Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

The beginning of racing season is the perfect time of the year to “start your engine” and make sure your ignition system is working properly. Addressing problems that may lead to ignition system failure is essential for dependable vehicle operation so you won’t be left stranded at the starting line, says the Car Care Council.

“Many systems on your car work together to keep you on the go, and the most important is the ignition system,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Symptoms of ignition problems include dimming of headlights and interior lights, illuminated ‘Check Engine’ and/or battery lights and failure of accessories to operate. It’s a good idea to look into these symptoms immediately to prevent ignition failure from bringing your car to a complete stop.”

Driving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles cause more wear on the starter than a simple trip back and forth to work. Other factors, including driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems, can impact the ignition system as well. Since the fuel injection system and car battery are linked to the ignition system, a problem can be difficult to diagnose because it may be caused by one of many factors, such as a dead car battery, faulty ignition switch, worn out spark plugs, bad fuel injectors, ignition coil problems, fuel pump failure or starter motor failure.

“It’s a good idea to include an ignition system check-up to your vehicle maintenance schedule,” said White. “Having your ignition system checked regularly will ensure that you always reach the finish line.”

To help motorists follow a vehicle maintenance program, a free digital Car Care Guide can be found on the council’s website at The guide is available in English and Spanish, and includes information on service interval schedules, questions to ask a technician and tips to drive smart and save money.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

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