How To Fix- Bad Distributor Symptoms

How To Fix- Bad Distributor Symptoms

A malfunctioning engine distributor won’t ignite, preventing engine startup or causing engine failure. For the ignition system to operate, the engine distributor must be efficient.

Distributors might have several issues. Wear and tear are frequent causes. In addition, the distributor’s hostile environment might create complications. With a discussion on bad distributor symptoms, in this article, you will also get to know how a distributor works.

Symptoms Of A Bad Distributor Cap (& Replacement Cost)

How to fix- bad distributor symptoms

If your car has any of these signs, you may be correct. However, because other issues might create the same symptoms as a damaged distributor cap, you should diagnose the car before making repairs.

Can a bad distributor cause loss of power? Here are some symptoms of a bad distributor:

1. Rough Running, Misfiring

Worn terminals, corrosion, fractures, and carbon tracking may prevent electricity from reaching spark plugs. As a result, the engine misfires run rough, and lack performance.

2. Warning Light On

The engine computer checks for misfires on automobiles produced after 1996 (and some before). If the PCM detects a misfire, it will switch on the check engine light and save a diagnostic issue code.

3. Startup Troubles

Distributor cap issues may cause misfiring, harsh running, and difficulties starting.

4. The Engine Won’t Start

Cracks, a worn center terminal, or excessive carbon tracking might cause a cranking but non-starting engine.

How Does A Distributor Work?

Distributor caps and rotors carry electricity from ignition coils to engine cylinders to ignite fuel-air combinations and powerful engines. The coil connects to the rotor, which rotates within the distributor cap.

Here are some of the distributor works:

  • The distributor shaft spins the cam and rotor.
  • When the cam pushes the contact breaker’s cam follower, the contact points open and close the primary winding’s current.
  • It increases the secondary winding’s voltage. As a result, the distributor’s center terminal receives the high-voltage current.
  • Carbon bush carries electricity from the center terminal to the rotor’s edges as the rotor passes the spark plug’s internal connection in the distributor cap, high voltage electrical pulses (or surge) flow to the spark plug and spark the cylinder head.
  • The distributor sparks each plug in the precise order and time. So operates the ignition distributor.

How To Fix Bad Distributor Symptoms?

How to fix- bad distributor symptoms

The distributor may be little, but it’s vital to a car’s operation. You wouldn’t want a vehicle with a faulty distributor. Problems might arise when driving. Learn to recognize a defective distributor before the situation worsens. Here are 6 bad distributor symptoms.

1. The Car Won’t Start

An automobile starts in a particular order. The battery powers the engine when you turn the key. The engine may then draw air and fuel. As gasoline enters the engine, spark plugs utilize electrical current to burn it and initiate the combustion process that drives your automobile.

The spark plugs can only ignite the gasoline mix with a functional distributor. Fuel pumps, ignition switches, starters, fuel injectors, alternators, spark plugs, and more might cause automobile problems. Before hiring a new distributor, consider alternative options.

2. Your Engine Misfires

A cylinder misfires when gasoline doesn’t burn. Misfires feel jerky. They are starting, idling, or accelerating causes it.

Like backfiring, unburned gasoline leaves a cylinder and ignites when it reaches the next spark plug. Backfiring causes are stalling.

3. Your Car Is Shaking

Shaking may be caused by several vehicle faults, notably wheels and tires. A faulty distributor may impact how the distributor rotor rotates, causing shaking. An unfired engine might also cause shaking.

4. Check Engine Light Illuminates

The engine light illuminates when the car’s computer detects an engine problem. Computers track firing cycles. A faulty distributor that causes fuel ignition troubles will likely trigger the check engine light.

5. The Engine Makes A High-Pitched Noise

Bad distributor symptoms include noises. For example, a faulty distributor may generate a high-pitched screeching noise when your engine misfires or backfires. This noise is caused by dirt and oil residues blocking the distributor’s bearings.

6. The Last Emissions Test Failed

Unburned gasoline might leave the engine if a malfunctioning distributor affects cylinder firing. In addition, bad distributors may cause vehicles to fail state emissions tests. A failed emissions test might have several causes.

