Looking After Your Car’s Electrical Systems

If you’re driving any kind of modern car, then the chances are that it’ll be well stocked with electrical systems. The lights, the ECU, the battery: they all rely on circuitry, and they all require care and attention if they’re going to perform at their best and avoid problems.

Modern Car Electrical Systems

car electrical systems
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The Drive Belt

You might argue that the drive belt isn’t an electrical component – but it’s responsible, among other things, for keeping the battery charged and the other accessories in your car operational. To ensure the best possible operation, you’ll want to check it regularly for cracks and dryness, as well as tension. A cracked belt will be prone to tearing and breaking, so it should be replaced as a matter of urgency. If you don’t replace it, then you risk further problems.

Check the Battery

Your car’s battery will last for around four years – but this figure will decline if the battery is allowed to fully discharge regularly. That means that cars which sit on the drive, and which are only taken on short trips, are more prone to failure.

If we’re talking about a classic car or a car that’s rarely driven because the owner is working from home, then you might consider charging it yourself from a wall outlet – this is a great solution if you have a garden in which to charge it.
Once your battery dies, you’ll need to get a replacement. Shop for something high-quality – the installation can be performed by a competent professional.

Window and Door Locks

Your car’s central locking system can deteriorate, causing the whole system to fail. Since it can be expensive to replace the whole system, it’s worth considering whether other factors might be behind a fault. Look for blown fuses, or the battery in your key fob having died. The solenoid magnet inside the lock might also have failed. So, be methodical, work through the possibilities, and go with the most probable.

Cleaning Electrical Contacts

Many of the electrical circuits in your car will be completed only when points come into contact with one another. For example, any rotating element might come with contacts that will be read by the computer to determine the rate of spin. If some of the contacts have built up a resistance, then mic measurements might occur, which can have implications for your performance. Typically, you’ll see an intermittent loss of power.

Cleaning electrical contacts is best done using a specialised electrical contact cleaner or with a more general oil-based cleaner. Don’t just use water: it’s liable to cause rusting issues, which will make conductivity problems worse.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.