How To Check And Fix Electrical Problems In Your Car

Modern vehicles have complicated electrical systems. They provide power for basic operations like starting the engine, operation of spark plugs, lights, wipers, mirrors, power windows and accessories like the music system. They also power the computers monitoring the control and operation of the engine and other critical systems.

All parts of the electrical system must function correctly for your car to work normally. Unlike most mechanical issues, electrical problems are difficult to pinpoint and are best done at a good garage. Get your car checked if you notice any of the symptoms below.

Starting Problems

Car Electrical Problems

It’s frustrating when your car refuses to start or you have to make multiple attempts to get the engine running. A battery problem is the prime suspect. That said, there are other problems that can result in the same symptoms. A bad alternator or starter can also cause starting difficulties. Even when a discharged battery is the culprit, there are several ways in which it can happen.

Leaving your car parked with the headlights, music system or some other accessory accidentally turned on is the most common cause of a discharged battery. In this case, all you need to do is to jumpstart the car and drive it for a while until the battery is sufficiently charged. To do this, you will need a jumpstart cable and another vehicle to supply the power.

You can also get the battery charged externally at a garage or battery servicing outlet. If you have the right battery charger at home, you can remove the battery, charge it fully and reinstall it in the car.

A faulty charging system that is unable to charge the battery adequately will result in your battery getting gradually discharged. Another possibility is that the battery has reached the end of its life. Batteries have a finite life, usually about three to five years depending on the quality. Once past its end of life, the battery will not hold sufficient charge to function properly. If your battery is dying, it must be replaced quickly.

With so many possibilities, it’s best not to jump to conclusions if you have a starting problem. If you face repeated starting difficulties without any apparent cause, get it checked at a garage as soon as possible to avoid getting stranded.

Dim Lights When The Engine Is Running

If the headlights or the dashboard lights seem to dim when you are idling or driving at low speeds, it points to a problem with the voltage regulator or the alternator. It can also be caused by dying battery that has trouble charging and is overloading the system. If you notice this symptom, get your car checked and fixed as soon as possible or you may get stranded on the road.

Some Lights Or Accessories Are Not Working

If lights or accessories don’t switch on, check for obvious reasons like loose cables or fused lamps. If that’s not the issue, it could be a blown fuse. You can fix this easily. You will find the information on replacing fuses in your owner’s manual. Anything beyond this needs to be checked by a mechanic. It could be a wiring fault within the system.

If a fuse or set of fuses blows frequently, get it checked as soon as possible. You probably have an intermittent short circuit, a wiring fault or a faulty component that is drawing excess current.

Smell Of Burning Plastic

Any kind of odd smell in a car is a cause for concern. You cannot always tell what is burning or how serious the issue is. If you detect a smell of burning plastic, it’s likely that some wires or insulation of a wire is burning. Normally, wires will not heat to a point where it burns or damages the insulation. If you notice a burning smell, stop the car and call a mechanic because there is a risk of fire. The fumes are likely to be toxic. So, open the windows to ventilate the cabin.

Rough Idling Or Sputtering Engine

You will be familiar with the sound of your engine. If you notice any rattling or knocking sounds while idling, you probably have a spark plug problem. It could just be a spark plug that just needs cleaning or replacement. It could also be an electrical issue.

If you suspect electrical problems, take your car to a good garage. Mechanics having access to specialised equipment will be able to pinpoint and fix the problem easily. An early and accurate diagnosis saves your money and prevents the fault from affecting more components.

If you are in Birchwood, Warrington, Winwick, Risley, Partington, Padgate, Newton le Willows, Lymm, Lowton, Irlam, Fearnhead, Culcheth, Croft and surrounding areas Lowton Motor Company Birchwood is the perfect garage for the diagnosis and repair of electrical problems. With over 25 years of experience, we will be able to find and fix the problem quickly and get you back on the road. As the largest garage in Birchwood we provide a convenient and affordable service. For all types of car service and repairs, book your service using the simple booking form below. You can also email us or call us on 01925 330468.


Our Customer Reviews

  • I didn’t manage to find reception too easily, but I did manage to get a car with a good history at a good price. Came with a fresh MOT, service and valet. No issues with the car so far, but if I end up stranded on the motorway next week, I’ll update 😉

    Jay Avatar

    Fantastic service from these guys! Smooth process from start to finish, will use them again.

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    Martina O`Brien

    Pulled up late today with a screw in the tyre! Muzzy was really helpful and repaired my tyre on the spot! Highly recommend this place:)
    Got me out of a hole, cheers guys😎

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    mick bunyan
  • Good service, all things explained and I will be returning.

