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Get more spark in your ride with some maintenance to your car's ignition system. Without properly working components, like spark plugs or a distributor, your car can't sufficiently combust the air-fuel mixture in the engine cylinders. Get everything you need to keep your engine fired up at AutoZone.

Believe it or not, the internal combustion engine is a descendent in a family of inventions that began with a toy gun. This toy, made by Alessandro Volta, used an electric spark to explode a mixture of hydrogen and air, shooting a cork from the barrel. This invention (c. 1780) was the first electric spark ignition.

Nowadays there are three types ignition systems used in internal combustion engines, but they're all based on the same reaction as Volta's toy gun, the explosion of fuel air mixture by use of an electrical spark. These are conventional, electronic, and distributorless ignition systems.

The conventional system operates a switch between two circuits. The first of these circuits carries low voltage current between the battery and the ignition coil. The distributor shaft turns until it opens the breaker points, which complete the first circuit when closed. This allows the second circuit to carry magnetically generated high voltage current from the distributor to the spark plugs so that the plugs can ignite the fuel-air mixture in the engine cylinders. The distributor continues to rotate, breaking the second circuit and starting the process again. It sounds time consuming, but all of this happens super fast¿in a matter of milliseconds.

Electronic ignition systems skip on the ignition points and use an electronic control module and a pick up coil. The electrical system uses the same two circuit design, but it uses a control module to shut off the current in the low voltage circuit. Just like in the conventional system, turning off the low voltage circuit collapses the magnetic field, generating high voltage current in the second circuit. Spark timing is crucial to both of these systems, as a mistimed spark can cause engine misfires.

The newest systems are distributorless ignition systems. These skip the distributor, and use coil-on-plug connections. This means each spark plug has its own ignition coil, and each coil is operated by the electronic control module and the engine computer. This means there are no moving parts to wear out, no distributor components to repair, and no timing adjustments to be made¿ever.

When it comes time to fix your ignition system, come to AutoZone. We know our parts and products and we sell the best brands at the right price. We make it easy to find the right parts for your vehicle. Whether you need Honda Civic spark plugs, a Chevy 350 distributor for a Camaro, or ignition components for any other automobile, we have the parts you need. Just enter your vehicle's year, make, model, and engine up above, and we'll show you the right parts.

Get free next day delivery when you buy online at, or pick up your parts today in your local store.