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 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. So in this guide, Ride Time will take a look at 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. Your battery has to provide the spark that ignites the fuel in your engine. If your engine is not cranking properly, this could be a sign of a bad battery, alternator, or another unrelated electrical problem.

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.

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. Take it to a service station right away, and have it checked by a professional.

2. You’re Experiencing Battery Problems

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

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

If you think your battery is at fault, start by checking your cables for corrosion, and ensure they’re fitted properly. 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. Take your car to your nearest service station to have the alternator and other power systems checked.

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 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.

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 diagnose the issue yourself. Take your car in to a mechanic for a full electrical analysis.

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 electrical systems.

If you have to replace a fuse more than once in a short period of time, get your car professionally examined. It’s likely there is an electrical fault or short-circuit causing the issue, 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 a service station. Avoid driving, because you could further damage your vehicle, resulting in higher repair costs.

Come To Ride Time For A Thorough Diagnostic Servicing!

If you suspect your car may be having some electrical problems, it’s important to get it serviced right away. If you act quickly, you can avoid expensive repairs like alternator replacements, or electrical rewiring.

Got a car with electrical issues in Winnipeg? Come to Ride Time now! At our 8-bay service centre, we can assess and analyze the health of your vehicle, 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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