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Ignition Control Module Test at AutoZone: The Ultimate Guide to Troubleshooting Your Vehicle’s Starting Issues

Having car trouble is never fun, especially when it leaves you stranded. As you turn the key in the ignition and hear nothing but an ominous click, you know you’re in for a challenge. After some initial googling points to a potential ignition control module issue, you decide to take it to AutoZone for testing. But not so fast – getting an accurate ignition control module test at AutoZone can be tricky.

We’ll walk through the ins and outs of testing your ignition control module at AutoZone. You’ll learn how to find a location with properly trained staff, get accurate test results, and determine your next steps whether the module tests good or bad. With the right knowledge, you can leverage AutoZone’s free testing to troubleshoot your no start problems and get back on the road.

Challenges of Getting Ignition Modules Tested at AutoZone

Getting your ignition control module tested at AutoZone seems straightforward enough, but many run into challenges. Untrained employees may have no idea what the module even is or what it does. The testers available may not be equipped to test your particular module accurately. And even if they can test it, the results may be unreliable or inaccurate.

For example, some AutoZone locations use testers designed for other parts, attempting to test modules through makeshift rigs of alligator clips. This often leads to false bad readings, even on brand new parts right out of the box. It’s frustrating and expensive to replace modules that are actually just fine.

The key is finding an AutoZone with testers designed specifically for ignition control modules, and employees that are knowledgeable and experienced in using them.

Finding the Right AutoZone for Testing

Your best bet is to call around to a few different AutoZone locations and ask specifically if they are equipped to test ignition control modules for your vehicle make and model. Inquire about the test equipment and employee expertise related to modules.

Some stores will direct you to locations with dedicated diagnostic staff and the proper specialized tools to accurately test modules. The goal is to find a location where staff are well-trained and regularly perform ignition control module testing.

For example, experienced parts specialists like Veronica and Jacob at the AutoZone on Panama Lane in Bakersfield, CA invest substantial time in training employees on proper testing procedures and equipment usage. Stores like these with knowledgeable staff and working testers for modules are out there, it just takes some investigating.

Getting the Right Test Results

Once at a properly equipped AutoZone, be sure to watch the testing process closely. Politely verify the employee is following the correct setup and procedure for your particular module, using the service manual if needed. Rushing through a test or hooking things up incorrectly can easily result in false fails.

Providing detailed background on your vehicle, symptoms, and recent repairs will help the tester evaluate results in context. Ask questions if anything seems unclear or concerning. Don’t hesitate to request a retest or second opinion if you lack confidence in the initial findings. Getting the right diagnosis is well worth the extra effort.

If Module Tests Bad at AutoZone

If the ignition control module tests bad at AutoZone, don’t panic just yet. First, have it retested at a different location to confirm the failure before replacing it. Also, install a brand new module and test it at AutoZone right out of the box. If the new one fails testing too, the problem lies with their equipment or process, not the module.

Of course, a bad test doesn’t necessarily mean the part is good. But it does mean digging deeper before throwing parts at the problem or taking test results as absolute gospel. Evaluating ignition coils, spark plugs, crank position sensors and wiring can reveal alternative root causes.

When to Test an Ignition Control Module

The right time to test an ignition control module is when symptoms point to a potential issue, after installing a new replacement module, or during routine maintenance.

If the engine is misfiring, stalling, or failing to start, testing the module may help isolate the cause. After installing a new module, verify it passes testing before assuming that resolved the problem. And consider periodically testing modules as part of tune-ups or major services to catch problems early.

Ignition Control Module Location

To test ignition control modules, you’ll first need to locate them. In many older GM vehicles, the module is positioned under the distributor cap. On Ford models, it often resides in the distributor housing itself. Modules in newer vehicles are typically located in the engine compartment, mounted on or near the fender.

Consult your owner’s manual or service guide for the exact position. You’ll need to access and remove it for bench testing outside the car. Label all connections carefully during removal to ensure proper reinstallation.

Ignition Control Module Replacement

If testing confirms your ignition control module is in fact bad, replacement is straightforward. Purchase the correct new or remanufactured module for your vehicle from a reputable parts supplier. Confirm it’s operational by having it tested at AutoZone prior to installation.

Follow the repair manual procedures carefully when removing the old module and installing the new one. Don’t force connections or forget any retainers or heat shields. Clear any codes after installation and verify normal operation before hitting the road. Keep the old module as a spare in case of future issues.

Ignition Control Module Troubleshooting

Sometimes, replacing the ignition control module doesn’t actually resolve the problems. Issues like engine misfires or no starts could stem from faulty ignition coils, spark plugs, crank/cam sensors or wiring damage instead. Throwing parts at a problem without proper diagnosis just gets expensive.

Carefully inspect all ignition components, connectors and wires for wear, rust or damage. Review error codes, symptom history and visual/auditory clues. Consider testing the module under operating conditions if intermittent. Isolate the true root cause before replacing the module again unnecessarily.


Getting your ignition control module tested accurately at AutoZone comes down to finding a knowledgeable location, watching the process closely and interpreting results appropriately. With the right staff, tools and diagnostic mindset, you can leverage AutoZone’s free testing to stay on top of this critical maintenance task and keep your vehicle starting smoothly.

Consult your owner’s manual, vehicle forums and repair guides to understand your ignition system better. And don’t hesitate to ask questions to improve your own troubleshooting skills, whether at AutoZone or your favorite repair shop. Learning more about your vehicle and how it works will save you money and headaches down the road.

The testing process may reveal underlying issues that need professional attention. But equipping yourself with the basic knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and actively participate in any repairs needed to get back on the road.