Nowadays, there’s a popular misconception about cars. Seems like a lot of people believe that more expensive vehicles will break down less. While there’s some truth in this, no vehicle is ever safe from electrical problems. Whether you’re driving a Bugatti or a Honda, your car is at risk of malfunctions at any time.
Perhaps, you may be wondering how your new car can have such issues. Well, electrical systems have undoubtedly made newer car models deliver a smoother driving experience. However, the seemingly endless innovations in the field have opened an entirely new can of worms.
Car Electrical Problems
Arguably, several signs will help you diagnose your car without professional help.While dealing with these problems isn’t advisable, you’ll get a better idea of what’s going on with your vehicle. Here are some of the everyday car electrical issues along with troubleshooting advice for each one:
1. Faulty lights
Perhaps, one of the most crucial problems has to do with your headlights and other lights. While they’ll help you stay safe on the road, some countries ban driving without working exterior lights. Sometimes, a problem with your exterior lights may cause your interior illumination to malfunction, too. In this regard, you must address the matter as soon as possible.
When your electrical system starts malfunctioning, you’ll notice that your lights are starting to dim. Typically, such a sign translates into low system voltage. In such cases, the problem may be a dying battery, but it can also be because of loose wires. Check out the alternator belt or for any corrosion plaguing the rest of the system.
Usually, you can do a quick check with a voltmeter. If you have one in handy, make sure you know how to use it to diagnose the issue correctly. In any case, don’t forget to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a full analysis.
2. Faulty car horn
Surprisingly, car horns can also cause unwanted problems. Even though you won’t often deal with this issue, a car horn problem can be quite dangerous. In other words, you may not be able to send a warning signal when needed. Besides, it’s quite annoying to drive around without a horn.
Perhaps, the most frequent reason for such an issue is the position of the car horn. Most of the time, you’ll find it in the center of the steering wheel. There, it’s susceptible to moisture, filth, and dust, which is a good reason for electrical problems. Extensive and abnormal use can cause the protective material to fatigue and even rip. Consequently, you may have to replace your car horn to use it again.
3. Car battery issues
Arguably, nobody likes heading out to their vehicle on a cold winter morning just to find out their car’s dead. You’ve probably checked the starter, and it makes the “click”sound, which means it works. Still, your car won’t start,and you’re getting cold.
In this case, your best move would be to check for loose wiring or corrosion around the posts. If the problem still persists, your battery is probably dead. This problem usually emerges when there has been some type of damage or leakage. However, most of the time, the issue comes from low battery life. If the reason is in your battery, that doesn’t mean you should replace it straight away. You should be aware that most car batteries can last for about 5 years before they start dying out.
Still, you’d want to check other parts of your car before you go for a car battery replacement. Perhaps, you’d like to check the alternator or your wiring. After you’ve made sure that the issue comes from the battery, consider taking it to an auto shop for a thorough inspection.
4. Problems with the alternator
When it comes to the alternator, it’s the part that makes sure your car battery works efficiently. If your car happens to have a problem with its alternator, then a new car battery would make no difference. Most of the time, such issues point to the alternator, so you’d want to make sure it’s functioning correctly.
Usually, a damaged alternator will cause a decrease in power, which will make the car start to slow down. Since there’s no longer enough charge to power the car, its electrical system may start flickering. In such cases, you’d want to replace your alternator immediately. In other words, you’ll need help from an expert mechanic, or else your car won’t go anywhere!
5. Engine starter malfunction
While the abovementioned complications may not be that serious, a faulty engine starter may require some elbow grease. Undoubtedly, there may be a lot of reasons why your car won’t start. But you’ll be quite unlucky if it turns out your engine starter has malfunctioned.
As the name suggests, you won’t be able to start your vehicle at all. Moreover, even a brand new car battery and an alternator belt won’t help you. Suppose you don’t hear the little “click” sound the starter makes. In that case, you should probably visit a professional mechanic to have it replaced.
6. Short circuit
Similar to your home electrical system, every car has its own limits regarding electrical power. That’s why it’s never a good idea to put a strain on your vehicle. As you can imagine, giving a circuit more than it can handle will sooner or later cause it to malfunction. What’s more, if you aren’t careful, you may even cause your car to burn or explode!
