reliable engine operation and less pollution.
Ignition Coils in Distributorless Ignition Systems
Car and truck makers started to employ these ignition coils in the 1980s. The design of the distributorless system allows for more energy to come from the coil (or coils). The configuration mounts three or more ignition coils together in a coil pack. A magnetic triggering device in the system determines the position of the crankshaft and the speed of the engine. The device puts out a signal to the ignition control module which sends a signal to the coil. Each coil fires the spark plug in one or two cylinders. This system eliminates the distributor and fault-prone ignition wires.
This company started in 1994 in New Jersey. It makes electronics for vehicles including automotive systems, components, and modules. At one time, it was partially owned by General Motors Corporation. Today, the company’s headquarters is in Dubin, Ireland. Check out the Delphi GN10114 Ignition Coil and the Delphi GN10571 Pencil Ignition Coil.
Robert Bosch started this company in 1886 in Stuttgart, Germany. It has gone through a number of incarnations, including armament production during World War II. Today, the company produces a wide range of products that include automotive components, power tools, and home appliances. The Bosch headquarters is now in Gerlingen, Germany. Some popular items are the Bosch 9220081083 Original Equipment Ignition Coil and the Bosch 0221504470 Ignition Coil for Select BMW Cars.
Ford Motor Company launched Motorcraft in 1972 to produce original equipment and replacement parts. Today it makes parts and assemblies for Mercury, Ford, and Lincoln vehicles. Other car companies, including Mazda, use Motorcraft parts, too. In addition to parts, the company also makes oil and transmission fluid. Motorcraft as a part of the Ford Motor Company has its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The Motorcraft DG-513 is a top seller.
Ignition Coil Pricing
- $20-$50. On the lower end of this price range, you get one ignition coil. The quality is there, but this is a breaker point-type coil for older vehicles. On the upper end of the range are coils for vehicles with electronic ignition systems. Your electronic ignition system may use two of these and you might want to replace both. The package you purchase has four, six, or eight coils, depending on the number of cylinders in your engine.
- $50-$75. These are coils for electronic or distributorless ignition systems. They fit mid-quality cars and trucks like Ford, Nissan, and Toyota with four, six, or eight cylinders.
- $75-$140. The coils in this range are for distributorless ignition systems also, but many are for high-end cars like Lexus, Lincoln, and Infiniti.
At their inception, manufacturers made coils with materials like paper, varnish, and asphalt or oil (for insulation). Today, manufacturers use epoxy. This eliminates any gaps in the windings that can cause problems. They also employ a diode to stop a reverse pulse that can form. Unless you’re restoring a vintage car and you want to keep everything original, it’s advisable to upgrade to more modern materials. If you are replacing a coil on an older vehicle or if you’re replacing one in a more current vehicle, seek out the best quality ignition coil made of the best materials.
The coil you choose to purchase must be the correct one for your vehicle. If not, it probably won’t fit and if it does, you can damage your engine if you install it. To help you make sure the ignition coil you choose is the correct one for your car or truck, many automobile websites automatically warn you of an incorrect fit if you provide the model, make, and year of your vehicle.
- Price. It bears repeating that you don’t want to pay more for a coil that does the same job, or a better job, than a more economically-priced coil. Read the product description for information about quality versus price. The customer reviews and the answers to questions also provide great information about the quality of the coil you are getting for the price.
- Brand Name. Brand names like Bosch, Motorcraft, and Delphi have been around for a long time for a reason—they make quality products. So usually it’s a better bet to buy a coil from a name-brand company that has a proven track record. However, if a coil you want is made by an “off” brand, and it fits, it does what it’s supposed to do, and has good reviews, these factors increase your chance of a satisfactory purchase.
Best Ignition Coil Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Always ensure you check fitment lists before purchasing ignition coils. Some coils may be incompatible with your car, resulting in breakage during installation. Most ignition coils come with a full list of compatible fitments.
- Ignition coils will typically operate for about 100,000 miles before they need to be replaced. However, to minimize inconveniences, check the status of your coils every time the check engine light comes on.
- We suggest buying more ignition coils than you need. A pack of eight is a great choice. To be on the safe side, keep an extra set just in case they need quick replacement.
- If possible, choose ignition coils with a longer warranty. You can always return or exchange them if they malfunction. The coils serve their purpose, and you have peace of mind.
Q: When should I replace my ignition coils?
A: When you start noticing more misfires, delayed starts, and poor fuel management, it may be time for ignition coil replacement.
Q: How do I ensure the maximum durability of my ignition coils?
A: Make sure your ignition coils are not exposed to extreme temperatures. Even your unused ignition coils need to be stored in a dry place free from excess moisture and heat.
Q: What causes misfiring?
A: When ignition coils don’t function optimally, fuel doesn't burn correctly, leading to lower revolutions per minute (RPM). You might notice intense vibrations after prolonged idling of the car.
Our pick for Best Overall, the Delphi GN10328 Ignition Coil, is engineered to meet OEM specs and is made from premium materials that provide great insulation.
For a slightly cheaper option, consider the ENA 8-Pack Ignition Coil Set.