Point Set and Condenser - Ignition


  • Older vehicles may be equipped with breaker point switching mechanisms (also known as point sets). To inspect the mechanism, remove the distributor cap and rotor.
  • Check the points and condenser to make sure they are securely fastened.
  • Push the breaker points open with a screwdriver and check the condition of the contact surfaces. Badly oxidized (blackened) or pitted points should be replaced.
  • Over time, points get burned. This can cause intermittent misfiring that will probably not be noticed until there is a complete breakdown.
  • Points have a rubbing block that rides against the distributor cam. When this rubbing block wears down, the point gap becomes narrower. This retards the ignition timing.
  • A failed condenser can ground out the ignition system, causing the engine not to run.