Electrical problems with a car often create seemingly random and unpredictable problems, which is far more annoying and stressful than a traceable issue with an obvious fix. Keeping a written log of the symptoms you encounter is often the only way to pinpoint the short or errant spark. Jot down any occurrences of these five signs to figure out if you're struggling with an electrical problem or something else.
Rainy Day Problems
The distributor is responsible for sending electricity throughout the engine where it's needed. This part is very sensitive to moisture, but usually it's protected by the distributor cap. If the cap is replaced with the wrong model or ends up loose due to the vibrations of driving, a rainy day can leave your engine resisting your efforts to turn it over.
Is your radio getting quieter and quieter as your drive goes on? Interruptions in the usual functioning of your car accessories indicate fuse and wiring defects. You may notice all your interior accessory functions, including fans and wiper blades, going dead at once or only a single system acting up at a time.
Keep an eye on the road to see how your little circle of light is doing as you travel. Sudden dimming, flashing, or loss of light is one of the most common signs of electrical trouble with your car. This symptom could be linked to problems with your:
- Battery, especially if it's leaking or old.
- Battery post cables.
- Alternator and voltage regulator, even if they're new.
- Lamp bulbs.
Unlike the other symptoms listed here, this one requires you to open up the hood and check the engine out. Give a glance over to all the various wires and cables connecting power around the car. Be on the lookout for cracks in the insulation around these wires, which lets the electrical arc and escape when the exposed metal touches other conductive surfaces in the engine.
Finally, don't panic if your car suddenly dies when you're waiting at a light or rolling up to a stop sign. This seems serious but is all too often linked to a simple loose connector or aging alternator. A quick check with a voltmeter can determine the location of the voltage leak to restore the reliability of your car.
Even though electrical problems are often intermittent, they still need immediate attention or could leave you stranded on the side of the road. Stop by an auto repair garage, like Soundside Automotive, as soon as you notice any of these signs for a fast fix.