How To Troubleshoot the Ignition System in a Mercury Villager

A Mercury Villager is a minivan from Ford Motors that was produced since 1993 and the last generation was released to the market in 2002.

Owners of this minivan, as their units are relatively old, may start to experience problems with their vehicles, including issues with the ignition system. If you are having trouble starting the engine, try to troubleshoot the problem yourself before taking your vehicle to a mechanic. To know how you can do this yourself, read the steps below.

  • Prepare your minivan. Park your vehicle in a safe spot and keep the engine off during the duration of the inspection. Only turn it on when testing the ignition.
  • Know what the ignition system is. Before you can start troubleshooting, you first need to know what you are looking for and what the ignition system is. The ignition system is responsible for igniting the vehicle’s fuel. This is triggered as you turn the key to start the engine. Ignition systems vary depending on the vehicle’s model and make, but there are common components such as the spark plug, distributor cap and rotor.
  • Check the steering wheel. Though the steering wheel is not a regular component in an ignition system, the ignition can be disabled if the steering wheel is locked. Often, when one parks on an inclined surface, the front wheels are directed to the sides to avoid backing up. Gently shift the steering wheel left and right as you try turning the keys to start the vehicle.
  • Check the spark plug. If you are having problems starting your vehicle, you might want to start by looking at the spark plug. Measure the amount of “spark” it generates by getting the wire resistance. Get an ohmmeter, available from electronic stores, and use it for this test. Grab the wire connected between the spark plug and the distributor cap. Connect each end of the wire to the ohmmeter. The ohmmeter should read something between 4,000 to 5,000 ohms. Place the wires back in place.
  • Inspect the distributor cap and the rotor. Check if they have any holes or rusts. If this is observed, have them replaced. It should be possible to get the replacement from most car parts stores.
  • Check the ignition coil. Measure the resistance in the coil by connecting it to the ohmmeter, similar to how you measured resistance of the spark plug. Remove the negative battery wire from being connected and attached the ohmmeter in the first 2 pins. The measured resistance should only be around 1 ohm.
  • Have the battery checked. In some cases, failure to start the engine is caused by a drained or dead car battery. Depending on usage, batteries only last for more or less 2 years. In case of a dead battery, have the battery replaced. But if your battery is still new, you can try and have it charged. Make sure all the lights are turned off as you leave your car to avoid draining the battery.

If the above steps were done but you are still having problems with your vehicle, bring your Mercury Villager to a mechanic.


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