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There's a mini-whirlwind right inside your car: the distributor rotor. The rotor's main purpose is to send the right amount of power from your ignition coil to your spark plugs to ensure that your spark plugs will deliver the sparks needed by your engine to start the fuel combustion process. As it rotates, the rotor's metal parts come into contact with the ignition coil's central high-voltage cable before it passes close enough to the output contacts that transfer the electricity to the spark plugs. While a stock rotor is generally built for lasting service, long years of use can lead to occasional misfires. Give it some more time and soon you'll need to replace this component completely. When that time comes, we recommend that you go for a replacement rotor that's specifically built for your vehicle's year, make, and model. In short, always make sure that your replacement rotor is of exact OEM specifications. That way, your new rotor will be perfectly compatible with your distributor assembly. If you can, you should also look for a rotor that's known to minimize electric over-arcing. This ensures that the rotor is built to give you longer-lasting service compared to the run-of-the-mill replacement rotors on the market. Rotors with brass-tipped terminals are also recommended because they help maximize electrical conductivity for quicker and more effective power transfers. To find the right distributor rotor for your vehicle and guarantee a smooth car start, check out the wide selection of replacement and performance rotors at the Auto Parts Warehouse catalog now.
Finding the Right Distributor Rotor for your Ride
Underneath the distributor cap, the rotor spins to distribute the spark to respective cylinders. If the rotor fails to spin properly, spark timing will be disrupted, causing your car to stall. A bad distributor rotor also makes your car shake drastically and your engine unable to turn over. You don't want to experience such driving inconveniences, do you? So, you'd better replace your distributor rotor at the right interval or as soon as you observe the first sign of failure. Since it is crucial to your ignition system, you have to make sure that the replacement you'll get is efficient enough and will offer the best value for your bucks.
Contact material: brass vs. steel
The rotor spins past several contacts to pass on the high voltage coming from the coil into the right cylinder, so you should purchase a replacement that's outfitted with high-quality contact material. It must be corrosion resistant and precision machined to ensure precise gap for accurate delivery of spark. The most common distributor rotor contact materials are:
Brass. Since brass is a tensile metal, rotor contacts made from it won't easily break and succumb to corrosion. Compared to steel, brass is also better in conducting heat and energy.
Steel. Distributor rotor contacts that are made out of steel are more durable, and they ensure longer fatigue life.
Other factors to consider
- High quality materials
If the rotor is spring loaded, make sure that the springs are resistant to corrosion and are able to provide unrestricted flow of energy. Rotors with features or materials that protect them against arcing and cross firing are a great buy.
- Impact resistance
If you often use your ride in demanding driving conditions, such as racing and off-roading, you should purchase an impact-resistant rotor.
Most of the time, a rotor that's backed by longer manufacturer warranty is more durable than the ones that are offered with the industry-mandated standard warranty for auto parts.
- Attachment style
If you're a novice DIYer, it pays to get a rotor that ensures easy installation, with no modifications required.
The product's features, quality, and warranty will determine if it is worth your bucks. While high-quality and durable units come more expensive, they can save you from frequently replacing your rotor in the future. So if you don't want to end up spending more in the long run, you'd better shell out extra bucks now for a superior-quality rotor.
Distributor Rotor: Getting Rid of your Gone-Bad Unit to Make Way for a New One
Is your car shaking more than normal when in idle? It could be because the rotor within the distributor cap has gone bad. If the rotor fails to spin properly, ignition timing will be disrupted, making your vehicle stall or the engine unable to turn over. If this happens, you'd better get rid of your gone-bad rotor and have it replaced with a new one.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Replacement rotor
- Socket set
Step 1: Park your vehicle in a well-lit, clutter-free area. Put your gloves on and open the hood.
Step 2: Disengage the negative battery cable. Using a wrench, loosen the bolt and detach the clamp that secures the spark plugs in place. Pull out the spark plugs. Mark the wires first before you take them off the cap. Slowly remove the cap from the distributor.
Step 3: Remove the rotor from the distributor by dismantling it. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws. Lift the rotor from the shaft and set it aside.
Step 4: Check the new rotor before you place it in the shaft. It must be clean and all its parts must be intact. Install the replacement rotor in place and secure it with screws.
Step 5: Reinstall the cap onto the distributor. With a screwdriver, securely snap the cap into its place. Reconnect the wires you've taken off in Step 2. Since they were marked, it will be easy for you to plug these wires into the right slots.
Step 6: Reconnect the cable to the battery's negative terminal to reestablish connection with the battery.
Step 7: Insert the spark plugs into their respective spots. This is actually the most crucial part of distributor rotor installation because it can harm the engine if not done properly.
Step 8: Put the clamp back into its place. Using a wrench, tighten the bolts to secure the clamp.
Step 9: Close the hood and start the engine to find out if your new distributor rotor works well. Take your ride out for a test drive.
Replacing the distributor rotor should actually be part of your routine maintenance. It pays to replace the distributor cap and rotor every time you change your spark plugs and ignition wires. It's a good thing that in most vehicles, this task can be accomplished in a breeze even by a novice DIYer.