Your vehicle depends on electricity in order to run, and this electricity can be traced back to the spark plugs which create a spark to ignite the fuel. It’s a whole process, where each step depends on the other one working perfectly. If just one part is faulty or damaged, the whole system suffers. The spark that ignites knows which spark plug it belongs to thanks to the distributor's electronic ignition pickup. This data is then used by the engine control module in order to distinguish which of the ignition coils needs to send an electrical pulse.

While there is no set time that the electronic ignition pickup lasts for, it can definitely begin to fail. It is recommended that when you do a tune up and/or spark plug replacement, you have the electronic ignition pickup inspected. Whenever possible, it’s best to catch the problem before the part actually fails. Let's take a look at what some common signs are that your electronic ignition pickup is no longer working.

  • As you are driving you may notice a sudden loss of power and then a surge of power. This can make driving extremely dangerous, which is why you shouldn't wait to have the vehicle diagnosed.

  • Once the part fails you will find you're able to turn your engine over, but not get it started. While this may not be such a big deal if you're at home, imagine the frustration and inconvenience it will cause if you're out and this happens. You need to know that your car is reliable and will start whenever you need it to.

  • It should be noted that this particular problem can be quite hard to diagnose. The symptoms can be due to a number of reasons, so determining the exact cause can be tricky. It is not suggested you attempt to diagnose the problem yourself.

There are plenty of issues that can cause your engine to run rough, and even stop it from working. One of these issues is if your electronic ignition pickup fails and has completed its lifespan. Once this happens your car will become unreliable, so you’ll want to have it looked at immediately. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your electronic ignition pickup is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an electronic ignition pickup replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Electronic Ignition Pickup Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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