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Sep 12, 2016

Common Electrical Issues Car-Owners Should Know About

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Few issues can render your car as useless as electrical problems can. In fact, most glitches a car is prone to are related to something gone awry with its electrical generators and conduits. So, when your trusted chariot one day just refuses to start and and just sits there silent, or gives you pained growls when you turn the ignition key, check for these possible snags:

Car’s Electrical Problems

The battery. First thing’s first: check the battery. Usually the issue is that the battery is no longer holding a charge, a.k.a. a “dead battery.” This critical part supplies electric energy to your car, which ultimately starts the engine. Did you leave your headlights on overnight? If so, that’s what caused the battery to lose its charge.

The fix here is easy: either a jump-charge or a battery recharge. But, keep in mind that your dead battery can also be the result of a faulty component of the vehicle, or some damage to it, or the age of the battery—in which case it will need to be replaced by your mechanic.

A faulty alternator. Another problem that can keep your car battery from charging is a faulty alternator. This part’s function is to recharge the battery and to power all the electrical systems as the engine is running. The most common part to check here is the alternator belt, as it may have worn out or cracked.

A blown fuse. Are your power locks refusing to cooperate? Have your car’s turn signals have become inoperative? It may be a problem with your fuse box. All electrical systems in a vehicle are connected to a fuse that sends them electricity in just the right amounts. If the fuse is blown, the electrical systems connected to it will not work.

Bad spark plugs or spark plug wires. Does your car run rough in idle? Does it take its time to accelerate? Does it stall? Are you running out of gas sooner than you should be? Have your mechanic take a look at your spark plugs and wires.

Spark plugs move the pistons in your engine cylinders up and down and that makes the engine work properly. They need a small electrical charge, and if they are not getting it, your engine will not be able to properly operate. Luckily bad spark plugs and wires can usually be easily fixed with a tune-up.

Defective solenoid. When you start the car, a small electric current is sent through a component made up of a set of magnetic coils called solenoid, to ultimately start your engine. This problem is sometimes confused with a bad starter or a dead battery, and only your mechanic will be able to discern the difference.

To avoid running into electrical problems, always keep your battery and its connections clean; only buy high quality batteries, and start your car with your electrical hogs (the stereo, the A/C), turned off. But, most importantly, have your car’s electrical system checked and tested every two years, or as soon as you run into any of the issues discussed above.

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