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    Garry Cassidy

    Warning lights on car while travelling on motorway. Took first possible exit to find garage or similar. Lawton Motor Company sorted problem instantly. Extremely helpful, exemplary service, right balance of professionalism and friendliness. Thanks Paul to you and your staff.

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    Val Packer

    Just bought myself a Jaguar F Pace from these guys and it was so easy. They'd only had the car one day, I sent a couple of emails asking for details and the company director contacted myself personally, sort out some photos and now it's mine. Very easy people to deal with, helpful and willing to sort anything out. Will use again

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    Neil Roberts
  • Just recently bought a Nissan qashqai from this company the service was outstanding and would definitely recommend for anyone who is looking to buy a car .

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    lacey hayes

    With all the Covid regulations in place i was concerned about my visit to the dealership..I was dealt with in a professional and curteous manner by Sam and Ian.Which i appreciated

    David Power Avatar
    David Power

    Excellent service

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    Zzz Pip
  • Car failed its MOT got repaired and retested for free within a few hours.. at a fair price... Highly recommended... Wish I could afford some of the cars on sale here as well, absolute beauties..

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    Car failed its MOT got repaired and retested for free within a few hours.. at a fair price... Highly recommended... Wish I could afford some of the cars on sale here as well, absolute beauties..

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    Car failed its MOT got repaired and retested for free within a few hours.. at a fair price... Highly recommended... Wish I could afford some of the cars on sale here as well, absolute beauties..

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    Darryl Walker
  • Car failed its MOT got repaired and retested for free within a few hours.. at a fair price... Highly recommended... Wish I could afford some of the cars on sale here as well, absolute beauties..

    Lord Walker Avatar
    Lord Walker

    With all the Covid regulations in place i was concerned about my visit to the dealership..
    I was dealt with in a professional and curteous manner by Sam and Ian.
    Which i appreciated

    David Power Avatar
    David Power

    I am a new customer using LMC, and aI am extremely happy with the service I received from all staff in the reception and especially from Lough who carried out the work on my keeping me informed of what needed attention

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    Peter Gurney
  • Quality

    Manchester Avatar

    Bought a car from them very happy with the service I received. Also service manager is very helpful and will not hesitate to help in any way he can.

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    David Melton

    Had quite a few issues when I purchased the car but young San sorted them. Thanks.

  • Superb service from start to finish will definitely use again in the future

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    Stephen Gault

    Easy to book over the phone.Car brought in in the morning for MOT and interim service.Car collected at the end of the day.No faults noted. Didn't try and upsell me on anything. Seems like a good dealership.

    Mark P Avatar
    Mark P

    Friendly staff and a good service I will go back again thanks

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    Lee Hancock
  • Recently booked my car in for an MOT and service and they were able to fit me in at very short notice which was great! Great value and excellent service provided. All staff were very helpful and friendly on arrival and pick up. Would def recommend

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    jan johann

    Bought my car off them this week great set of Lads nothing to much trouble quick and efficient service thanks very much To y & Les


    Excellent company, professional non pushy salesmen, very knowledgeable on all the cars available, upfront and honest on the deals and purchase price for my car, aftersales also excellent.
    Would recommend the birchwood sales centre we will definitely be using them again, fantastic that they also have a service centre and mot centre on site to continue the high standard of care for the car purchased.

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    Rebecca Wood
  • Had my MOT booked here.
    Quick and efficient service, will definitely come back for future services.

    Ryan Lee Avatar
    Ryan Lee

    Very pleased on all counts. They couldn't have been more helpful.
    And they do a great coffee ☕ 👍👍

    Graham Sutcliffe Avatar
    Graham Sutcliffe

    Amazing ,Loue (mechanic) kindly pushed my car around to their service area( broken down on way ) for checking to why not starting ?
    The battery was the fault he ordered a new one and fitted it at a reasonable price,Thankyou to the receptionist whom looked after me whilst waiting....
    A big Thankyou to Loue 😊

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    lynne frodsham
  • I bought my new car, sale went through smoothly.

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    David Mckeown

    Took my car in at 9am as arranged for mot, it was done on time and whilst I waited was shown courtesy and politeness would not hesitate to recommend and I will definitely use again for my up coming service

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    kevan jones

    I was very satisfied with the level of service I received last week from Lowton Motor Company. They traced a leak in my air conditioning unit, obtained a replacement radiator and topped up the gas within there estimated time scale and price

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    peter standing

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