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Motorcycle Ignition Coils

When a motorcycle has ignition problems, the ignition coils are sometimes responsible. These small parts, which are connected to the plug wiring, are usually found beneath the gas tank. When your coils are damaged, motorcycle riders have plenty of replacement options.

How do ignition coils fit into the bike's ignition system?

The coils have an important role in the bike's main circuit and secondary circuit. Each coil has a positive and negative terminal; the primary windings, which operate at a low voltage, run between these two terminals. The ignition coils supply a higher voltage for the secondary circuit, which is comprised of the secondary windings, the spark plugs, and the spark plug wires.

What are signs of faulty ignition coils?

When ignition coils go bad, motorcycles have problems starting. This is because the coils are responsible for increasing the battery voltage to the level needed to spark the fireplug. If the voltage is insufficient, the motorcycle may require several tries before it starts, or it may not start at all. Engine stalling and poor gas performance are also indicators.

How do you test for faulty ignition coils?

Many motorcycle drivers are hesitant to examine their vehicle's electrical system, as they're intricate. However, it's easy to check the status of the ignition coils. This is done by:

  • Checking the service manual. It should have information about the appropriate resistance measurements for the motorcycle's ignition coils.
  • Using a multimeter to assess the resistance levels. There are two important readings: the resistance between the ground wire and the primary wire and the resistance between the ground wire and the plug wire. If the resistance levels don't meet the standards found in the manual, the ignition coil is faulty.
How do you select new ignition coils?

When coils go bad, replacement is the only option because these parts are water-tight and sealed, which means that they can't be repaired. If testing suggests that the coils are broken, bikers have several options:

  • Branded ignition coils: Riders can select coils made by their vehicle's manufacturer. It's possible to find coils made by Harley Davidson, Kawasaki, BMW, Yamaha, Honda, and other distributors. However, be sure to find the exact components for their bikes, which will ensure the right fit.
  • Unbranded ignition coils: While these options may not be tailored to individual vehicles, they are still compatible with a wide array of motorcycles. In some cases, however, bikers may have to use extra parts or components to ensure a good fit. That's because aftermarket coils aren't designed to match up to every stock mount. Extra brackets are usually enough to ensure compatibility.