How Long Does a Distributor Last?

The distributor on your car is a component of the ignition system responsible for transferring high voltage from the coil to the spark plug. Once the spark plug gets ignited, it will trigger the mixture of gas and air so the engine will run properly.

The distributor has two seals: the one where the shaft and housing meets and the other that covers the intake manifold also called as O ring.

Distributor O ring damage

Over time, the distributor O ring may start to leak oil. When this happens, the grime build-up will ensue, causing the improper routing of the ignition spark. This will lead to a misfiring engine or an engine with inadequate power to turn over.

Aside from leaks, the O ring will also experience wear and tear over time. There’s no specific timeframe to which you need to change the O ring. You have to factor in the frequency of use and the condition of the other parts of the engine.

What causes O ring damage?

Distributor O rings sustain damages when it’s exposed to a harsh environment. It includes oil leaks, lack of maintenance, and so on. Most of the time, this component will bog down after a large amount of electricity passed on it.

The other two big affecting factors here are aging and temperature. Over the years, it’s quite normal for the distributor to become brittle due to usage and old age. Also, if it’s exposed to extreme temperatures, the O ring will get worn out fast. If your car is prone to overheat, the distributor will likely bear the brunt of the temperature.

Take note that some culprits including faulty manufacturing, abrasions, and imperfections on the O ring.

How to spot distributor problems

A visit with the mechanic is the best way to determine if your car’s distributor is in good condition. Even if you don’t observe any issues with the vehicle, regular auto checks will save you from surprise issues.

A professional mechanic can replace the O ring or tune-up the distributor as necessary.

After fixing the problem, the mechanic will recalibrate and test the efficiency of the distributor. This will prevent misfiring or any glitch on the ignition system.

Signs of a failing distributor

There are some potential signs that your vehicle’s distributor is failing. Here are some of the symptoms that you should watch out for:

-Oil leaks around the distributor

-Your engine runs rough or labors to turn over

-Your engine suddenly loses power

-Any issues with the ignition

If you notice any of these signs of your vehicle, it’s best to seek the help of a mechanic. It will save you from expensive repairs in the future.

Final words

The distributor on your car won’t last for ages. The key here is to opt for regular checks so you can prevent any problems while on the road. Overall, it’s fast to replace or tune-up a distributor. You just have to call a professional to do the job.