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Common Problems With an Ignition Module

by Horacio Garcia

The ignition module is the middle part of the ignition system which sends a signal from the key switch to a sensor on the distributor. Without this ignition module, the automobile will not start or cause the automobile to stall during acceleration. Common problems with the ignition module can create havoc with determining the proper repairs.

Electrical Short

The ignition module can be located anywhere along the ignition system, including right outside the distributor or inside the distributor. Either place can be contaminated with road debris or chemicals that cause the ignition module to corrode. When the ignition module corrodes, it shorts out the circuits and causes the automobile to stall or not start. After checking all other probable causes such as the battery, cables or starter, the ignition module needs to be replaced. The ignition module is a wearable component and will need to be replaced eventually, but once symptoms begin to develop, the module must be replaced in order to prevent further damage to the motor or other ignition components.

Signal Interruption

The ignition module sends a signal to a sensor and then into the computer to determine the timing or firing sequence of the engine. When the signal is interrupted, the timing of the vehicle is not maintained and the automobile will misfire. This signal interruption is attributed to a failing ignition module which initiates a signal when the key is engaged and then sends another signal to the distributor. The ignition module needs to be replaced once other factors such as the spark plug wires failing or the spark plugs requiring replacement, both of which create the same symptoms as signal interruption of the ignition module.

Airflow Sensor Wire

Another common problem with the ignition module is dirt or fuel affecting the wiring on the airflow sensor. When this wire is clogged or corroded with dirt or fuel, the airflow sensor does not receive the ignition module signals in order to start the automobile. The airflow sensor monitors the vacuum within the engine, and the ignition module requires this information to time the firing of the engine properly. When the airflow sensor wire is dirty, it does not provide enough information for the ignition module to work properly, or the airflow sensor will send intermittent information to the ignition module, causing starting problems. The airflow sensor wire can be cleaned with an engine cleaner or electronics cleanser spray.

About the Author

Horacio Garcia has been writing since 1979, beginning his career as the spokesperson for Trinity Broadcast Network. Within 10 years Garcia was being called upon to write speeches and scripts for several state and federal congressmen, local broadcast networks and publications such as "Readers Digest." He received his bachelor's degree in public relations from Argosy University.

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