Common Bad Distributor Symptoms

How to fix- bad distributor symptoms

Here are some common signs of a bad distributor:

  • If the distributor cap isn’t on tightly, your automobile may not start.
  • Misfires may indicate several engine faults. For example, a malfunctioning distributor is a typical cause of misfires.
  • Shaking when the engine is running is a typical distributor symptom.
  • Exhaust backfiring or stalling when coasting is a sign of a faulty distributor.
  • Another sign of a faulty distributor is high-pitched bearing sounds.
  • In addition to the engine stalling, the car may be hard to start.
  • The engine control unit (ECU) detects incorrect combustion and illuminates the check engine light.
  • An irregular RPM is another sign of a faulty distributor. If RPMs are off, examine your distributor rotor and cap.

Tools You Will Need To Test A Distributor

  • A Ratchet
  • A Ratcheting Socket
  • A Magnetic Screwdriver
  • Spark Plug
  • Light Or Spark Tester
  • Multimeter Or Volt Meter
  • A Flashlight

Explain All Tools 

1. A Ratchet

A ratchet provides continuous linear or rotational motion in one direction but not the other. Machines and tools employ ratchets.

2. A Ratcheting Socket

A ratchet’s square-drive handle snaps into a socket. The socket accommodates a fastener. A mechanism in the ratchet engages and tightens the fastener when the handle is turned clockwise.

3. A Magnetic Screwdriver

Magnetic screwdrivers are precision screwdrivers with a magnet. Computers and electronics utilize these screwdrivers—electronic-safe magnetic screwdrivers.

4. Spark Plug

The part that fits into the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine and has two electrodes separated by an air gap. Current from the ignition system discharges across the gap to create the combustion spark.

5. Light Or Spark Tester

An ignition spark tester checks whether electrical current reaches your engine’s spark plug. This current detonates air and fuel in the cylinder to produce power.

6. Multimeter Or Volt Meter

Multimeters measure voltage, current, resistance, etc. For example, a voltmeter measures the voltage between two points in an electric circuit.

7. A Flashlight

Flashing may recognize other drivers’ activities. For example, flashing may indicate a car is giving the right of way, such as at a stop sign junction. In addition, flashing may alert drivers of risks like damaged automobiles or police speed traps.


1. How to spot a failing distributor?

Here are some significant reasons:

  • In this case, starting your automobile is impossible.
  • The problem with your engine is that it keeps stalling or reversing.
  • It seems like something is rattling around in your automobile.
  • The vehicle’s malfunction indicator light has been turned on.
  • Something loud and shrill is coming from the engine.
  • The last time you had your emissions tested, you failed.
  • Impregnation with carbon and deterioration due to corrosion.

2. How can you tell if you have a bad distributor?

Overrun, timing and speed miss, engine misfires, and failure to start result from poor connection points. Check the surface of the sites of contact very carefully.

If you suspect deterioration or rust, you should check it out. If you see any signs of wear, such as blackened points, corroded contacts, or a deteriorated block, it’s time to get a new one.

3. How do I know if I need to replace my distributor?

A conventional distributor’s housing and gear drive should last the car’s lifespan. However, its parts, such as the rotor, cap, and points, wear out quickly. As a result, older vehicles often need to replace these parts every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

4. Can a bad distributor cause loss of power?

Yes, bad distributor cause loss of power. However, when compared to today’s reliable solid-state ignition systems, the distributor in an older vehicle’s engine has to be among the most frustrating components to deal with.

Poor starting, misfiring, low power, and, um, getting stranded on the side of the road are just some of the issues that may arise from a lack of routine inspection and maintenance.

Check More Posts:

5 thoughts on “How To Fix- Bad Distributor Symptoms”

  1. Очень трендовые новости мира fashion.
    Абсолютно все события самых влиятельных подуимов.
    Модные дома, бренды, haute couture.
    Интересное место для модных хайпбистов.


Leave a Comment