Your vehicle’s electrical system boasts a slew of components from the controls that
operate your windows and mirrors to those that start your engine and charge your
phone. Troubleshooting issues with your vehicle’s electrical system can be difficult, especially
if you’re not familiar with the complexities of today’s electrical and electronic systems.
Schedule your Next Battery Service at Pep Boys.
Check the information below to learn more about common issues that can occur with your vehicle’s electrical system.
1. Difficulty Cranking EngineDon’t automatically assume your car isn’t starting because of a bad battery, starter or engine issues. There could be an unrelated defective component in the electrical system, draining your battery and preventing the starter from cranking the engine. Often the check engine light will be on with a no-start. If you hear a clicking noise when turning the key, it usually means that the starter can’t get enough current flow to engage. This is usually caused by a bad or discharged battery. meaning your starter may be the issue. A grinding noise during cranking is usually caused by a bad starter or flywheel ring gear. The older the car and higher the mileage, the larger the possibility that your vehicle’s rotating electrical parts might be going bad. Problems with fuel injection delivery during cranking can also cause hard starting. As a preventative measure, schedule regular fuel injection and throttle body cleaning to help jumpstart your engine a lot quicker.
2. Check your BatteryThe battery is the heart of your vehicle’s electrical system, storing electrical energy for when it is needed. An average battery lasts only about 5 years - .much less in hot climates, so it is recommended that you replace your battery every four years as preventative maintenance to avoid being stranded. A bad battery cell or alternator that is charging improperly could prevent your car battery from staying fully charged, shortening battery life. This is one very important reason to have the complete electrical system checked as a whole as opposed to just the battery.
Check your battery’s cables for corrosion and for tight fit at the terminal ends. If the cables are corroded, carefully remove the cables and use a chemical terminal cleaner and brush to clean them. Corrosion builds resistance that can prevent power from flowing through your electrical system. Take your car to Pep Boys for our FREE Professional Battery Installation Service. We know how important it is for your battery and electrical system to work effortlessly, so let our professional technicians replace and recycle your battery, inspect your battery tray and cable terminal ends, and evaluate your battery’s charging and starting system. Be sure to ask for our Pep Boys Battery Protection Plan that helps assure a long-lasting, trouble-free battery installation.This service is performed during installation and helps keeps the terminals and cable ends free of power robbing corrosion.
3. Check Your headlightDim headlights or brake lights can be an indication of charging malfunction, resistance in the electrical system, loose wires or a severely discharged battery. it is recommended to check your vehicle’s alternator belt. Dim lights also indicate low system voltage. Once voltage drops below a certain level, safety systems such as traction control may disable and eventually the vehicle will stop running altogether. A loose or cracked belt can prevent your alternator from working efficiently and maintaining battery voltage. If you’re unsure how to assess the alternator yourself then bring it to our expert technicians at Pep Boys to test for faulty components on your vehicle. A bad alternator is frequently the cause of dim lights when problems such as loose wire, a slipping belt or corrosion are not found.
4. What’s that Smell?The smell of melting plastic or electrical insulation is something that should never be ignored. Every electrical circuit is designed to carry a specific amount of current and when a wire or component shorts, the circuit draws more power than it can handle. Remember, where there’s smoke there’s the possibility of fire. Pep Boys professional technicians are equipped to locate and repair these electrical problems before they become big and potentially dangerous issues.
5. Missing or Blown FusesA blown fuse is a sign that an electrical device or wiring is drawing too much current. It is important to find the problem first before simply replacing the fuse and calling it fixed. After replacing your fuse, closely monitor it to confirm it’s not a reoccurring issue. If you’re replacing your fuses regularly, then you’ll have to look further when diagnosing your car’s electrical issues.
If you suspect your car is having electrical problems and you aren’t sure where they are stemming from, bring it to Pep Boys for a FREE Starting and Charging System Analysis.