How To Spot Electrical Faults In Your Vehicle

Fiat 500 Abarth

TGR Staff - 06/06/2024

Modern cars are full of electrical components. When these components fail, they can cause issues with your vehicle. Spotting the signs of electrical faults early can help you to get these issues fixed before they cause other issues. Below are a few signs that your vehicle may be experiencing electrical problems. 

Don’t overlook battery problems

Your car’s battery powers your entire vehicle. It’s the most important electrical component in your vehicle. Car batteries typically last three to four years. Starting issues are a clear sign that your battery is failing - if you have to turn the ignition a few times to get your car to start or you regularly have to jump-start your vehicle, the battery could be on its way out. The battery warning light will also come on if your battery is failing. It’s worth noting that the faulty alternator can also trigger the battery light and cause starting problems. 

Check Your Headlights:

Do your headlights keep dimming or flickering? This could be a sign of a failing battery or alternator. Wiring and fuse issues can also cause headlights to dim or flicker. Of course, it may not always be this serious and could just mean that your headlight bulbs are failing. Whatever the cause may be, it’s worth investigating with the help of a mechanic. 

Radio Or Windows Losing Power:

If your radio keeps turning off or the electric button for your windows stops working, this could also be due to an electrical fault. It could be an early sign that your battery is failing or it could be a sign of a blown fuse. The same goes for other electrical functions in your car such as your air con or cigarette lighter charger. 

Invest In Your Own Diagnostic Tools:

Some electrical faults can be hard to pinpoint. Car repair technicians typically use diagnostic tools such as OBD scanners to help locate faults. You can buy these online to diagnose electrical vehicle faults from home. If you have some electrical knowledge, some of these faults may be possible to repair yourself, however generally speaking you should avoid tampering with your vehicle’s electronics.

Make Use Of Digital Wiring Diagrams:

Car repair technicians also typically use automotive wiring diagrams to help locate electrical faults in a vehicle. There is software on the market that you can download that has digital wiring diagrams for a huge variety of vehicles. These diagrams can help you to locate exactly where a specific component is within your vehicle. It’s worth noting that some user manuals will contain digital wiring diagrams that could prevent you from having to download software. 

Never Ignore Burning Smells:

Burning smells in a car are never a good sign. They can have many sources, but one of the more common is faulty electrical parts. If you smell burning in your car, you should pull over immediately and turn off the engine. Calling an engineer is often the safest solution, as you don’t want an electrical fire to break out while you’re taking your vehicle to a garage.