Will Driving A Car A Short Distance With A Bad Igntion Coil Say 1020 Miles Cause Further Damage

Posted in Ignition Systems | Asked on Feb 9, 2011

An ignition coil burned out in my 2003 audi a4 3.0 on my way home from work. I drove it probably another 10 miles after it burned out and I’m going to bring it to the repair shop today which is about 5 miles away. Is there a chance that I damage the car further by doing this? Should I have it towed instead? I’d really like to save the towing money if possible.

There are 5 Answers for "Will Driving A Car A Short Distance With A Bad Igntion Coil Say 1020 Miles Cause Further Damage"

  1. carparts21 says:

    Blazin has the right idea and is not trying to misinform you. I also believe it would be a good idea to go ahead and change the oil and filter after repairing the dead coil. I don’t think you will have to replace the spark plug(s) that aren’t firing because there will be no carbon to foul them since the spark is absent, it can’t burn anything. Since you are not going to be driving far before having it repaired, you won’t do any other damage. But just FYI, I have seen cars that had a bad coil fry the ignition module if left unrepaired for a long period of time. With the one(or more) cylinder not firing, the engine will be pumping the unburned air and fuel into the exhaust. If driven in this state for very long, you could over heat the catalyst. I imagine your check engine light probably on or flashing. If the misfire from the bad coil is bad enough, the light will flash meaning that it is a catalyst damaging misfire. If the misfire is not as severe, the light will be on steady. As for if you should tow or not, that’s your decision. It’s too bad you couldn’t disconnect the injector connector from the effected cylinder to prevent all that extra fuel from going into the catalyst. That’s what we do at work when we are doing misfire detection calibrations. Seeing how close you are to the repair shop, I would probably go ahead and drive it since you are concerned about saving the money. Just try not to accelerate too hard or idle too long in traffic. If you get stopped at a long traffic light, I would go ahead and shut off the engine.

  2. carparts21 says:

    What happens when someone shorts out a plug and then drives for the next six months. Not a lot, just a lot carbon. relax, lighten up. nothing should happen here, its just like a shorted out plug.

  3. carparts21 says:

    You will want to have them change the oil and filter. Depending on how many cylinders per coil you car has. With that coil not firing you will have one or more cylinders not firing. You will still have fuel being introduced into it / them. Some of the fuel will be pushed out into the exhaust system. It is possible for some to wash down the inside of the cylinder and mix with your oil. Thinning your oil out. If left and run for an extended period it could cause premature bearing wear. Also it is possible to foul the spark plug / plugs in the cylinder / cylinders not firing. As long as it is a reputable shop they should pull them, and check them out. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. This way they know you have somewhat of a clue.

    Re: loudizzle: First off jerk weed I am not a she! Second of all I have over 20 years in the automotive indutry. I have seen the above happen. Granted it was allot longer period of time as the woman didn’t have a clue her car was not firing on all 6 cylinders. She ran it for several months like this and ended up spinning a rod bearing. All the bearings were cooked bad. Before we pulled the motor we checked the oil level. The oil was over full by about three quarts of gasoline.
    There was no scaring intended. I was simply saying while its being fixed the oil should be changed for the above reason. Its not going to hurt it to drive it to the repair shop that short a distance.
    Second we all already know the car needs more than a tune up. The asker already told us one of the coils was bad.
    You must not have read that part of the question. Obviously you are here to spew your ignorance about knowledgeable answers, and give half a$$ed answers of your own.

  4. carparts21 says:

    no, you’ll not hurt it, it’s just underpowered…

  5. carparts21 says:

    the answer above me she is just trying to scare u and made up a big story when all u need is a tune up

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