Modern cars operate through electricity, so it’s not only about putting gas, then getting them moving. Electricity plays a huge role and not just the mechanical aspects. Anything can go wrong with your car’s electrical system ranging from a dead battery, blown fuses, to wiring problems. When left alone, any of these can lead to short circuits then into car damage in the form of electrical shock or worse, fire.
Short circuits happen when a path of low resistance not suitable for carrying electricity receives an electrical current of high volume. For a baseline, learn how circuits work. There are three major components: a voltage source or battery, wires or the path for the current to flow, and a load device to resist the flow of the current. Load device refers to anything that you want to power, such as an electric motor, light bulb, etc.
If you don’t have a load device or a proper one, there is nothing to offer resistance to the current’s flow, so the wires try to act as the load device, but they melt given their low resistance. Aside from wires chafing with one another, short circuits occur when a hot wire comes into contact with a conductive object when it’s not supposed to.
Know the Signs of Short Circuits in Cars
Save your car from further damage by learning about the signs of automotive short circuits. Take note of the following:
Your engine wouldn’t crack properly
When turning the key and attempting to start the car, you may hear clicking. This means there isn’t enough current flow in the system to start the engine. Oftentimes, this is caused by a bad or discharged battery. If you hear grinding noise instead, it may be due to a faulty starter or flywheel ring gear. A faulty electrical system, overall, becomes more common when your car is older and with high mileage.
Your headlights don’t work right
Pay attention to your car’s headlights and brake lights as they are one of the most crucial parts, keeping you safe on the road. Your car’s lightings are malfunctioning once they are dimming. This indicates low system voltage or charging malfunctions which may be due to loose wires, faulty alternator belt, or dying battery. Take a look at your check engine, the malfunction indicator lamp; if it lights, then something is indeed wrong. See to it that you keep a voltmeter handy too so you can diagnose any corrosion of electrical systems.
You’re having issues with your battery
Most often, batteries last for about five years, so when you think you’re having battery issues, don’t replace them right away. The problem may lie in the other electrical parts of your car. Your battery cables may have been corroded or not fitted properly. Get your car checked when it still wouldn’t start after adjusting those.
Your car’s fuse box keeps blowing
Even without a reason, your vehicle’s fuse may blow, but when they keep on blowing out, your electrical system may be in deeper trouble. A car’s fuse box is designed to prevent short circuits and overvoltage, but when they overheat and melt, they may disrupt electricity flow. Get your fuse diagnosed and repaired to protect your car’s electrical system.
You start smelling something burning
Once you experience any of the issues above and smell something that burns, stop driving your vehicle immediately. The smell may be of burning rubber, oil, or plastic: signs your vehicle is about to be burned if forced farther. No one wants to put their car parts together or do fire and flood restorations on their own, so act quickly. Get your car towed to an automotive electrical repair immediately.
Simple Ways to Fix Faulty Electrical System
You never know when a short circuit may happen, so it pays that you have the tools and knowledge in case you’ll need a repair. If you’re into saving from your automotive maintenance expenses, the tools you’ll need handy are soldering iron, fuse socket connector kit, lineman’s pliers, wire crimper, short circuit detector, utility knife, and latest shop manual for the year that has the model of your truck.
For the materials, you will need flux, butt connectors, electrical tape, solder, and electrical moisture sealant. There are simple yet detailed procedures on how to fix your vehicle’s electrical system. DIY repair may not work for you, so when you aren’t comfortable about handling car parts, seek professional help.
Your vehicle can only work at its best when properly maintained. Make sure that yours has a schedule for maintenance check and repair if needed, and not just brought to automotive shops when huge problems arise.