Ignition system

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to your ignition system. It's job is to see that each spark plug is fired at precisely the right moment and in the correct order. That's no easy task considering the spark plugs fire about ten thousand times a minute in a car traveling at highway speeds. The key parts include the battery, ignition switch, coil, distributor, spark plug wires and the spark plugs. When the ignition switch is turned on, power flows from the battery to the coil, where the voltage is raised to between twenty and forty thousand volts. This electricity is sent to the distributor where a spinning rotor acts as a high speed power switch activating each spark plug at exactly the right moment. The power reaches the spark plugs through the spark plug wires. Due to the destructive force of this high voltage, spark plugs and contacts within the distributor are eroded over time and must be replaced. However, new electronic ignition systems eliminate the need for breaker point distributors by using an electronic control module. More and more cars are being equipped with this highly reliable ignition system.

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