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2004 Saturn Ion 2.2 L needs new ignition coils

The estimate my mechanic gave me today says that I need to replace my Ignition coil pa (pack?) at $230, the spark plug plate at $72, and labor at $180, for a total of $509.00 when including tax. Do I have to replace all of the coils at once? Will the car run better if I only replace a few? I can only afford to pay $200 at the most right now.

Why does he want to replace them at all?? Is the car not running well?? Coil packs eather work or they don’t. If your car is running well, the chances are your coils are fine and he had a boat payment due.

I have seen where a coil pack on a VW Jetta was suggested to be replaced. ($700) I looked it over and realized that the problem was the wires (ie spark plug wires) So I bought the $120 Bosch wires which is ridiculously priced and changed the #5 wire only as that was the cause.

You could blindly replace the wires and the plugs to see if that would help, or you can confirm the coil pack is bad by starting the vehicle at night, and spraying the coil pack with a mist of water to see if you see a light show and sparks/meaning the pack is compromised.

Just some suggestions. Tell us more about the symptoms.

You can’t change only one. All the coils are in a one-piece coil pack, inside the top of the engine. The coil plate your mechanic talks about is the electronic ignition module, the long flat piece on the top of the engine that the coil pack attaches to. Your car has no spark plug wires, just insulator boots between the coil pack and spark plugs.

What kind of trouble are you having with your car?

Assuming your mechanic is correct in his diagnosis the price quoted is quite lreasonable.

The car is mis firing.

all things concerted he is asking a very good price

I hope he is not overlooking the spark plugs in all of this. Many coil packs are killed by aged spark plugs that are misfiring or from plugs with excessive gaps.

I’m hoping to work out a deal with them. What damage, if any could I cause if I drove it?

If you want to do it yourself the parts at Rockauto would run about $200, plus new spark plugs. Being short on cash is why a lot of us started doing our own work.

Bing, how hard is it? I’m willing to do whatever it takes to save money, and I consider myself a “do it yourself” kinda woman, but the most I’ve ever done has been to replace a hose here and there, and hit the starter on my Jeep Cj7 with the tire jack when the starter was going out.

How confident are you and the mechanic in the coil pack diagnosis? A lot of things could cause a misfire and if there is any doubt at all about the diagnosis one could throw a new set of plugs in and see what happens.

Aged and worn plugs misfire and just because a plug misfires that does not mean the spark never existed or vaporized. If the spark can’t jump the plug gap it’s going to search for the easiest way to ground and that’s usually through the spark plug wire boot.

Just something for consideration anyway and especially so if the spark plugs have never been considered as a cause.

ok4450, the owner of the shop read the analysis from the computer, without talking to the mechanic. I was there when he got the read out, and the spark plug plate was the only thing they considered replacing other than the coils… So should I suggest to try replacing the spark plugs first?

I’m not the one that can advise on how hard it would be since I’ve never seen that engine. Most coils though and that plate/module thing just bolt on with a bunch of wires plugged in. The plugs shouldn’t be that hard if you have good access to them but need to make sure they come out ok and are screwed in and tightened properly (and with anti-seize compound on them). I’d listen to OK4450 and maybe try the plugs first. You can look at the pictures of the parts on Rockauto.com then locate them and see how they are attached and what access you have before deciding if its worth a chance or not. The coil at Rockauto is from $114-116 depending on the brand. NAPA is also usually competitive so you can shave about a hundred off the parts cost, then plus the labor.

Everyone screws up once in a while though so you never know till you’re done. On my first plug change, I got them all out but couldn’t get one back in so had to drive to a guy to put it in for me. On my last one, I got the wires crossed and couldn’t get one wire back on so it cost me $80 to have a guy fix it. All the others inbetween for 30 years worked out though. So just never know. It’d be nice if you had someone that could help a little.

Maybe their diagnosis is correct but I’m not privy to the details on how they arrived at their conclusion, what codes were involved, and so on.

My point is that sometimes (and quite often) a misdiagnosis is done and anything is possible.
I’m just saying that I would never rule out spark plugs and even if a coil pack is changed out the spark plugs should be done at the same time. This works like a line of dominos. Faulty plug causes misfire which causes spark to jump through plug boot to the valve cover which over time can burn out a coil. A weak coil can even do in spark plugs.
The plugs need to be done anyway so I would definitely try a set of plugs and go from there while closely inspecting the plug boot terminals for corrosion or arcing.

For what it’s worth and as a mechanic, over the years I’ve seen a lot (as in LOT) of problems that were diagnosed as one thing and the real cause turned out to be something simple and/or cheap.
The DIYer who pulled the 350 out of his Chevy truck, removed both heads, and then brought it to me for a rebuild when he couldn’t get rid of the miss and blamed it on bad valves is one.
The cause of that miss; 2 bad plug wires. Needless to say, the guy was a bit disheartened after I looked the motor over and told him that if it were mine I’d put it back together with new wires and motor on. He did just that and the motor ran fine.
Just sayin’…