The distributor rotor is the component in a vehicle's ignition system that takes current from the coil, and distributes it to a series of contact points as it spins. These contact points take the current and send it to the spark plug where it can create the spark in the combustion chamber,in order to ignite the fuel. The amount of current that the rotor sends the spark plugs is between 20,000 and 30,000 volts. The rotor spins at different speeds depending on the speed of the camshaft. The speed of the rotor is exactly half the speed of the crankshaft on standard four stroke engines.
Since the rotor and contact points experience constant current flow, it is recommended that they both be replaced regularly when standard maintenance such as changing the oil, or rotating the tires is performed. Failure to replace these parts can cause corrosion buildup near the contact points, which can affect the amount of current sent to the spark plug. When changing out the rotor, it is important that it is positioned properly in the distributor cap,in order to prevent the two components from rubbing together. Common signs which are visible that a rotor is damaged, are cracks, burns, or dents. If these signs are observed, it is recommended the rotor be replaced.
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