Should I Replace The Distributor – Or Just The Cap And Rotor?

Modern vehicles use electronic ignition systems, often with individual coils for each cylinder. However, if you prefer a big old classic V8 – and who doesn’t? – then it is more likely to have a mechanical distributor.

These components wear out over time, and when they do, you may wonder whether you should just replace the cap and rotor or the entire unit.

In this article, we examine both options and provide you with the information to make the right choice.

When Is It Time For Replacement?

  • Cap, rotor, and points – every 15,000 miles
  • Distributor housing – should last the life of the vehicle

The distributor is made up of a housing, cap, rotor, and points. The housing itself should last for decades. The rest of the components usually need replacement on average every 15,000 miles. If your car starts to run rough or struggles to start before that mileage, it’s worth checking the state of the distributor system.

Replacing the cap and rotor may keep your engine running smoothly, but upgrading your old distributor with a modern unit can make a big difference to how your car performs.

Why Replacing The Complete Distributor Is A Good Idea

  • More precise timing and better ignition control
  • Improved engine performance and fuel economy
  • Better starting performance

Modern distributors offer a big benefit over older designs. They offer more precise control of the ignition and timing sequence. This results in a smoother-running engine and more power throughout the rev range.

The more even electrical current delivered to the spark plugs also results in fewer misfires and easier cold starts. These two issues affect many older engine designs.

The design of our modern High Energy Ignition (HEI) distributors more than doubles the voltage output compared to older designs. The coil is also integrated into the cap housing, allowing for a stronger spark. 

Upgrade Your Classic With A Modern Distributor

Whether you drive a Ford, Chevy, Cadillac, or Oldsmobile, we have a modern distributor system for your car.

The products listed below are some of our most popular parts. If you don’t see the right part for your vehicle here, our experts at Karl Kustoms are on hand to assist.

Popular Distributor Parts From Karl Kustoms

Part NumberMakeDescription
KPPJM6501CLChevySBC/BBC V8 V8 HEI Clear Distributor Cap
KPPJM6515BKChevySBC/BBC V8 Mechanical Tach Drive HEI Distributor
KPPJM6614RChryslerBBC Hemi V8 Pro Billet Distributor Red Cap
KPPJM6652RChevy87-93 V8 EFI Distributor 305 350 454
KPPJM6951BKChevySBC/BBC Black 8 Cylinder Replacement HEI Distributor Cap and Rotor Kit
KPPJM6500ChevySBC BBC V8 HEI Distributor w/ 65K Volt Coil
KPPJM6501ChevySBC/BBC V8 HEI Distributor 65K Coil
KPPJM6502FordSBF V8 HEI Conversion Distributor
KPPJM6502-5FordSBF V8 5.0 L EFI to Carb Conversion HEI Distributor
KPPJM6503OldsmobileV8 HEI Distributor 260 307 350 403 455
KPPJM6504PontiacV8 HEI Distributor 65K Volt
KPPJM6506FordCleveland BBF 351C 351M 400M 429 460 HEI Distributor
KPPJM6510FordSBF 351W Windsor V8 HEI Distributor 65K Volt Coil
KPPJM6517Cadillac68-84 V8 V8 HEI Distributor 65K Volt Coil
KPPJM6601ChevySBC/BBC 350 400 396 454 Pro Billet Distributor
KPPJM6606FordBBF 429 460 351C 351M 400 V8 Pro Billet Distributor
KPPJM6973Multiple8 Cylinder Pro Billet Series Ready-to-Run Distributor Male Cap and Rotor Kit
KPPK7601ChevySBC/BBC V8 Pro Billet Distributor with Mechanical Advance
KPPK7601-1ChevySBC/BBC Vac Adv Pro Billet Distributor SBC BBC 350 383
KPPK3925BChevySBC/BBC Chevy HEI Distributor 50K Volt Coil Black

Order Your Replacement Distributor Parts From Karl Kustoms

Thanks to modern technology, upgrading your older vehicle with a newer distributor can give you better performance, lower fuel bills, and a smoother running engine. Check out the table above to find some of our most popular distibutors parts and distibutor components:

The benefits of a complete distributor replacement certainly make it a better option than just replacing the cap and rotor. We have decades of experience in building and restoring some of the finest hot rods in the country. And our modern distributors certainly enhance the driving experience.

Order your upgraded distributor from Karl Kustoms today and experience the difference for yourself.