how many volts does a car ignition coil put out

by:Haiyan     2023-07-14

How Many Volts Does a Car Ignition Coil Put Out?


The car's ignition system plays a crucial role in starting and powering the engine. One of the key components of this system is the ignition coil, responsible for generating the high voltage required to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of a car's ignition coil and explore the average voltage output it can deliver.

Understanding the Ignition Coil:

The ignition coil is an electromagnetic device that converts the low voltage from the car's battery into a much higher voltage required for the ignition process. It serves as a transformer, step-upping the battery voltage to several thousand volts needed to create a spark at the spark plugs.

1. How Does the Ignition Coil Work?

Inside the ignition coil, there are primary and secondary windings coiled around a core made of ferromagnetic material. When the ignition switch is turned on, current flows through the primary winding, creating a magnetic field around the core. As the current is interrupted, for instance, when the ignition points open or an electronic control unit (ECU) signals the coil, the magnetic field collapses. This rapid change in the magnetic field induces a high voltage in the secondary winding through electromagnetic induction.

2. Voltage Output Range:

The voltage output range of an ignition coil varies based on the make and model of the vehicle. However, on average, an ignition coil can put out anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 volts. Some high-performance vehicles may have ignition coils capable of reaching voltages as high as 50,000 volts or more. It's important to note that while the ignition coil generates a high voltage, it wouldn't be possible without the initial low voltage provided by the car's battery.

3. Factors Affecting Voltage Output:

Several factors can influence the voltage output of a car's ignition coil. Firstly, the current flowing through the primary winding plays a significant role. If the current is insufficient, the magnetic field created will be weaker, resulting in a lower voltage output. Consequently, a faulty power supply to the ignition coil can lead to starting issues or misfires.

Secondly, the number of secondary windings affects the voltage output as well. More windings lead to a higher voltage output. However, it's important to maintain a balance between the number of windings and the available space within the coil, as an excessive number of turns can result in performance issues due to increased resistance.

4. Importance of a Well-Functioning Ignition Coil:

The ignition coil is a critical component of the vehicle's ignition system. A well-functioning ignition coil ensures a consistent and strong spark, enabling the smooth operation of the engine. If the ignition coil starts to fail, it can lead to a range of issues such as engine misfires, difficulty starting the vehicle, decreased fuel efficiency, and even damage to the catalytic converter. Therefore, regular maintenance and timely replacement of a faulty ignition coil are crucial.

5. Diagnostic and Testing Methods:

To determine the health and performance of an ignition coil, various diagnostic methods can be employed. One commonly used technique involves using a digital multimeter to measure the resistance of the primary and secondary windings. This test helps to identify any problems with the coil's winding or internal short circuits. Additionally, specialized testing equipment, such as an oscilloscope, can be used to analyze the strength and duration of the spark produced by the ignition coil.


The ignition coil is an indispensable component of a car's ignition system, responsible for generating the high voltage required to ignite the fuel-air mixture. Understanding the average voltage output of an ignition coil, factors that affect it, and the importance of its proper functioning is crucial for the overall performance and reliability of the vehicle. Regular maintenance and inspections will help ensure that the ignition coil is in good shape, enabling a smooth and efficient driving experience.

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