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Points & Condenser Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your points and condenser replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard™ to get fair cost estimate for your points and condenser replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace the points and condenser?

The average cost for a points and condenser replacement is $30-$60. The exact price will depend on your vehicle and the labor costs in your area.
How long does it take to replace the points & condenser? It takes approximately 30 minutes for a certified mechanic to perform this service. The mechanic may begin with a preliminary inspection to confirm the issue before accessing the engine and completing the replacement.
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my points and condenser replacement and how much do those parts cost?

The parts required for this service vary by model, so make sure to check your owner’s manual before you head to the auto shop. Here’s a general rundown of parts for a points and condenser replacement:
  • Points: The points are small metal contacts that open and close to regulate the ignition timing. They typically cost around $5 to $20.
  • Condenser: The condenser is an electronic component that stores electrical charge and helps the points function correctly. It usually costs between $5 to $20.
  • Distributor cap and rotor
    (optional): While replacing points and condenser, it's often a good idea to replace the distributor cap and rotor as well. The distributor cap is around $15 to $40, and the rotor costs $5 to $20.
You may also need pliers, a wrench set, a screwdriver, a feeler gauge, an ignition timing light,
dielectric grease
, and emery cloth.
Some reputable brands we recommend include Standard Motor Products, ACDelco, and Bosch for reliable and quality points and condenser part replacements. You can typically purchase these brands from retailers such as O'Reilly Auto Parts, AutoZone, and Advance Auto Parts, both online and in-store. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle's specific year, make, and model.
For optimal performance and reliability, it's best to invest in OEM parts for this critical ignition system component. OEM points and condensers will be specifically designed for your vehicle, so they’ll offer better quality and fitment. While aftermarket parts may be cheaper, they may not perform as well or last as long.
Local auto parts stores like O'Reilly Auto Parts, AutoZone, and Advance Auto Parts offer convenient options, as do online retailers such as Amazon. If you prefer original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, you can visit your vehicle's dealership—though they may be pricier. 
Pro tip: Either way, always verify the compatibility and quality of the parts you choose. Brands like Briggs and Stratton, Tecumseh, Kohler, and Stihl primarily make parts for lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other outdoor gear with small engines. Onan primarily makes parts for RV, commercial, and marine applications, whereas Bosch and Pertronix make automotive parts.

Where can I get my points and condenser replaced?

Finding the right place for your points and condenser replacement can be challenging, especially without a trusted mechanic. Fortunately, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
comes to your aid by comparing costs from 2,500 reputable repair shops in the US. 
Get
fair price
estimates* with real hourly labor rates, learn about diagnostic fees, and read genuine reviews to make an informed choice. 
Check out our vetted shops and download the app to easily compare car repair quotes in your area.
164 Reviews
Goodyear Auto Service - Magnolia
address
6014 Farm to Market Rd 1488, Magnolia, TX
Points Condenser
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$51
(Parts - $18, Labor - $33)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$135
198 Reviews
ServiceUp
address
20 N Santa Cruz Ave Suite A, Los Gatos, CA
Points Condenser
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$65
(Parts - $18, Labor - $47)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$180
177 Reviews
54th Street Auto Center
address
415 W 54th St, New York, NY
Points Condenser
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$58
(Parts - $18, Labor - $40)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$191
115 Reviews
Velasquez Auto Care - Cesar Chavez
address
709 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee, WI
Points Condenser
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$44
(Parts - $18, Labor - $26)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$35
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my points and condenser?

The mechanic will inspect, diagnose, change, and set the points and condenser system. They should also test their work before returning the car to you.
Here are the basic steps to replace a car’s points and condenser system:
  1. Disconnect the battery to cut power volts to the vehicle.
  2. Remove the distributor cap and set it aside.
  3. Disconnect spark plug wires, and remove the rotor if necessary.
  4. Disconnect and remove the set of points, followed by the condenser.
  5. Install the new condenser and points set.
  6. Grease the distributor shaft.
  7. Adjust the point gap.
  8. Reattach the rotor and reassemble the distributor.
  9. Reconnect spark plug wires.
  10. Perform timing adjustment with the flywheel and test the ignition system.
  11. Reconnect battery and test start the vehicle.

What happens if I don’t replace my points and condenser?

If you don't replace your points and condenser when needed, you may experience several issues with your vehicle's ignition system and overall engine performance, such as:
You should have your points and condenser system inspected, cleaned, and replaced frequently to ensure the optimal functioning of your car and avoid costly repairs. 

What are the points and condenser?

The points (aka ignition points or contact points) act as a
switch
to send the correct strength of current to the
ignition coil
. They act as a switch, opening and closing to control the timing of the spark and ignition process in the engine, whereas the condenser functions to send a cleaner, more forceful spark.
Here’s how it works:
  • Points send a signal to the spark plugs.
  • The fuel and air mixture is ignited via the carburetor.
  • Vehicle operates at the proper strength.
Breaker points are used to open and close the primary circuit of the ignition coil. When the points are closed, they allow current to flow through the ignition coil's primary winding, building up magnetic energy. 
As the points open, the magnetic field collapses, inducing a high-voltage current in the secondary winding of the coil and creating the spark needed to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine cylinders. Over time, the constant opening and closing of the points can cause wear and pitting, leading to ignition problems. 
Keep in mind: Points and condenser systems are used in older vehicles—and they’re highly vulnerable to wear and tear. While newer vehicles are equipped with more durable ignition modules, points and condensers are among the most frequently replaced parts in older vehicles. 

When should I replace the points and condenser on my car?

You should replace the points and condenser on your car during regular tune-ups, or when you notice the following signs that indicate your points and condenser system may be wearing out or failing:

How often should the points and condenser be replaced?

The points and condenser should typically be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or as part of your car's
regular tune-up schedule
—which is usually every one to two years—but their specific lifetime may vary based on how frequently the engine is used and how often the car is driven. However, it's best to consult your vehicle's manufacturer guidelines or your mechanic for specific recommendations based on your car's make and model.

Can I replace my points and condenser myself?

You can replace your points and condenser yourself if you have experience with car repairs and the right tools. It's a relatively straightforward process, but it requires precision and knowledge of ignition systems. 
If you're unsure or inexperienced with ignition systems, it's probably best to consult a trusted mechanic for this task instead of DIY.

FAQs

Yes. Electronic ignition systems are more reliable and require less maintenance than conventional points-based systems. Converting to electronic ignition can improve engine performance, fuel efficiency, and reduce the risk of ignition-related issues. However, it's essential to ensure compatibility with your specific vehicle model before making the switch.
In general, points can last anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 miles, while condensers typically have a similar lifespan. However, the lifespan of points and condenser in a conventional ignition system can vary depending on several factors such as driving conditions, maintenance practices, and the quality of the parts.
It’s important to note that many modern cars now use electronic ignition systems, which do not have points and condensers. These systems are more reliable and have longer lifespans, requiring little to no maintenance compared to traditional points-based systems.
Symptoms of bad points and condensers include:
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Difficult starting
  • Poor performance
  • Decreased fuel efficiency
  • Ignition timing problems
  • Stalling
  • Excessive carbon deposits on spark plugs
Start your troubleshooting by inspecting the entire ignition system.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.