How To Troubleshoot Honda Spark Issues

How To Troubleshoot Honda Spark Issues


Whether you are swapping another Honda engine into your donor car, or building your Honda engine it can be pretty handy to know how to troubleshoot Honda spark issues. Today we’ll be discussing the many ways you can troubleshoot your Honda spark problems, from checking the rotor and cap to troubleshooting the ICM and much more.

This Honda engine guide is not specific to one family or style of Honda motor, but can be used as a guideline to check spark no matter what Honda you drive.


How To Troubleshoot Honda Spark

Before beginning our How to Troubleshoot Honda Spark Issues DIY guide, you would be best served by disconnecting your fuel injector clips. Doing this will allow for you to check spark and test your spark plugs without flooding the motor with unneeded fuel.

Here’s the steps on how to check for spark in your Honda.

  1. Purchase a spare spark plug or use a older spare one.
  2. Install spark plug onto spare wire.
  3. Firmly place the end of the spark plug electrode against the ground of your valve cover or engine bay. Do not get too close to any fuel or fuel vapors during this test. Keep your fingers and hands away from the electrode end, while cranking the engine over.

You should see a bright white spark arc across the spark plug electrode and possibly ground itself on your Honda chassis. If this test works, try another cylinder or spot on your distributor until you find the cause of your spark issue.

Results of how to check spark


All spark plug wires generate a bright white spark – This means that you may have old spark plugs or the plugs in your motor are already fouled. Check your spark plugs and gap them properly for best results.

All spark plugs have weak spark – Something in your igntion distributor may have gone bad, either your cap and rotor, the leads on your cap or rotor, or the coil or ICM have gone bad.

Some plugs have weak spark, some don’t – Your ignition cap is either worn or incorrect, replace it.

One plug does not fire – Replace your ignition distributor cap.


How To Test your Honda Ignition Coil

Before you can successfully test your Honda for spark problems, you’ll need to check your ignition coil or ICM that’s internal to your ignition distributor.


In order to reach your ignition coil, you will need to remove your Honda distributor and remove the cap and rotor. Most Honda distributors use 8mm metric bolts to hold the distributor cap in place. This is a big part of knowing How To Troubleshoot Honda Spark issues because you’ll need to remove the cap, the rotor as well as the dust shield in your distributor.


In order to test your ignition coil and ICM, you will need a multimeter to test the resistance in your ignition coil. The ignition coil must be removed from the distributor in order for you to begin testing.

Engine Swaps like this are very common
It’s always nice to know how to troubleshoot Honda spark issues

Once you have your ICM removed, you can test the unit by putting your multimeter into the lowest resistance setting available. Once you have your multimeter set correctly, measure the two terminals on your coil. These two terminals are shown below and labeled “TEST 1”


Record this measurement of resistance and then subtract the meter internal resistance reading from the primary coil resistance reading to obtain the actual primary coil resistance.

The second test is to measure the secondary ignition coil, by probing the top screw and the spring that’s part of your internal coil. You will want your multimeter in the 20,000 ohm range to measure the resistance here.

You now know how to troubleshoot Honda spark issues by checking each spark plug wire and spark plug. For more information on testing your Honda ICM or distributor, check our guide here.