How to Keep Your Car’s Electrical System Healthy

Modern automobiles are extremely reliant on their electrical systems to function safely and efficiently. If you’re like most Orange residents and use your car or truck almost every day of your life, it’s critical that you keep your vehicle’s electrical system healthy. It’s advised that you have the entire electrical system checked by a trained technician at least once every two years in order to keep it in prime condition. Small issues may be acceptable for DIY fixes, but electrical system failure is a serious issue that you’ll need to address with a complete auto repair service such as Citywide Auto Care.

What Is An Electrical System?

The three most important components of an automobile’s electrical system are the battery, starter, and alternator. The battery provides the electric current used to operate the ignition, the fuel systems, and the power to the vehicle when the engine is not in operation. The starter is the component that operates the flywheel and turns the engine’s crankshaft; if the starter doesn’t work, the engine won’t work either. Lastly, the alternator charges the battery and helps it store energy for the future, as well as powers the electrical system while the engine is running.

Clean Your Battery

So, how can you take care of your electrical system at home? One of the best things you can do as a responsible car owner is to inspect and clean your battery and battery cables. Corrosion inevitably builds on the posts and cables of your battery, which can inhibit the flow of electricity. Once a month, open the hood of your vehicle and check the points of contact for corrosion. If there’s any present, you can clean it off with a mixture of baking soda and water, or use cleaning fluids that you can find at any automotive maintenance store. To safely clean the battery posts and cables, begin by detaching the battery cables from the posts. Then clean the posts and cable ends with your chosen fluids and a wire brush. Rinse the battery cables and posts with water after they’ve been thoroughly cleaned off. Once they’re completely dry, reconnect the battery cables starting with the positive side. Before reconnecting, and if you’re ever jumpstarting your car, be sure to turn off all electronics inside both vehicles, including lights, radios, and cell phone chargers. The electrical surge that occurs during a jump-start can damage these components if they are left on.

Inspect Drive Belts

While you’re checking the battery, inspect the engine’s drive belt as well. The vehicle’s drive belt connects various engine accessories, including the alternator, and ensures that they run at the same speed. If the drive belt shows signs of cracking, dryness, or surface glazing, you’ll want to have it replaced by an auto repair professional.

Replace Your Battery Regularly

Lastly, batteries will eventually need to be replaced no matter what you do. The average lifespan of an automobile’s battery is roughly four to five years, but factors like hot weather and heavy usage can shorten this. For example, constant start-and-stop driving drains the battery without giving the alternator a chance to recharge it, which contributes to a shortened life expectancy. Additionally, when starting your car, keep electrical components like the A/C and the stereo off. This will ease the initial load on your battery and starter. If, at any point, you smell burning plastic or notice leaking battery acid, have your vehicle towed to a complete auto repair service station immediately. These are signs that your battery is on the verge of failing completely, and trying to drive in this state will only make repairs more expensive.

If your vehicle is showing signs that it needs electrical system repairs such as dim headlights or difficulties starting, bring it to Citywide Auto Care. We’ve been the trusted provider of complete auto repair in Orange since 2002, with a staff of ASE-certified technicians who can diagnose and fix a wide range of automotive issues. When you make Citywide Auto Care your complete auto repair service provider, you’ll never have to worry about getting upsold on services you don’t need; instead, we treat every customer like family. Give us a call today at (714) 633-4211 and we can start scheduling an appointment at your earliest convenience.