How Do I Test an Electronic Ignition?

To test an electronic ignition module, you have to connect it to a digital volt-ohm meter and turn it on. You will need a digital volt-ohm meter or digital multimeter, a vehicle wiring diagram, the vehicle's ignition key, insulated gloves and safety glasses. This procedure takes about 20 minutes and requires two people.

  1. Locate the ignition

    Consult the vehicle's wiring diagram and locate the ignition. Expose the ignition and use the diagram to visually identify its wires and terminals. Put on insulated safety gloves and turn the vehicle off before you touch the wires.

  2. Connect the ignition to a digital volt-ohm meter

    Put on safety glasses. Fasten the ohmmeter's negative wire to the vehicle frame. Direct your partner to insert the vehicle key into the ignition and attempt to start it. While your partner turns the key, insert the ohmmeter into the ignition terminals and monitor its display.

  3. Interpret the results

    If the ohmmeter does not detect an electrical current, your ignition module has failed and requires replacement. If the meter detects a current, the problem is not in the ignition module itself. In many of these cases, the root of the problem lies in or around the spark plugs.