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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Common Auto Electrical Problems

For safe and reliable operation, every vehicle depends on a fully functional electrical system. In you car electricity plays a major role in your vehicle's operation.
Your electrical system includes your vehicle's battery, alternator and starter.  There are dozens of accessories in your car, such as the radio, lights, power locks and windows and even your in-dash infotainment system, are all operated electronically.
Many new vehicles also feature sophisticated computer systems that affect functions like steering, brakes, sensors, and more. All of these electrical components make it difficult to diagnose the cause of vehicle electrical problems, but most begin and end with your battery.

So when an electrical issue is suspected where would an automotive technician begin their search for a cure? Well one of the following five common auto electrical problems is more than likely going to be at fault for your car's troubles.


The performance of the engine, alternator, and secondary electrical systems depend on the battery. Battery failure is the #1 cause of vehicle breakdown. Your vehicle's battery is responsible for providing dependable starting power. It also provides the power needed to run electrical components and accessories such as your interior and exterior lighting, power seats, windows, and radio.
If you experience complete electrical failure in your car and are unable to start it, you're likely facing a dead battery. A completely dead battery will mean not only will your car not start, but your lights or radio or other electrical items won't be able to work either. Batteries wear out over time and need to be replaced, but they can also go dead due to an accessory being left on while the vehicle is not running for an extended period. If the latter happens the issue can usually be resolved with a jump start.


The alternator is part of the electrical system of your vehicle. Its key role is to keep the battery charged and is responsible for generating the electricity that operates lights and other accessories while the vehicle's engine is on. The alternator is connected to a belt system under the hood, allowing it to generate electricity from the motion of the motor.

If the alternator starts to die, you might notice your headlights and/or dashboard lights beginning to dim. Once the dash light or headlights dim, it is a clear indication of potential alternator malfunction. A waning alternator may cause other electronic accessories such as power windows and/or power seats to operate a more slowly than usual.
Most cars have a dashboard warning light that alerts you when the alternator stops working. Usually, the warning light will be shaped like a battery in car dashboard.

Starter Motor

The starter is a mechanical system that is powered by electricity. Sometimes the starter will overheat because of continued power being supplied to the starter or the starter motor will not shut off after the car's engine has ignited. If this occurs, you'll most likely see or smell smoke coming from underneath the engine. This problem may be caused by a short circuit, blown fuse or might be due to a problem with the ignition switch.

The other most common indicator that a problem with your starter exists is when you turn your key and nothing happens. There are times when you'll turn the ignition switch and hear the starter activate but will not hear the motor crank over.

And some other complaints are sometimes grinding noise when trying to start the motor, this warning sign often occurs when the gears that connect the starter to the flywheel are worn out. If the above problems occurs, you'll have to contact a mechanic to inspect the starter

Blown Fuse

One of the most common problems for electrical systems is a blown fuse. If a specific system stops working, such as the radio or the turn signals, you will want to check the fuse box. An electric fuse is a small device that is used to protect electric circuits in your vehicle against high current caused by short circuiting (see below) or overloading. Most electrical systems in the vehicle are routed through a fuse to ensure they don't receive too much electricity. A blown fuse means the circuit is broken.

Short Circuit

A short circuit occurs when an electrical circuit allows current to travel along an unintended pathway, often where essentially no, or a very low, electrical impedance is encountered. This may happen if the coating on wires wears away and the wiring comes into contact with metal on the vehicle unintentionally. Often times a short is the main cause of a blown fuse.

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