Does your vehicle have a short? Vehicles today have complex electrical systems, which power or monitor everything from the lights to the engine function to the wheel-speed sensor. If you suspect that you have an electrical short in your car, it can cause major issues. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of an electrical short in your vehicle and get it repaired as soon as possible.
Read on for top tips for finding an electrical short in your car.
Why are electrical shorts so bad?
In a vehicle, a short draws electrical power, even if the engine is not running. Therefore, if all electrical loads are not turned off when the vehicle is turned off, excessive energy could be drawn from the battery. This might damage the battery and prevent the vehicle from restarting, leaving you stuck until you can tow your car for repairs.
Symptoms of electrical shorts in vehicles
Here’s how to tell if you have an electrical short:
- Engine won’t start: Your engine requires electric power to start. The battery works with the spark plug to ignite the fuel in the engine. If your engine won’t start, there could be an electrical short somewhere in the engine, spark plug or battery.
- Problems with lights: Issues with your lights is a sure sign that something electrical is malfunctioning. Headlights, taillights and interior lights may go out intermittently or permanently (at least until you repair the system).
- Blown fuses: Blown fuses are another symptom of electrical shorts. You can examine the fuses one by one to make sure they haven’t blown out.
- Battery problems: Most car batteries last about five years. If you’re not due to replace your battery yet and the problem doesn’t seem to stem from corrosion, you may have an electrical short.
- Burning plastic smell: Finally, if you smell burning plastic coming from the vehicle, this could be a sign of an electrical short.
How to test for an electrical short
To test for evidence of a short, try an inductive amperage meter. Using this tool while the vehicle is off, you can observe if current is leaving the battery. Naturally, when the vehicle is off, there shouldn’t be anything drawing current from the battery.
In the picture below, the clamp of the meter is opened and closed around one of the cables leading to the battery. The display shows 1.09 amperes (amps), which is the amount of current leaving the battery. Over a period of time, 1.09 amps would draw the battery down to a no-start condition. Alternatively, it could draw the battery down to a low enough level that overworks the battery and shortens its life.
Replacement batteries and testers
If you’ve found an electrical short in your car, be sure to take it in for repairs as soon as possible. Then stop by Texford Battery Co to replace your car battery, invest in a tester or get an inductive amperage meter. Our staff will be glad to help you find the right batteries and accessories for your needs. Call today to get started.
Categorised in: Battery Service
This post was written by Writer