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What Causes the Ignition Coil in a VW to go Bad?

What Causes the Ignition Coil in a VW to go Bad?

If your Volkswagen cannot use the ignition coils, your car simply will not run. More often, however, one or more of the coils goes bad, leaving you with a very rough running engine. The ignition coils play a crucial role in the engine’s combustion process, providing the electricity to the spark plugs so that they can ignite the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders. There is one ignition coil per cylinder, so if you have a Volkswagen Golf, for example, you have a four cylinder engine with a total of four ignition coils.

Let’s go over the causes and symptoms of bad ignition coils so you know when to suspect possible failure or damage and get your Volkswagen serviced.

Causes and Symptoms of Bad Ignition Coils in Volkswagen

The causes behind ignition coil failure involve problems with the coil itself, contamination, and/or electrical and wiring issues. Sometimes the coil gets damaged, such as the insulation or windings within the coil. If this happens, the coil cannot function properly if it can at all.

Contamination, such as moisture from oil leaks, can also lead to failure of your ignition coils when said oil reaches the coil itself or the wiring attached to it. Additionally, the wiring itself can be damaged, leading to an inability for current to travel normally.

Your Volkswagen might also have an issue with the battery, leading to various electrical problems in the vehicle, which includes the ignition coils.

Of course, an ignition coil is not immortal, either. It might wear out over time and overheat, which can short the circuits needed for functionality. It is clear there are several possible causes of ignition coil problems, so it is best to have a qualified professional inspect your vehicle to ensure the correct diagnosis is made and proper repairs done.

Watch for these Warning Signals of a Bad Ignition Coil

Check engine light

If your check engine light pops up on your dashboard (often abbreviated CEL), it might be related to the ignition coils. Most if not all automotive service centers have scanners to extract the engine code. Note that a CEL is a general warning, and the light being on alone does not pinpoint the problem to your coils.

Hard to start

You might have a difficult time getting your Volkswagen to start at all. This can also be due to problems with things like the battery and starter motor as well, so it is important to keep in mind that many symptoms of ignition coil failure are also common signs of other issues.

Rough running

When you do get your car started, you will likely experience harsh running conditions. For example, the car might stall frequently or hesitate when you try to accelerate. You might find that the overall performance of your car has decreased.

One particular problem is called a misfire, which is due to incomplete or absent combustion in one or more cylinders. In other words, your Volkswagen is not firing on all cylinders, meaning your engine is running only partially. You might be able to hear this as well in that the engine might sound like it is skipping or “missing” during idle or while in motion.

Fuel economy

Your Volkswagen is likely to see a reduction in miles-to-the-gallon, as well. You may be able to check this on your car’s dashboard if it is equipped with a way to review metrics such as average gas mileage and average speed driven. Consult your owner’s manual to check whether or not you have this feature. Regardless, you are likely to take note if you have to fill up on gas more than you used to.

Bavarian Auto for Your Volkswagen’s Ignition Coil Service

Bavarian Auto has been Chattanooga’s choice Volkswagen Ignition Coil Service for services and repairs for import vehicles since 1981! We also serve the communities in and around Ooltewah and Hixton. Our ASE certified master technicians have over 120 years combined experience with import vehicles and use the latest equipment. We are a family-owned business and make a point of treating our customers like family!

Call 423-499-8800 or see us in person to schedule an appointment. Our address is 6150 Enterprise Park Dr. Chattanooga, TN 37416. Our hours are Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM.