The distributor coil is a device that works to charge the car's battery, as well as to provide power for the ignition system. The device also provides what's known as "spark advance." More specifically, when the engine is turned on, current from the battery goes through a winding of wire in the distributor and then jumps across a gap in order to turn on an ignition coil. From there it jumps across another gap after first hitting a rotor (or sometimes called "a camshaft") which has been spun by your engine.
A distributor can be found under the hood of most vehicles. A distributor uses a "pulley" or "belt" to connect two objects -- in this case, the crankshaft and blower motor from the engine. The coil is crucial to start up your engine, as it provides a low-voltage current that travels down through a wire and contacts the spark plug.
The pulley changes its speed when you turn on your ignition key and it's driven by an electric motor whose power is controlled by a speed sensor at the front of your car. A circuit also includes two coils for starting alternators -- one for each starter.
A distributor has a lot of moving pieces. The main parts include:
The rotor , which is the main shaft and spins when the engine is started. A pickup coil has an electrical current that flows to it from the ignition coil through one of two main wires (small wires connect them). One wire connects it to the battery, which turns on the car's starter. The other wire connects it to the ignition switch. The wires surround the rotor and are held in place by insulators called "brushes." There are two sets of brushes located on opposite sides of the distributor housing -- one set for each wire that supplies power to start your engine.