Fuse Box Relay

Ignition Relay Symptoms, Location & Replacement Cost

In Electric by 33 Comments

The ignition relay’s job is to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to many of your car’s components.

The ignition relay is usually found in the fuse box situated underneath the hood or somewhere under the car’s dashboard.

It transfers electricity from the battery to the ignition components, which allows you to start the car in the blink of an eye.

However, if the relay fails to perform up to its standards, you will start experiencing problems and not just in one, but many engine components such as the fuel pump and the ignition coil, among others.

5 Bad Ignition Relay Symptoms

An ignition relay normally sits with a few other relays and fuses in the fuse box found in the engine bay. The area under the hood is open to contaminants and pollutants like dirt and debris – the common reason behind ignition relay failure.

The most common symptoms of a bad ignition relay are dead ignition, sudden engine stall, and fluctuating ignition power.

Here is a more detailed list of the most common symptoms of a bad ignition relay.

1. Ignition is Unresponsive

Ignition Switched On

The ignition relay’s primary job is to give power to all control modules and sensors in your car needed for the engine to run.

If nothing happens on your dashboard when you turn the key in the ignition lock, and you are sure that the car battery is charged – there is a big risk that something is wrong with the ignition relay.

Related:  Does Auto-Start/Stop Wear Out Engine Components?

These issues need to be solved as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will be forced to travel without your car.

2. Engine Stalls

Engine Stall

The ignition relay supplies power to essential engine parts like the fuel pump and the ignition coils. Without these components, your engine will die imminently, so you can probably guess what will happen if it can’t deliver power to them.

If your car shuts off while driving, the ignition relay can be to blame.

3. Fluctating Ignition power

Table Flipper Game

If your dashboard is blinking like a table-flipping game, there may be an issue with the ignition relay.

Situations occur when there becomes corrosion inside of the ignition relay. This can cause the connection area inside the relay to become too small – which will cause the ignition to shut off and on super fast.

4. Dead Battery after night

Jump Start

When you switch off the ignition key, the ignition relay should also shut off power to all engine components; otherwise, it will drain the car battery when you let the car stands over the night.

When the ignition relay fails, it can cause the ignition system to be activated constantly, even when you have removed the keys from the ignition.

This means the circuit will not open after you remove the key, and the battery will drain.

Therefore, if you are looking at a battery that had died when working the day perfectly before, the ignition relay could have been the cause.

5. Bad electronic smell

Bad Smell In Car

Bad connection when it comes to electronics creates heat. An ignition relay with corrosion, rust, or water inside of it can get a bad connection inside it, and this will cause a lot of heat.

Related:  Neutral Safety Switch Symptoms, Function & Replacement

Often you can see that the plastic cover melted over the relay even. If you have experienced a burnt electronic smell before – you should absolutely check the ignition relay the next time you can feel it.

What is an Ignition Relay?

Ignition Relay Wiring Diagram

The ignition relay is basically an electrical device that works as a switch for the power to the ignition system and your vehicle’s fuel system. The ignition relay is activated as soon as your turn on your vehicle’s ignition with the key.

The ignition relay then switches the power on and allows it to reach the systems required to be powered up so that your vehicle can function. As a result, the battery transmits the power to the ignition coil, which is then transmitted to your vehicle’s spark plugs to start the engine.

Where is the Ignition Relay Located?

Ignition Relay Location

The ignition relay is often located in the fuse box under the hood. It can also be located in a fuse box under the dashboard inside of the car.

The ignition relay’s exact location may differ from vehicle to vehicle depending on the design of the vehicle and the company that manufactured it.

To easily locate the ignition relay and identify it properly, you may refer to the service manual provided to you by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It will be located in the relay panel, along with many other relays installed on it.

Ignition Relay Replacement Cost

An ignition relay costs 5$ to 50$ and labor costs 10$ to 50$. You can expect a total of 15$ to 100$ for an ignition relay replacement.

Related:  Car Battery Reconditioning – How to do it?

The ignition relay itself is often very cheap, and you can expect it to cost under 10$, depending on if you want to buy an OEM original one or aftermarket.

The replacement of the ignition relay is also often very straightforward. You can expect a replacement cost of 15$ to 100$ if you want a mechanic to do it instead.

Testing the ignition relay

The ignition relay is often pretty easy to test depending on the relay type. Most ignition relays have 4 pins, and if you have one of these, you can follow this guide.

  1. Remove the ignition relay from the fuse box.
  2. Get a couple of cables and locate the car battery.
  3. Check the relay’s backside for numbers; you will probably find 30, 85, 86, and 87.
  4. Remove the relay from the fuse box.
  5. Connect 12 volts from the car battery directly to the pins 30 and 85.
  6. Ground the 86 pin from the ground on the car battery and you should hear a clicking sound from the relay.
  7. Check with a multimeter if you got 12v+ on the 87 pins. If you don’t, your ignition relay is broken.
  8. If you do there can still be a problem in the relay, but you need to load-test it to find the problem. The easiest thing to load-test the relay is testing something that draws a lot of power through the pin 87, like a fuel pump or something similar.

Need more car repair help?

If you need more help with your car repair, you can ask your car questions in our community for free. You can find our community here.

