(503) 656-6825

Electrical System Repair

Electrical System Repair

Understand the complicated wiring system that starts today's automobiles.

There are dozens of electrical circuits under the hood that power lights, electric motors, sensors and gauges. The number and types of electrical circuits controlled by the electrical system varies greatly by year, make, and model of vehicle. The Electrical System is composed of the starter and alternator, all powered by the battery. The alternator give the battery energy and the battery powers the starter. Especially in newer vehicles, all of these electrical components can affect the steering, brakes, and other key vehicles functions.

Most Electrical System issues start and end with the Car Battery. A weak or dead battery will prevent a car from turning over and starting. When a battery isn't working properly, instead of engaging the starter and turning the engine on, turning the key will result in a clicking or grinding noise, or nothing will happen at all. Sometimes even the dashboard lights won't turn on in cases where batteries have no charge left.

Faulty electrical components and wiring can drain a car battery overnight. Taking several short trips in a short period of time can deplete the battery without giving the alternator enough time to recharge the power. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, have very bad affects on battery life. It may be time to examine your battery for power output if you notice that your headlights dim while travelling at lowe speeds or when idling at a complete stop. This is a strong sign that your car battery isn't producing the amount of power that your vehicle needs to operate all of the electrical systems.

Batteries are consumable products, they are not built to last forever.

Starters sometimes fail due to either high or low current draws in the system. A high draw means the starter has become worn, while a low current indicates corrorded cables or bad connections. The Alternator keeps the battery charged and the electrical system operational while the car is on. While a car can start with a bad alternator, it will not be able to run for long before the battery will discharge and the engine will lose power. A failing alternator cannot produce the current and voltage necessary to safely operate all of the vehicle's electrics and should be replated right away.

Another common source of electrical failure is in the Electrical Fuses and Fuse box. Usually, this is nothing more than a minor electrical problem like a backup light or interior light not working, or a turn signal might not light up. Simply replacing the fuse that was blown in the circuit usually fixes these small issues. In very extreme cases, blowing a fuse while driving can kill engine power, and even prevent a car from starting up or running.

Electrical System Check - We visually inspect the battery case and battery before testing the battery to see the power output. If the output is too low, the battery must be recharged, and most likely replaced. All of the electrical cable connections are checked and reseated if necessary.


There are a couple signs that a battery may be underperforming or dying. First, when you start the vehicle up, there's a slow crank or it takes longer than normal to start. The Check Engine Light sometimes comes on with a code indicating that the battery power is weak or low. Visually inspect your car battery to see if there is any swelling or bloating in the battery case, as excessive heat could have damaged the life of your battery. Battery leaks cause corrosion - meaning the battery and battery case may need to be cleaned or replaced after a leak is found.

Old age is the most common indicator that a battery needs to be replaced. Batteries are consumable products, they are not built to last forever. The average car battery lasts 4-6 years without issue and the best rule of thumb is to have it inspected annually after three years to ensure it's performing as expected.