If you ever smell burning plastic or electrical insulation, it’s a warning sign you mustn’t ignore. Stop your car immediately, especially if you already experience dimmed lights or blown fuses. In such cases, your best option is to get your vehicle towed to the nearest service station. Otherwise, you risk causing more significant damage, which often results in higher repair costs.PHOTO:ELECTRICALTOOLSWORLD.COM
7. Loose spark plugs
Another matter that you might run into is loose spark plugs. Similar to loose screws in a kitchen cabinet, loose spark plugs may cause an unpleasant breakdown. Since they’re responsible for supporting the piston, you’ll certainly know when there’s some unusual activity.
For example, you may notice that your car starts losing power, eventually stopping. Perhaps, there may be some factory defects, but there are likely some damaged spark plugs. While you can attend to the issue yourself, it’s always better to rely on a professional. That way, you’ll make sure you don’t experience the same problem again, especially not while you’re on the road.
8. Wiring and fuse box issues
Without a doubt, fuse box blows are the smallest electrical problem you could have in your car. The bad thing is when this starts to happen frequently. By design, the purpose of the car fuse box is to prevent overvoltage and short-circuiting. In other words, the fuses protect all vulnerable parts of the electrical system from drawing too much current.
Sometimes, a fuse may blow up for no significant reason. You can fix the issue with a simple replacement. But if there are frequent blowups, you’ll likely have a much bigger problem ahead. Typically, the matter roots in loose wires around the box that may eventually make it blow. Therefore, you should consider taking your vehicle for an expert examination. After all, driving a car that suffers constant fuse blowups may snowball into a lot more damage to your vehicle.
9. The engine won’t crank
As you may know, your battery provides the spark that ignites the fuel in the motor. If it doesn’t crank properly, this may be a sign of an electrical problem. Consequently, it may end up draining your battery without your car working at all.
At first, you may think the problem’s in your starter. But it’s more likely that the issue’s in the rotating parts of your car’s engine. You can check this by attempting to start your vehicle. If there’s a “clicking” when you turn on the key, there’s not enough current system flow. If there’s some sort of “grinding,”then you may be having a bad starter or a faulty flywheel gear.
Sometimes, the reason may be a faulty fuel injecting delivery that could cause a hard start. Usually, you can avoid such malfunctions with regular servicing and checks.As a result, you’ll completely eliminate the problem in its roots. Whether you have an old or new car, experiencing such an issue requires an immediate inspection from a professional.
10. Faulty solenoids
Indeed, you can encounter all the above regardless of your car’s age and condition. However, other parts may break or wear over time. Similar to loose spark plugs, another major issue has to do with the starter relays. Faulty solenoids can be quite annoying as they will stop your automatic door locks from working. Usually, a solenoid serves as a power distributor to the starter motor and the rest of the car.
As you start the engine, the power distribution may be uneven, which may cause overload and malfunction. As expected, most people would blame it on their car battery or the alternator rather than the actual reason. That’s why you should ask an expert mechanic to check your electrical system before you start replacing working parts.
11. Diagnose Your Car’s Electrical Problems
Typically, car electrical issues arise when the car is old, but that’s not always the case. Winter mornings are a prime example of car malfunctions. When you head out to your vehicleon a cold winter morning, you may often find yourself stuck inside. Perhaps, the cold weather has found its way to your car battery, which means zero available energy. Sometimes, even newer models may struggle to find that much-needed spark, or the problem may be in the alternator.
Either way, fixing your car starts with a proper diagnosis of your car’s electrical problems. Of course, you’ll first need to locate the issue. That way, you’ll give a better explanation when you take your car to a professional.
Final Thoughts for Car Electrical Problems
All in all, ignoring electrical problems may cost you much more than fixing them. Therefore, you must resolve any issue as soon as you diagnose it. Otherwise, you risk spiraling down into a pit of even more problems. For this reason, you should always rely on professionals. While you can do the repairs yourself, expert mechanics will give you peace of mind when there are some electrical issues. Best of all, they’ll guarantee you no longer experience the same issue again. Don’t hesitate to contact your local car service center and fix your car’s electrical problem once and for all.