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Reasons to Have Your Vehicle's Electrical System Checked

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Reasons to Have Your Vehicle's Electrical System Checked

 

The battery, alternator, and starter are the three basic elements of your
car's electrical system, but there are many other moving parts – from
sound systems, to computers, to brakes, to heated seats, to windows and
locks – that rely on regular electrical system maintenance to ensure that
everything runs smoothly. A flashing light on your car's dashboard might
not be the first warning that your vehicle is in need of a checkup. Problems
with your electrical system might show up in many different ways. 

Battery Problems

Despite all of the electrical components that may exist in any particular
vehicle, the battery is most often the source of electrical issues. A leaking
battery is a sure sign of a problem, but you should also keep an eye on your
battery fluid level to make sure it hasn't fallen below the energy conducting
lead plates. 

If your engine takes longer than usual to start, your car battery may be
reaching the end of its life expectancy. A decent battery should last three to
five years in regular climates, but there are a number of factors that can
affect your battery's lifespan. A short drive to work might be a time-saving
convenience, but trips of less than 20 minutes don't give your battery enough
time to fully recharge. Extreme temperatures can also affect the life of your
battery, particularly in those hot summer months. 

If your car is showing symptoms of battery problems, it could be time to
have your battery and charging system tested, or to have your battery replaced
entirely. 

Strange Sounds or
Smells

If your car makes a "whirring" sound and is sluggish when you try
to start it, your alternator could be the problem. Does your car smell
like rotten eggs? An unusual sulfur odor around your battery could be caused by
a leak. Battery leaks can cause corrosion and buildup in the cable connections.
This buildup must be removed to make sure that your car can start.

Dim Lights

If the internal and external lights on your vehicle don't seem to be as
bright as they used to be, this could be a sign that your alternator is not
generating enough current and voltage.

General Wear and
Tear

The more you use your vehicle, the more your electrical system will be
affected by the regular wear and tear of driving. Constant heating and cooling,
vibration, and moisture are all part of the usual operation of a car, and they
all take their toll on your vehicle's various parts, including the electrical
system.

Intermittent
Electrical Problems

Problems that appear once in a while should not be ignored. They could be a
sign of low voltage caused by loose or corroded connections to your car's
battery. 

Any one of these signs could be pointing to problems with your car's
electrical system. Having your system regularly checked can catch problems
before they get out of hand. This will extend the life of your vehicle and
bring you peace of mind every time you turn the key in the ignition. 

"Tape-Check-Engine" by mandiees, used under CC BY

Categories: Service