The good news with electrical problems in cars is that today, they are among the least common automotive problems. Your car’s electrical system might well be able to operate without issue for the full lifecycle of the vehicle. The bad news, though, is that electrical problems can be difficult to diagnose in a car.
A Car’s Electrical System: The Basics
When your brakes start squeaking or rattling, you can quickly come to the conclusion that something is wrong with the brakes. When your car starts having trouble shifting gears, you can point service technicians in the direction of the transmission. With electronic diagnostics, though, nothing is quite so simple. A car’s electrical system is a complex layout of different systems, all of which can malfunction and shut down and all of which tend to cause the same set of problems.
A car’s electrical system is made up of a few different systems and components, themselves connected by plenty of complex wiring. The wiring itself can be a problem, as can each of the components of the system, which include the alternator, the battery, the battery cables, the starter and the vehicle’s computer system.
Because all of these devices work together to keep the electronic functions of your car working properly, it can be difficult to determine which component is the culprit behind an electronic problem. As a result, even DIY car gurus will sometimes take their vehicle to a service like Mazpro to diagnose the root cause of the problem. At Mazpro, we have special diagnostic equipment to determine what is going wrong with your car’s electronic components and which specific device or devices are causing the problem.
Signs Your Car Needs an Electronic Diagnostic Test
So how can you know when your car is in need of an electronic diagnostic checkup, rather than a mechanical repair or some other type of service? Typically, the scenarios below are the most common signs of an electrical issue in a car.
- The car won’t start. This issue is the most common (and the easiest to diagnose) of all automotive electrical problems. If you turn the key and the car doesn’t start, the root of the problem is typically one of three devices: the starter, the alternator or the battery. A broken starter will typically result in a clicking sound when you turn the key. With a dead alternator, the interior lights of the car will come on, but the engine won’t start. And with a dead battery, neither the lights nor the engine will start.
- The lights dim while driving. Have you noticed your lights becoming dimmer while driving—either your headlights or the lights on your dashboard? This issue is a common automotive electrical problem and can be caused by the battery, the alternator or the voltage regulator.
- Random components of the car aren’t working. You try to turn on the radio and it doesn’t work, or you pump your brakes, and your brake lights don’t respond. You have an electrical issue, but where? Fuses? Wiring? You’ll need diagnostic help to find out.
If you’ve noticed any of the above issues with your car, it might be time for an electrical diagnostic checkup. At Mazpro, we don’t perform electrical repairs. However, we do provide thorough diagnostic checks and can reliably find out where in your car’s electrical system you are having problems. From there, we will be able to refer you to a qualified auto electrician for repair and service.