Hello, my name is Roy. For many years, I drove a 1976 Ford estate car around Sydney. The car had belonged to my grandpa. It was passed down to me when I had just passed my driving test at the age of 18. That was in 1986 and the car was already in a pretty bad condition then. Fast forward to 2006 and I was now aged 38 and still driving the same car around. Sometimes the car wouldn't start, white smoke came out of the exhaust and the gearbox made a terrible sound. I did my best to patch it up, but eventually, I had to scrap the car and buy a new one. I decided to start a blog to encourage others to service their cars.
You may have been noticing something rather strange about your car when driving to work over the past few days. You think it's something electrical, but you can't put your finger on it. Now, you're not able to start it at all, which is especially frustrating as you're on your way to an important meeting. What should you look for to try to put your finger on the problem?
What Could Be Wrong?
A car's electrical system is basically made up of three key components. They all have to work together, in order to provide the right amount of power to get your engine running. It's likely that one of these three is faulty, so where should you start?
Battery to Start
The battery, on average, is the component that fails most frequently. It's the easiest to replace and also the cheapest. While a battery should last you for a good number of years, it is a very basic product in and of itself. It cannot store any power for a long period of time and relies on the alternator to keep it "topped up." If you've had to have your car jump started in the fairly recent past, it could be nearing the end of its life. If you find that you can get the engine running now after connecting jumper cables, but the car won't start again after it stalls, the battery needs to be replaced. This shows that it's not able to hold any charge at all once it's been disconnected from the alternator. For more information, contact a car battery service.
If you notice a faint burning smell when trying to start the car, or a low, rumbling sound, this could be an indication that the alternator is at fault. Once again, try jumpstarting the car with a friendly neighbour, and if the engine dies immediately after you've pulled the jumper cables off, it shows you that the alternator has given up the ghost. Sometimes, you can tell that the alternator is on its way out by the way that your headlights grow brighter and then fade away, when you accelerate.
Working with the Starter
If you notice a distinct, clicking sound when you turn over the key, this is a clear sign that the starter is faulty. No amount of "jumpstarting" will get the vehicle to fire up, in this case. It is possible, however, that the starter motor is just jammed. To try to free it quickly, put the car into second gear (assuming a manual, of course) and then rock the vehicle back and forth.
Bringing in the Experts
If you're still not sure, or can't get anything to work, then you will of course need a professional mechanic to help diagnose the issue and get you on your way.Share
4 May 2017