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Want to learn more about Car Distributor repairs?

Read our short guide with information on costs, symptoms and more.

What does a Distributor do?

Older cars are usually fitted with a distributor, which is a device that distributes the electric energy from the iginition coil to the car's spark plugs situated in the engine's cylinders, which turn the electricity into a spark. Modern cars, on the other hand, usually have engines with direct ignition.

The distributor's two main components are the distributor rotor and cap. The rotor rotates within the distributor and distributes the high voltage electricity by way of contact points to the spark plug leads that are attached to the distributor cap. In turn the spark plug leads send the electricity to the spark plugs.

How do you know there is something wrong with the Distributor?

  • When the engine does not run smoothly.
  • When the 'Check Engine' light on the dashboard of your car is illuminated.
  • When the engine does not start.
  • When the engine's cylinders appear to misfire.
  • When there are unusual noises coming from the engine.

When should you consider a Distributor replacement?

Over time the rotor and cap's condition can deteriorate due to wear. The cap and the contact points inside can, for example, be affected by erosion or corrosion. Equally, carbon can build up inside the rotor cap on and around the contact points, diverting electricity from the points. Both lead to a decreased electric current to run from the rotor arm through the contact points, in turn leading to a diminished spark at the spark plug. Misfires inside the engine can then occur.

The condensor is instrumental in creating a flat electricity flow to the spark plugs, decreasing the voltage as well as absorbing undesirable voltage peaks created by the coil. It stores electricity from the coil when the distributor's contact points are open and releases it each time contact points close. If the condensor inside the distributor is faulty, the condensor cannot absorb the excess electricity from the coil. A faulty condensor can lead to excessive wear on the contact points and spark plugs as well as engine misfires.

It is therefore important to service the distributor as and when stipulated in the guidelines set out by your car's manufacturer. It is essential that the distributor is kept in a good condition, this should contribute to a prolonged distributor lifespan.

Should you experience problems like those noted earlier then it is important to have the distributor inspected and, if necessary, have it replaced.

What happens during a Distributor replacement?

  • Mechanic will inspect the ignition system.
  • If necessary, the mechanic will replace the distributor.
  • Mechanic will recalibrate the ignition timing.
  • Mechanic will advise if any other parts need to be replaced.
  • Mechanic will check the ignition system and test drive the car.
  • Mechanic will make any adjustments to the ignition if necessary.

What is a car distributor?

The distributor is part of the car's ignition system and plays a critical role in the ignition process. The distributor receives high voltage from the ignition coil to spark the individual spark plugs in the right order at the right time.

What are the symptoms of a bad distributor?

The most common symptoms of a faulty distributor are as follows:

  • Car fails to start because the distributor is unable to spark and kickstart the combustion process.
  • Engine misfires
  • Stalling of the vehicle.
  • If the distributor cap is malfunctioning, then you may also hear strange tapping or sputtering sounds from the engine.

Most modern cars no longer have a distributor and ignition is controlled via the ECU.

Can you drive a car with a bad distributor?

With a bad or faulty distributor you may be able to start the car but it is likely to cause misfires and engine stalling. In some cases, a bad distributor will fail to start the car. It is highy recommended to get a faulty distributor checked and repaired if needed by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

How much does a Distributor replacement cost?

The cost of a distributor replacement depends on your car and what parts your car's manufacturer recommends using for the replacement. Find out what you could save by having your distributor replaced by Clickmechanic, by selecting your car at the top of this page!

Check out the ClickMechanic price for a car distributor repair, and find out what you would pay at a franchise dealer. We use industry standard data & millions of data points so you know what you should be paying. These estimates may include Distributor. We have car distributor repair prices for 7 different manufacturers.

Name ClickMechanic Click Mechanic average Franchise dealer estimate

Audi

£156 £236 - £236 Get exact price

Honda

£398 £481 - £490 Get exact price

Nissan

£354 £454 - £462 Get exact price

Peugeot

£355 £457 - £476 Get exact price

Rover

£701 £843 - £874 Get exact price

Vauxhall

£199 £283 - £284 Get exact price

Volkswagen

£282 £379 - £432 Get exact price

Prices could not be created for 73 models. Show ∨

  • Microcar
  • Metrocab
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Hummer
  • Jeep
  • Reva
  • Asia
  • TVR
  • Ferrari
  • Morgan
  • Buick
  • Lamborghini
  • Pontiac
  • Carbodies
  • DS
  • Mitsubishi Fuso
  • Moskvich
  • Bentley
  • Cadillac
  • LDV
  • Ford US
  • Aixam
  • Austin
  • Daewoo
  • Daimler
  • Dodge
  • FSO
  • Iveco
  • Maybach
  • MG
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Santana
  • Tata
  • Great Wall
  • Chrysler
  • Piaggio
  • Perodua
  • Volvo
  • Infiniti
  • Dacia
  • Porsche
  • Aston Martin
  • BMW
  • Chevrolet
  • Citroen
  • Daihatsu
  • Ford
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Fiat
  • Hyundai
  • Isuzu
  • Jaguar
  • Kia
  • Lada
  • Lancia
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Lotus
  • Maserati
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Proton
  • Renault
  • Saab
  • Skoda
  • Ssangyong
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Toyota
  • London Taxi's International
  • MINI
  • SEAT
  • Smart

Estimates on repair costs, such as the above results for a car distributor repair, are created by combining data from multiple third-party sources. The actual cost of using your local repair providers may be outside of the estimated range. We provide estimates on repair costs for information only and accept no liability for any inaccuracies or errors. If you think an estimate is incorrect, please contact us to let us know.

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