Locksmith Help – How Your Car Ignition System Works

The car ignition is a complex system that starts your vehicle. To understand it better you need to understand the basics, which are as follows: the engine of your car combines air with fuel, sparking a tiny explosion known as the ignition.

A functioning ignition is critical to starting the engine of a car. A broken or missing component prevents you from going anywhere at all. If this is the case, car ignition repair is a service that you might consider.

To better understand the car ignition system, you need to learn about the different components in the system that work together. This system includes the ignition coil, distributor, distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs, and plug wires.


Ignition Coil  

The ignition coil uses battery power to produce a spark which ignites the fuel vapor. Most ignition coils contain two coils of wire, and these are called the primary and secondary windings. The primary winding ultimately creates the spark. The secondary winding sends the spark to the distributor.


Distributor, Distributor Cap, and Rotor  

The distributor does just as the name suggests, and very precisely ‘distributes’ the spark produced by the coil to the spark plugs. It does this by spinning the spark through what is known as the rotor. The rotor is connected to the distributor and therefore spins with it. Each car has a certain number of cylinders (usually between four and twelve), and as the rotor spins, it comes in contact with and sends the spark through each one. This spark travels through the contact point of the cylinder to the other end known as the plug wire.

car ignition system


Spark Plugs and Wires

The coil creates the spark, the distributor spins the spark to the rotor, and the rotor spins the spark to the spark plug wires. The plug wires then carry the spark to the spark plugs which screw onto the cylinder head. The spark plugs then create a hot blue spark that ignites the air and fuel vapor mixture until they combust, the ignition module regulates this process.

The ignition system is very complex, and even though the action of starting the ignition may seem like it happens in an instant, many components have to work in sync for the car to start.


Possible Reasons Why Your Ignition Isn’t Working


  • Dirt on the spark plug
  • Water within the plug
  • Corrosion of the ignition switch
  • Lack of coolant causing the engine to overheat
  • Uncharged battery
  • Defects in the ignition wire
  • Damage in your ignition switch
  • Damage to the key or key slot


While mechanical issues with one of the internal components of the ignition will likely need to be checked by a qualified mechanic, problems with the key or key slot can be repaired by a locksmith. They can also provide a new car key replacement if necessary. QLP Locksmith is a professional locksmith company that specializes in car lockout, car ignition repair, and key repair. If you are having trouble with your ignition, contact us, and we will send out one of our skilled technicians to resolve the problem and get you on the road again as soon as possible.