The 5 Most Common Signs That Your Car’s Electrical System Is Failing

Car Maintenance, Tips, Used Cars

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car electrical system

Modern cars are highly-reliant on electrical systems to function properly. The alternator, battery, and other electrical and electronic systems control much of the functionality of your car – and if they begin to fail, you may experience a wide variety of issues with your car.

However, it can be easy to misdiagnose electrical problems with your vehicle. Ride Time is a highly-respected service provider for automotive repair and electrical repair. It is known for its strategy based solutions and provides holistic diagnostic and repair for a renewed car performance.

Ride Time would like to share some car tips, smart guide and a few common signs that your car is having electrical problems. Let’s get started.

1. The Engine Won’t Crank Properly

The engine requires electrical power to start. Through the ignition switch, the battery has to provide the spark through a spark plug that ignites the fuel in your engine. If your engine won’t crank properly, this could be a sign of a bad battery, alternator, or another unrelated electrical problem.

The alternator of the car must work well with your battery in order to charge the vehicle’s electrical system. A bad alternator surely affects your car in many ways.

The most common issue you’ll have is “clicking” when you turn the key and attempt to start our car. This means that there is not enough current flow in the system to engage the engine. Usually, this is caused by a discharged or bad battery, but your starter could also be the source of the issue.

The starter motor should turn the engine over during ignition and allow everything else to happen. The starter motor allows the engine to suck air when the ignition is turned on.

If you hear a “grinding” noise during cranking, this could be because of a bad starter, or a faulty flywheel ring gear. If your car is older and has high mileage, there is a good chance that there is a fault in an electrical system. If these cases are persisting, then electrical diagnosis is highly recommended. A scheduled maintenance is also advised to make your car stay in good condition.

2. You’re Experiencing Battery Problems

If you are having issues with your battery, don’t just replace it without checking the car’s electrical systems. Most car batteries last about 5 years – less in hot climates – so a dead battery or a faulty battery could be a problem.

However, the issue could also lie with your alternator, or somewhere else in the auto electrical system of your vehicle.

If you think your battery is at fault, start by checking your battery cables for corrosion, and ensure they’re fitted properly because they mainly power the car’s electronic systems. If your car still doesn’t start, you can consider taking your battery into an auto shop to see if it is functioning properly.

If your battery is in good condition, and is confirmed to be working properly, your issue likely lies elsewhere. Diagnosing your car electrical system is recommended so you can take your car to your nearest service station to have the alternator and other power systems checked. Electrical repair specialists provide strategy based solutions to these problems. Car owners need to also understand the car’s charging system which keeps the electrical energy of the car running.

  If you don’t know how to do diagnostic and repair, get a jumpstart and get a professional technician to check your vehicle’s electrical system and do the tedious auto electric repair.

3. Headlights And Other Lights Are Not Working Properly

Your car’s lights are one of the most important things that your electrical system controls. Turn signals, brake lights and headlights keep you safe on the road, and interior illumination and lamps ensure that you can see what you need to in dark conditions.

If your car’s electrical system is malfunctioning, you may notice that various lights start to dim. Dimming lights indicate charging malfunctions and low system voltage. The culprit could be a dying battery, loose wires, or a malfunctioning alternator belt.

If the check engine light of your dashboard lights it means that there is a minor or major issue with your car that needs auto electric repair. Check engine light is a malfunction indicator lamp that is signalled by the car’s engine computer telling that there is something wrong.

Corrosion of electrical systems may also be an issue. Unless you have a voltmeter handy (and know how to use it) you probably won’t be able to do electric diagnoses job yourself. If your car won’t start, it certainly has a car electrical issue, so take your car in to a mechanic for full vehicle inspections.

4. Your Fuses Keep Blowing Out

Your car’s fuse box is designed to prevent overvoltage and short circuiting. Fuses break the circuits, protecting vulnerable electrical systems from drawing too much current.

Occasionally, a fuse may blow for no real reason. In this case, simply replacing it is the only thing you need to do. But if you have a few fuses that blow out repeatedly, you likely have a deeper problem with your vehicle electrical systems.

An overheated and melted fuse disrupts electricity flow. A blown fuse in some cases is a symptom of a bigger problem to the electronic systems. Diagnostic and repair is highly recommended in order not to cause bigger problems.

Fuses protect your vehicle’s electric system. High voltage produced by the battery and alternator will be protected by the fuse box.

If you have to replace a fuse more than once in a short period of time, it is more likely to have electrical issues. Get your car professionally examined and do auto electric repair. It’s likely there is an electrical fault or short-circuit causing the issue which needs electrical repair, and if you don’t fix it, you could end up with further damage to your vehicle.

5. You Smell Burning Plastic Or Electrical Insulation

If you are experiencing any of the above problems and you smell burning plastic or electrical insulation, you should stop driving your car immediately. This is a sure sign of an electrical malfunction or a short circuit, especially if it occurs alongside dimmed lights, blown fuses, and issues cranking or starting your car.

Get your car towed to the automotive electrical service station for diagnose and repair. Avoid driving, because you could further damage your vehicle, resulting in higher repair costs.

Here are 4 common types of burning smell from car:

    1. Burning rubber.  This is a significant indication that the car engine is running for a long time. Below are specific reasons why your car have a rubber smell:
      • Clutch problem
      • Drive belt melting problem
      • Oil leaking problem
      • Coolant leaking problem. Air conditioning repair of the vehicle shall be done if a coolant leaking problem occurs.
    2. Burning Plastic.  Usually occurs after starting the fan and heater in the car. Below are specific reasons why your car have a burning plastic smell:
      • Smell from the heater
      • Electrical short problem

      Asking the help of a technician for auto electric repair would be a perfect thing to do. If you smell a burning plastic in your car, then there is a need to fix the electrical and electronic repair to avoid major problems using the car.

    3. Burning oil.  This problem occurs when the oil in the exhaust leaks out. Let’s take a look at some causes below:
      • Done oil changing problem. Ensure that the oil change is done properly to keep away from this problem. Also, fluid flush shall be done by a professional auto mechanic.
      • Oil filter losing problem
      • Oil plug damage problem
      • Failing gaskets

      For these cases, we need to consult experts in electricity and electronics or direct the car to the warranty center. Also, proper repair and maintenance should be done regularly to maintain the health of your car and car owners are advised to understand well the fuel system of the car.

    4. Burning carpet.  Usually happens when a car needs brake repair. The brakes can emit car burning smell and if this happens, brake pad replacement is usually needed.

    Come To Ride Time For A Thorough Diagnostic Servicing!

    If you suspect your car may be having some electrical and electronic problems that need diagnostics and repair, get it serviced right away with Ride Time. If you act quickly, you can avoid expensive repairs like alternator replacements, wheel alignments, or electrical rewiring.

    Ride Time is your best partner for car maintenance and your pro for automotive electrical systems problems. If you offer fleet vehicles, Ride Time has a strong pool of experts to cater larger volumes of vehicles for diagnostic and repair works.

    Living in Winnipeg or Calgary Ab? Does your car need electrical diagnostics? Come to Ride Time now! Have your car inspected at our 8-bay service centre, we can assess and analyze the health of your vehicle with reasonable auto repair estimates, and ensure you get the repairs you need to keep it running smoothly. Contact us today, and schedule an appointment online.


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