Motorcycle Ignition Coil Failure Symptoms – How To Know If Your Ignition Coil Is Bad

As time goes by, your motorbike starts to show issues. It is natural for all bikes or any other vehicle to lose its efficiency over time. Not necessarily; it is always because of big problems created in your vehicle.

Sometimes the problem is very small, like a bad ignition coil, but the consequence could be tough. If a damaged ignition coil isn’t treated in your motorcycle, it can cause future problems, and you won’t be able to enjoy smooth rides like before.

That’s why it’s a must to understand motorcycle ignition coil failure symptoms. Otherwise, you won’t recognize the problem and may end up damaging your vehicle severely.

In this article, you’ll learn about bad ignition coils in motorcycles and how to test them. So, without further delay, let’s get into the details.

What Is A Motorcycle Ignition Coil?

What Is A Motorcycle Ignition Coil?

An ignition coil is a form of transformer in automobiles. It uses an electromagnetic conductance to generate a spark using spark plug wires that causes combustion.

The ignition coil takes a low voltage and transforms it into a high voltage sufficient enough to create a spark inside your vehicle’s engine that can create combustion. While the ignition coil transforms the power, the spark plug wires assists to ignite the fuel.

Inside motorcycles, the ignition coil consists of an Iron core. It has two parts, primary windings and secondary windings. Secondary windings are the closest to the Iron core.

Primary windings are thicker wires. They’re connected to the electrical components. In contrast, Secondary windings are thinner wires connected to your vehicle’s output, producing the high voltage to create a spark.

What Does An Ignition Coil Do On A Motorcycle?

What Does An Ignition Coil Do On A Motorcycle

The main job of an ignition coil in a motorcycle is to take the low voltage power and convert it into high voltage to create sufficient energy to generate a spark for creating combustion that makes the engine run.

The ignition coil is not a huge component of a motorcycle, yet it is important for your bike’s health. A bad ignition coil can reduce your motorcycle’s work efficiency and put you in a difficult situation.

That’s why check on the ignition coil whenever you feel your bike is having issues. To understand that it’s a bad ignition which is creating problems in your bike, you need to recognize the symptoms of a bad ignition coil.

Now, let’s learn motorcycle ignition coil failure symptoms in detail.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Ignition Coil On A Motorcycle

Motorcycle Ignition Coil Failure Symptoms

How can you tell if the issue is in your motorcycle’s ignition coil? Well, the best way to tell it is by testing the coils. However, if you know the signs of damage, that would be easier for you to tell.

Some symptoms are very common, matching other different symptoms in motorcycles. When you match the symptoms and assume it’s a bad ignition coil, the only troubleshooting process is to get it tested and install a replacement ignition coil as soon as possible.

Motorcycle Ignition Coil Failure Symptoms are-

  • Engine Misfire

Engine misfiring is the most common symptom of a bad ignition coil. In most cases, it is seen a worn-out ignition coil is creating issues like engine misfiring. So, you must be very careful about it.

Automobile engines run maintaining sequences. The same goes with your motorcycle. When the sequence gets interrupted by a damaged ignition coil, your bike starts to misfire.

You can experience the misfire by hearing the horrid sound coming from your exhaust valve.

Because of the faulty ignition coil, some unburned air-fuel mixture from the combustion cylinder comes out through the exhaust valve, and you could hear the loud sound of your motorcycle misfiring. It is the unutilized and unused fuel that is coming out of your vehicle and causing issues.

  • Rough Idle

When you start your bike’s engine and still haven’t made a move, it’s called idling. If an ignition coil is bad, you will experience rough idling. You’ll also hear noises as an expression for rough idling.

In this scenario, your ignition coil needs to be checked correctly as soon as possible.

  • Excessive Vibration While Accelerating

Suppose you’re in the middle of a ride on a highway. And you decided to accelerate your bike a bit to go faster. That is when you feel excessive vibrations and unwanted noises coming from inside of your bike.

It could happen because of a bad ignition coil. Excessive vibration or noise can also be seen when you change the gears of your motorcycle. That is also a sign that your bike’s ignition coil has worn out.

  • Decreased Power

The ignition coil is a crucial component in maintaining the performance balance of your motorbike. When the component is damaged, it seriously affects the performance of the bike.

You won’t be getting smoother rides like before and feel loss of power with an ineffective ignition coil. The power will be decreased as well. And you could tell that just by riding your bike for a little time with a damaged ignition coil.

  • Difficulty Starting Engine

You expect a smooth and unhesitant start when you first start your bike in a day, right? But, a faulty ignition coil is enough to hurt your expectations. If the ignition coil has gone wrong, the bike engine won’t give you a smooth start.

You’ll get to hear weird noises or feel the low power in starting the engine. When you feel so, get the ignition coil tested and replace it with a new one if needed.

  • Check Engine Light

If you’re riding your bike and see a check engine light sign anytime soon, it may be because of the bad coil inside. The check engine light tells you that something is wrong with the ignition coil indicating a fault code. 

How Do You Test An Ignition Coil?

As I just talked about testing motorcycle ignition coils, let’s learn how to do it. Follow the step by step guide below to test an ignition coil in a bike.

testing motorcycle ignition coils,

Step 1:

To test the ignition coil, you’ll require a digital multimeter. It is not necessary to get a costly multimeter. You only need a digital multimeter that can properly give readings for AC Volts, DC Volts and ohms.

Step 2:

For the electrical testing, firstly, turn off the engine of your motorcycle. Let it cool down.

Step 3:

Now, isolating and de-energize the ignition coil means disconnecting and detaching the component from your vehicle’s body.

Step 4:

Next, take the multimeter and place it in the ohms position. Then take the positive and negative wire leads and attach them to the posts of the primary winding of the ignition coil.

Generally, you can get a reading of 0.2 ohms all the way up to 5 ohms. Switching lead wire sides is not an issue in this case. You’ll still get the correct reading.

Step 5:

Then check the secondary winding of the ignition coil accordingly. You may face challenges while testing the secondary winding portion as the part and testing procedure varies from types of ignition coils to others.

There’re single ignition coil and dual chord ignition coil. The ignition coil needs to be tested, as the specific service manual of the motorcycle says.

So, make sure you go through it sincerely and work according to it. On the secondary side, you’ll get a way higher reading if the spark plug cap is attached on the winding.

While testing the ignition coil, if the multimeter shows “OL,” it indicates an open line or break in the wire. It means the ignition coil has gone bad. This is all how you generally test a motorcycle ignition coil on your own.

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How do you know if your motorcycle coil is bad?

You can tell if your motorcycle ignition coil is bad just by riding it. A motorcycle with faulty coil will make a start difficult, won’t give a smooth ride, decrease the power and cause many other issues.

How often should ignition coils be replaced?

Ignition coils should be replaced only when it requires a replacement. That means these are not being replaced or serviced over time. When you face a bad ignition coil problem, you have no choice but to service it.
Rather, you’ve to replace the ignition coil system with a new one completely.

What happens when ignition coils fail?

The ignition coil issues can cause different problems in your vehicle. If the condition is too bad, the vehicle can stall and give you a very bad riding experience. Besides, it’ll give you poor fuel economy, which can cost you more.

Final Words

Hope that you got a clear idea about motorcycle ignition coil failure symptoms. Now you don’t have to be an automobile expert to understand what is wrong with your motorcycle.

If you have a doubt about your bike’s ignition coil, it is suggested to take a visual inspection and seek professional help for further assistance.

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