Electrical System Warning Signs

Car Care

Understand These Common Electrical System Warning Signs for your Car, Truck, or SUV

Your vehicle's electrical system has many 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 hard, especially if you're not familiar with the complexities of today's electrical and electronic systems, so read the handy electrical system tips below.

Difficulty Starting Engine

Don't automatically assume your car isn't starting because of a bad starter, battery or engine issues. There could be an unrelated defective component in the electrical system, draining your battery and preventing the starter from starting the engine. A lot of times 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, which means 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.

Check your Battery

The battery is the heart of your vehicle's electrical system, storing electrical energy for when it is needed. An average battery lasts only about five 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, which would shorten 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 headlights

Dim headlights or brake lights can be an indication of resistance in the electrical system, charging malfunction, loose wires or a severely discharged battery. It is recommended that you check your vehicle's alternator belt. Dim lights also might 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 properly. A cracked or loose 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 Coggin DeLand Honda 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.

What's that Smell?

The smell of electrical insulation or melting plastic is something that should never be ignored. Every electrical circuit is designed to carry a specific amount of current and when a component or wire shorts, the circuit draws more power than it can handle. Remember, where there's smoke there's the strong possibility of fire. Coggin DeLand Honda professional technicians are equipped to locate and repair these electrical problems before they become big and potentially dangerous issues.

Missing or Blown Fuses

A blown fuse is a sign that an electrical device or wiring is drawing too much current. It is important to find the problemĀ  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.