How to Test a Dirt Bike Coil? – 6 Steps to Do

Written by

James Stevens

Fact-checked by

Robert A. Verdin


Without a motorcycle ignition coil, your dirt bike can’t function. It is a spiral of wire that fires the spark plug to start your vehicle. Usually, the coil is not repairable and require testing when troubleshooting your dirt bike.

So, when do you usually test the coil? Once you notice that your dirt bike has trouble starting or your engine misfires, it’s time to check the it.

Fortunately, checking the ignition coil is relatively easy. The main tool you’ll need is the multimeter. So check out the steps below to learn more about how to test a dirt bike coil!

Precautions and What to Prepare

Although you can do basic tests on a dirt bike coil without a multimeter, using one is advisable to ensure appropriate tests and correct resistance measurements. Thus, in this article, we’ll focus on how to check dirt bike ignition coil using a multimeter.

Here’s what you need to prepare for the testing.


  • Multimeter
  • Safety gear
  • Open-ended wrench
  • Service manual

For your safety and efficiency, remember the following precautions before and while you check the ignition coil.

  • Safety first! Wear safety gear such as goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands during testing.
  • Ensure you have proper lighting when you do the testing to check the issues with your ignition coil better.
  • Ensure that your dirt bike’s ignition is turned off before you begin the testing.
  • See if the wires of the spark plug are properly connected.
  • Check if the coil and spark plug wires are grounded. Always remember that issues with ground connections can cause erratic firing and even harm.

Steps to Test a Dirt Bike Coil

Step 1: Locate your coil


Locate your coil first. Usually, it’s close to the spark plug. Once you find it, disconnect the wires leading to the ignition coil using an open-ended wrench.

Make sure you remember the wires’ original placement because you have to reconnect them at the end.

Step 2: Set the multimeter


Set your multimeter to the Ohm setting to measure electrical resistance.

Step 3: Check the primary coil


With a multimeter, touch one probe to the negative terminal of the coil pack and the other to the positive terminal. Keep in mind that the values for the electrical resistance will depend on your dirt bike’s model. Look at your service manual for guidance.

Step 4: Test the secondary coil


Check the resistance between the coil connection and the spark plug wire connector on the coil. Again, refer to your service manual for the proper range.

Step 5: Reconnect the coil

Reconnect the coil after you ensure that the electrical resistance is in the ideal range. The wires must be back to their original placement.

Step 6: Test for spark


After reconnecting the spark plug wires to the coil pack, verify your spark output to ensure that your dirt bike’s ignition system is working correctly. If you see a prominent and consistent spark, you’re good.

Bad Ignition Coil Symptoms

So how do you know if your ignition coil has issues? Here are some signs of a bad ignition coil.

1. Trouble starting


Although it could be due to other things, having a bad ignition coil is one of the main reasons your dirt bike has trouble starting. The reason is that a faulty coil will not fire the spark plug, and thus, your vehicle won’t start.

2. Engine misfires


An unreliable coil can cause rough idling and stalling, as it has a negative impact on the normal combustion process of your engine.

3. Reduced fuel efficiency


Total coil failure can cause incomplete combustion, which can lead to decreased fuel efficiency. Thus, it’ll also negatively impact your gas mileage.

4. Engine overheating


Because of the incomplete combustion due to a faulty ignition coil, your engine may become hotter than normal.

5. Engine performance issues

Poor dirt bike performance can also be due to a bad ignition coil, which can cause poor throttle response. It is a sign of inadequate spark from a spark plug because of a coil failure.


Overall, the ignition coil is a crucial part of a dirt bike, as it will not run without it. So, testing your dirt bike coil, especially when you notice signs that it’s faulty, is also essential to ensure your dirt bike functions well.

Testing the ignition coil is relatively easy. The main important tools are the multimeter, wrench, safety gear, and service manual. Just make sure you check the steps above to learn how to test a dirt bike coil!

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James Stevens

James Stevens is an expert bike mechanic who knows everything from basic repairs to custom modifications. What sets him apart is his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Check out his content on Speedway if you need help with upgrades or modifications for your bike.