What Is a Dizzy on a Car?

You go to the mechanical store of a car and hear the technician talking about Dizzy. You got duped and missed a single thing! 

You don’t have to worry about this because this is not a new car disease!

So What is Dizzy in a car?

Dizzy is a slang word in the automobile industry, and it simply means “Distributor Cap”. The secondary coil of the engine generates a high-voltage power current. The distributor transfers the power to the suitable spark plugs in the correct sequence and timing.

Delco invented the first successful battery-operated ignition device in 1910. (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co.).Its ignition is precisely timed.

That was only a short review of Dizzy. We discussed below many things about the parts. So stick with us and know everything about it.

How Does a Distributor Cap Function in a Car?

So you get a good idea of what’s dizzy in a car. 

Now, It is essential to understand how a distributor cap works in a car. Don’t be panicked; we will simplify all about the distributor car part


The ignition system is activated when you turn on your car through a key. As a result, the current flows from the battery to the ignition coil. In the ignition coil, there are two types of winding: Primary and secondary.

Primary Winding

The current flows through the primary winding of the ignition coil. And it passes to the contact breaker. 

Because of the break-in current, an EMF(Electromagnetic Force) is produced in the secondary wing. As a result, the battery’s 12 volts increase to 12000 Volts.


This high voltage is transferred to the distributor cap from the secondary winding.  Inside the distributor, a rotor rotates according to the ignition time.

 At first, the rotor comes in front of the distributor point. And then the voltage jumps from the rotor to the point. This happened because of an air gap. 

Spark Plug Terminal

The high voltage is then transferred from the distributor cap to the spark plug. It passes through high tension cables. A voltage is generated between the central electrode and the ground electrode. 

And when the voltage exceeds these electrodes, the gasses are ionized. Gas becomes a conductor due to ionization. It allows the current to flow through the gap, producing a spark. 

What Are the Effects of a Lousy Distributor Cap in the Car?

You can easily recognize the symptoms of a bad distributor cap. You should not ignore these problems for too long. Otherwise, it may create several severe problems with your car. 

The top symptoms of a bad distributor cap are as follows:

The Vehicle is Not Starting

The engine will not start running without the electrical spark in the combustion chamber. You can first notice that your car is not starting correctly.

Besides, it could take some more time. After some point, probably, the vehicle is not starting at all. 

Bad Noises From Engine 

When you accelerate the engine, it may create some awful noises like sputtering, clicking or tapping. This happens when the cap or rotor has gone wrong.

Furthermore, you can hear high-pitched squealing sounds because of the dirty distributor cap.

Vibrating and Shaking 

Sudden shaking and vibrating of the car is a clear sign of engine problems. Usually, this is a sign of a bad distributor cap. But other problems can also be the causes behind the problems. 

Engine Light is Not Working

If the engine light is not functioning correctly, it will illuminate the dashboard. This happened because of an improper combustion process caused by a bad distributor cap or rotor.

How to Replace the Distributor Cap in a Car?

You identify the bad distributor and its symptoms. Now you want to change the distributor cap with a good one. 

You are thinking of going to mechanical solutions. But believe me, it is not so hard! You can easily replace the distributor cap with a few easy steps. So stick with me.

Pre Set-up Tools 

 You need some tools to replace the distributor. These are :

  • Screw Driver,
  • Rotor,
  • And a new Distributor cap

Furthermore, turn off the engine, engage the handbrake and remove the negative battery cable.

Locate the Distributor 

Open the bonnet of the car. Mostly, the distributor is situated to one side of the engine or above the engine. The shape of the distributor is cylindrical. 

It is a plastic cap which is attached with many thick cables. These cables are connected to the spark plugs. You can also read the manual of the car to identify it.  

Remove the Distributor Cap

The cap is typically attached to the screws or hinged clips. To unscrew, use the screwdriver that we suggested in the first part. If the cap is using clips, then pull them away. 

Be careful when you are removing the cap. You may detach the cable from the wires. But it will confuse you when to plug in the new distributor cap. 

So make sure spark plugs are attached to the cap. 

Mark the Rotor

After opening the distributor cap, you will see a small fan blade component. This is called the rotor. After wiggling some time, you can easily remove the rotor from the place. 

But if it is screwed in place, then use screwdrivers to remove it from the place. 

Replace the Rotor 

Replace the old rotor with a new one. Make sure that it is placed in the perfect position. Otherwise, it will not function properly.

Be careful that it doesn’t break down. Spin the rotor to check whether it’s functioning properly or not. 

Align the Spark Plugs to the New Caps

Before replacing the distributor cap, compare it with the new cap. This will help you to identify the spark plugs for the new cap. 

To prevent errors, begin by removing the first spark plug from the old cap. And then insert it into the matching shaft on the new cap. Continue this procedure for the other spark plugs.

Remember the one thing.  Connecting the spark plugs to the offensive spark might result in electrical supply harm.

Replace the Cap

Reinstall the cap in the engine compartment. Ensure it is in the exact location as the old one before replacing it.

Make sure the spark plug cables are appropriately tucked away in the container. Next, secure the cap using the screws or clips as previously fastened.

That’s it! Now restart the car to check whether everything is okay or not.

Buying Guidelines of Distributor Cap 

So you want to buy a distributor cap or rotor. But can not understand what you should look for first. 

Don’t worry! Everyone gets confused when it comes to buying a good distributor and motor cap.

Below we give some buying  tips and tricks for motors and distributor caps

Tips for Distributor Cap

Firstly make sure how many cylinders the current distributor cap uses. Generally, it could be 4,6, or 8 cylinders. 

Then identify how the distributor is attached to the car. Is it connected through a screw model or hinged system? You can not use the clip system in the screw model. 

Brass terminals are the best. If you are searching for a lower price, go with the Aluminum terminal. But they are more unreliable and less durable compared with brass terminals.

Always go with a warranty. The minimum requirement is either 3000 miles. You could also take 90 days of replacement in case of a problem with the part. 

Tips for Rotor

In this part, you should also go with a brass contract.  Try to choose an impact-resistant rotor. Besides, extending the durability of the rotor goes with minimizing electric overacting.

Quick Overview

Car manufacturers are phasing out conventional distributor ignition systems. In most modern automobiles, electronic control systems are being used. However, many vehicles made before the mid-1990s still use distributor ignition systems.

The distribution cap is essential because fuel combustion will not work properly without it. As a result, the car will not get the best mileage. So check the distributor cap and maintain it properly.


Here are some of the commonly asked queries-

How long does a Distributor Cap last?

The distributor cap and rotor are frequently replaced at the 30,000-mile (48,280-kilometer) tune-up. Spark plug wires lasted the longest, with a suggested replacement after 90,000 miles (144,841 kilometers).

What is the Price of a Distributor Cap?

Generally, between $25 to $60, you can easily find a good distributor cap. However, the price mainly depends on the cylinder and the layer of the product.

What Causes is the Distributor Cap Failing?

Carbon buildup, high-voltage eruption, corrosion, and oxidation are the main causes. Grease, oil, dirt, and wear and tear may also cause failing distributor caps.


So what do you think after reading the article? We tried to include all the facts about what is a dizzy on a car.

Be sure that your distributor cap is performing well. Otherwise, it may create various problems which we discussed above. And lastly, be very careful when to replace the distributor cap. Try to maintain it properly.

Let me know your thoughts. And from your perspective, comment on what parts we should include in the article.

Rob Dahm

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