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.


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