33 thoughts on “ Ignition Relay Symptoms, Location & Replacement Cost ”

  1. Hi am having a ford ranger 2017 diesel ,I was driving and the car just stop .what can be the cause?

    1. Awesome information very detailed and to the point. Thank you! Keep up the good work!!

      1. its 91 ford f350. thought it was the fuel pump, replaced it and the fuel pump relay, ran great for one week now just flat wont start. fuel relay? ignitipn relay ? please help

    2. 1998 crv car starts easy but when gets real hot and you turn off engine won’t start till motor cools down.

    3. Says relay is in fuse box more than likely but to replace they say take out steering colum and dashboard….someone needs more schooling

      1. I was thinking the same thing. If i have already located this fuse box next to my battery….would i have one beneath my steering column too?

    4. I lost my keys to a 1999 toyota avalon i had a fob key made at toyota dealership i programed the key it works but i have a problem it will crank but it wont start thinking it the anti theft but could it be the ignition relay

  2. Why my car stall at prolong traffic. Is this also related to a BAD relay?

    1. You need to run a return fuel line from ur carb
      So it stops the built up gas sitting there in the cooking heat in traffic from vaporizing- called valor lock- check it out and research bet it is that

  3. I went to O’reilly auto parts store and they have me a black relay switch to put in, in the fuse box. Which one will it replace?

  4. When driving I can feel the car stalling. When I stop, turn off the car ignition, engine still running, stalling for a minute before it stops even if I have already removed the key from ignition.

    1. I have a Ford ranger 3.0 v6. I was driving in the day with headlights on during a severe snowstorm. Parked truck and left lights on. Tried to start next day. No crank, no click on solenoid. Battery dead. Got jump and started. Went on errand. Parked and returned to vehicle. Truck would not start. Got battery charged slow overnight at a auto parts store. Got 660cca on test. Tried to start no crank, no click on solenoid.

      On all attempted starts battery fully discharged completely drained instantaneosly. How did leaving my lights on cause this permanent problem. What should I do to find cause and fix it.


    2. One day I took the auxiliary ignition relay my car did start when I try it again only swinging

  5. I forgot to give you the year of my ford ranger 3.0 v6 it is a 1994. On no crank, no click on solenoid after lost all battery power instantaneously upon trying to start.

  6. i have a CRV RD1 which stalls every day when i drive around. after waiting for 5 to 10 minutes the car starts again. it happens twice or three times a day. is it a problem related to bad iginition relay? please help me solve this problem.

    1. hi mate look for a sensor located under the thermostat housing one is the temp sensor and the other one tell the ecu if the car has overheated and puts it in a no start situation change this sensor

      1. Change this part Engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor do not change this part
        Coolant temperature gauge sendlng

  7. When you replace 1 tr engine with 1rz engine what else are you suppose to change apart from harness cable.

  8. I am driving a hyundai i30. All of sudden there’s no spark but it cranks. I changed a crank sensor but it still no spark at all. What can it be?

  9. Hello

    I have a Ford Fusion sel 2011 no power When I turn after waited 30 minutes turn on. What would cause this symptom

    1. Hi am Richard I just replace the module of Hyundai accent 1998 1.3 the car crank by doest want to star .were can I find the relay for starter pls help

  10. Hello, my Honda Civic 2008 keeps showing a constant green key blinks on the dashboard and as such cannot ignite or start the car. Please what is the cause and what can I do to rectify it?

  11. What would make a 2006 Ford focus die and then not restart. Getting gas, new crankshaft sensor, no fire since it died, any suggestions gotta get it fixed gave to take wife to airport on 9th, and needed for work thanks for any suggestions

  12. 1997 Maxima. Turns over but will not start. Getting fuel and spark just won’t start. Also drained new battery after sitting for two days. Found a relay labeled security/start. Should I replace this relay. Or other possible bad relay?

  13. Hi
    I got a Ford Mondeo diesel 2011 model
    Keyless start push button, soon as I press the push button there is no ignition. There is a message steering lock malfunction I have check all the fuses & relay they all are good.

  14. my 06 dodge charger reads a code u0101 loss communication and the battery drains ita a no crank no start do i need temp sensor and ignition relay

  15. I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler. Is the ignition relay and starter relay the same thing. Not finding one marked ignition, only starter.

  16. My f-150 ford truck failed emissions do to module was not connecting to their computer when they connected their device to my truck could it be a bad relay

  17. Hi there i am trying to locate the ignition relay of my Opel Corsa utility 1.4 2008, can someone please help me.

  18. Key less 2014 fiesta 1,6 diesel when pushing start button it just clicks and car won’t start battery alternator starter motor all checked and ok what could it be thinking relays? What you think next move is

  19. My vehicle is a 2011 Chevy equinox Lt 2.4 liter Ecotec. Right now my vehicle is in “limp mode”, or another name they call it is “Fail Safe Mode” (I’m sure there’s other names that it’s called as well) but I’m trying to figure out why. So my question is this, my ignition coil has a fuse and a spring in them, I just want to know the proper name for them, and how to test the fuse. I did the regular test on the fuse but didn’t get any readings. I’m wondering if I’m doing it wrong. That’s my question. Thank yous

Leave a Comment