Working in Sydney with decades of experience, the mechanics at Reliance Auto Centre have seen first hand how car electronics have developed in modern cars.
What is auto electrical?
A car’s auto electrical system can include power windows with defogging capabilities, air conditioning systems, reverse cameras, sensors and sound systems. These features are all powered by an intricate array of wiring and components. Auto electricians can install electronic add-ons and features and also assess, diagnose and fix any electrical problems that arise.
Today, even the most basic model of car contains a sophisticated array of technology, and while this is a boon for driver comfort, it can also be compared to a complex nervous system and extremely confusing for drivers to navigate when something goes wrong.
Whilst a few top of the range cars now have the capacity to give you clear readouts regarding your electrical faults, most cars on the road carry no such information. Below, we have outlined some of the common basic warning signs that something is amiss with your car. Check for any indicators which may be signalling there is a problem, and what you can do about it.
What are some car electrical problem symptoms?
Symptoms of car electrical problems can include:
- 1. Dimming interior lights.
- 2. Not turning over or turning over slowly.
- 3. Power windows and seats slowing down.
- 4. Power windows, air conditioning or sound system failing.
- 5. A burning smell.
- 6. Warning lights on your dashboard.
Car Won’t Start
If your car won’t start, it could be a battery fault.
Noticing your car’s starter motor is turning over slower than normal is a red flag that your battery might be at fault. Another tell-tale sign can be that your interior lights are also dimming at the same time.
Your battery is the nerve centre of your car’s electrical system, so it makes sense to check it first.
A car battery should serve you well for five to seven years. Prior to that it is unlikely that your issues are caused by a faulty battery, but it may indicate that there is a poor connection between your battery and it’s terminals. Check, clean and tighten terminals to ensure maximum conductivity is occurring.
If you suspect that your battery may be the culprit, our auto mechanics can run a simple battery test to diagnose whether it’s time for a replacement.
Another possible cause when a car won’t start is the alternator.
The alternator has a role of providing power to operate the starter motor. Signs of malfunction can be similar to a battery failure, with symptoms such as dashboard and headlights dimming and electronic accessories like your power windows and seats, operating more slowly than normal.
One way you can ascertain where the problem lies is to borrow or use a spare battery and temporarily replace it with your own. Provided that you are sure the replacement battery is working optimally, if it too eventually loses charge then this points to the alternator as a likely cause.
Car Accessories Failure
If your car stereo won’t turn on, it could be a blown fuse.
When electrical car accessories such as power windows, air conditioning or sound systems fail, the issue may be caused by a blown fuse. Usually a blown fuse is a quick fix, remedied simply by replacing the burnt-out fuse. If the fuse repeatedly blows out within a short space of time, it may indicate that something more serious is happening.
Burning Smell From Car
An electrical short can cause your car to have a burning smell.
Melting or burning plastic around wires, connections and fuses will create a strong smell. If you experience any smell of electrical burning coming from your car, get it checked out by an auto electrician as soon as possible. If an electrical circuit or relay has blown out, it will require diagnostic testing to narrow down the particular circuitry which has been affected.
Car Warning Lights — What do dashboard lights mean?
The modern vehicle boasts an array of lights and indicators to assist you in understanding what is going on under your bonnet. If an alert is on, your car is trying to tell you that there is something that needs attention. Dashboard lights can include the Engine Light, Battery/Charging Light and the Bulb Warning Light.
Keep in mind that the names and symbols used by each manufacturer is not universal, so always check with your car manual if you need help identifying a certain alert.
Warning lights which may indicate a car electrical problem.
Check Engine Light
The “Check Engine Light” is the universal sign that there are issues with your engine. It could indicate problems with your:
- 1. Oxygen Sensor
- 2. Catalytic Converter
- 3. Mass Airflow Sensor
- 4. Spark Plugs or Wires
Battery or Charging Light
Issues such as the longevity of your battery, the alternator or alternator belt are likely culprits. This alert indicates that there is a fault with your vehicle’s charging system. The problem may simply be that your battery terminals are not making the proper connection and thus are not relaying full charge to your battery.
Bulb Warning Light
This alert is telling you that your vehicle has an exterior light malfunction. It may be remedied simply by changing the bulb. If the bulb continues to blow then the fault may be related to a more serious electrical problem and will need to be assessed by a professional auto electrician.
If you are having problems with your vehicle’s electrical system, don’t leave it to guess work. Have your mechanic or an experienced auto electrician take a look at it.