The rotor exists to send power from your ignition coil over to your spark plugs – which make sure that your plugs ignite to start the fuel combustion process. Each time it goes around, the metal parts of the rotor are contacting the ignition coil’s central cable, which is incredibly high-voltage. Once it has come into contact with the ignition coil, then it transfers the electricity to the spark plugs.

Rotors are built for years of service, but just like everything mechanical, they will eventually break down and occasional misfires will turn into an everyday occurrence at which point it will be time for a replacement. If the rotor does not spin as it should, then the spark timing is interrupted which can lead to stalling of your vehicle. Your car may also be unable to turn over or start shaking dramatically.

Here are some precautions when looking for your new rotor:

  • Minimize over-arcing: Look for a rotor that minimizes over-arcing to ensure that the rotor gives you longer service.

  • OEM parts are best: OEM parts are best when you’re considering distributor rotors. This is because rotors are specific to your vehicle, and some aftermarket parts do not fit to the precise specifications that you need for a solid fit.

  • Brass rotors: Brass rotor contacts will not break easily, nor will they succumb to corrosion as brass is a tensile metal. Brass is also a better conductor of heat and energy than steel.

  • Steel rotors: Steel rotor parts resist fatigue longer and are much more durable than those made out of brass.

  • Warranty: Check the warranty on whichever kind of distributor rotor you decide upon, to ensure that you receive years of worry-free service from this expensive part.

No matter which material you choose, be sure you’re getting the highest quality possible as a poor rotor or a poor fitting rotor can be a detriment to your vehicle’s overall operation.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality rotors to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a rotor that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on rotor replacement.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Rotor and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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