Electrical issues with the car are a major concern because most modern cars depend on proper conduction of electric current. This revolves around the car battery, its charging system, electric connections and inputs that use the electric current. A failure among the mentioned electric components will cause a malfunction that leads to inconveniences.
There is the possibility that the problem you’re experiencing with the electric components is connected to another internal issue. So an investigation into the cause of the common electrical system problems could lead to a non electric issue. That’s why there is a possibility for a misdiagnosis only if you assume the source of the issue without proper investigation. For example, depending on the type of headlight bulbs you have, them becoming dim could be caused by something other than a low battery. So, how can you identify electrical issues with the car?
What are signs of electrical problems in a car?
Your vehicle will give you indications that there is a problem with the electric components. In such cases, you may need a replacement or an adjustment of the causative agent. Some of the indicators that hint when the car has electrical problems include;
Fuses keep blowing up.
The fuse box provides a balance of electric current being transferred to different electronic systems. When there is a surge in the electricity uptake by the electronic systems, the fuse box brakes the circuit. Hence, protecting the electronic systems from damage.
In some occasions, the fuse may blow out due to other contributing factors. That may not be a sign of electrical issues with the car. However, if the same fuse blows multiple times or a number of other fuses do the same, there is an electrical issue. This time you will have to investigate the problem.
The fuse protects electronic system components when the battery and alternator transfers high voltage to the systems. This excess electric current causes the fuse to melt as it tries to brake the circuit. Undertaking fuse replacement a number of times within a short period is a bad indication. Get a professional to investigate and correct the situation.
Dim light from headlights and other lights.
The car’s lights rely on electric energy for operations. They are very important as they improve visibility for the driver and other road users. Turning signal lights are important for communication on the road.
When you’re suspicious of an electrical system malfunction, the car’s lights are a good place to start your investigation. Often times when the electric system malfunctions, the car’s lights do not work. Alternatively, they could work but they will be blinking constantly.
This could be an indication of insufficient electric voltage from the car electrical system. You will need to investigate the alternator, battery or the car’s electric wiring. It is advisable to investigate this immediately because it could leave you stranded on the road.
Engine doesn’t crank.
The process of starting a car engine entirely depends on the car’s battery. The battery transfers electric volts to the spark plug which ignites fuel within the combustion chamber to start the engine. As soon as the engine starts, the alternator takes over the role of supplying electric current. It recharges the battery to compensate for the volts used during the engine start.
An engine that takes time to start and it keeps cranking or clicking is a sign that something is wrong with the battery. That’s why it is important for you to choose the right type of battery. Because most batteries last up to 5 years. Now, if your battery is old, engine cranks and clicks could be a tell sign. In this case, a jumpstart may save the situation. But you could be jumpstarting the car for a number of times unless you replace the battery.
But there is a difference between when the engine cranks loudly and when there is a clicking sound. The cranking could be a sign that the spark plug is the issue causing the engine not to start. Alternatively, if the engine produces a clicking sound, this is a sign that the battery is faulty. Further, you may notice a grinding sound coupled with the engine cranking. This is a sign that the starter motor is faulty.
Further, investigations could reveal that the battery is low and that’s why the car won’t start. If this is the case, you will need to investigate the alternator. Because there is a possibility that the alternator isn’t recharging the battery. Hence causing the battery to lack sufficient juice.
Burning plastic smell.
If your sense of smell suggests that something is burning, cease operating the vehicle immediately. If you are driving during this incident, park the car and turn off the engine immediately. So, how do you know that the smell is coming from electric system malfunctions? First examine whether this problem is coupled with other recent issues with the electric system components.
Afterwards investigate the electric system wiring because the smell could be coming from an overheating wire that is burning its insulation. If you can’t locate the problem, have the car towed to a service station for professional investigation. Driving while in this condition could cause extensive damage to the vehicle.
Check the windshield wipers.
When you’re having electrical issues, the windshield wipers usually move slower than usual or they don’t move at all. Before seeking a professional’s advice, I encourage you to check if the wipers are working properly. If they aren’t, it is a sign that electric current is not being sufficiently supplied within the electrical system. It could suggest a problem with the battery, alternator, wiring or the fuse box.
Diagnosing electrical problems in a car.
In order to understand the underlying issue with your car electric system, start by investigating whether the battery is okay. Conduct a simple test when the engine is turned off. Try turning on the lights or the windshield wipers.
The car battery is responsible for supplying electric charge to electric components when the engine is off. If non of them are working the battery is faulty. There are a bunch of reasons why the car battery dies. So, pop the hood and investigate the battery terminal connections. Ensure they are free from corrosion and they are fastened properly because they could be loose. Hence hindering the transfer of electric current.
Secondly, investigate whether the alternator is in a good condition. The alternator could be loose or worn out. If it is worn out, simply replace it because it might leave you stranded on the road.
Further, investigate the wiring within the electrical system. Ensure that the wire’s connections are intact at both ends of their connection. A disconnection could interfere with electric current transfer. Hence leading to a malfunction.
If the problem is the car not starting, there could be a problem with the battery or the spark plug. This conclusion can be arrived at after testing the electric components when the engine is turned off and you see they are functional. Pop the hood and look at whether the spark plug is tightly connected all the way in.
What causes electrical issues in cars?
In order to effectively diagnose the electrical issue that your car has, it’s important to know where the problem originates. Though it’s a tough task to correctly diagnose the electric problem when you’re not a professional. There are some common causes of electric issues in cars. These are;
- Car electric wiring.
- Ignition coil.
- Spark Plug.