When you are driving, you might have to deal with many problems such as flat tires, out of gas, or some components of your vehicle break down. Another thing, also, is the one you and nobody does not want to have is your car loses electrical power while driving. And it is an extremely big problem; you might be trapped on the street.
When you are in this situation, first you will hear from the radio, the sound is turned off, and you no longer can hear it. You may try to switch on the radio, but it does not work. Then the light begins to dim and get dimming more eventually. And the voltage gauge displays in orange, being lower over the time. This means you should drive home immediately as this problem need time to solve.
Find out the root of the problem, which component is the cause
To deal with the situation, you need to figure out from where the problem comes. By doing this, you can reduce the time have to spend for the repairing and replacing task. Because of the car is the combination of many parts. It makes the fact it really wastes time to detect the problem if you do not know which place to focus on.
Usually, the car loses electricity while you are driving come with the breakdown of the battery, the alternator, or some other electricity problems. You should concentrate on the battery as well as the alternator since they are the main reason for this problem. Those are the things you had better carefully check before moving to other parts.
The battery primary function is to supply the current to the motor and the engine. So the car can be started, the car’s engine need a high amount of voltage to switch on. Also, the battery provides the electricity for the components run by electricity. This only happens when the demand is higher than the producing electricity of the alternator.
The alternator, generally, is a generator to provide current for electricity system in the car only when the engine running. It as well takes the responsibility to charge the battery and keep it not run out. Those make the battery and alternator are the potential problems for your car losing electricity.
Other electricity problems such as the wire system is disconnected at somewhere, or the twist is loosened that can make this appear. You should not ignore any potential problem as it might be the cause. But make sure you examine the battery and alternator before you roll on.
Apply yourself a voltmeter
To find where the problem comes from, you will absolutely need a voltmeter to check the current in the car. You will need it to check through the electric system of the car and many other situations. Do not think you waste your money on the voltage; you truly need it to do this task.
However, that not mean you need to pay much for a voltmeter. You should seek for a good price which is below twenty bucks is okay. Don’t think too much about the expensive one, the voltage with the moderate price is enough for a task like this.
If you do not own one, you can ask and see whether someone lends you theirs. Both voltmeter and multimeter are good in this situation, take any one you can lend. A multimeter is used to measure voltage, current, and resistance. That make the multimeter more convenient as it has more feature. Meanwhile, you just need to measure the voltage in this situation. To save money, and in the case you think you do not need other function in the future, you do not need to invest in the multimeter.
Check your battery whether it in good condition
No matter how you want to check the alternator, you still need to check the battery first. The reason for that involves in the working principle of the alternator. For that generator of the car, it needs the current form the battery to start the car; then you can check the alternator.
You should wear on the protecting gloves to protect your hand. And, remember to turn off the ignition as you will not want to have a mess. Besides, turn off the car, the engine must be off for sure when you are working with the battery.
Now, take out the battery terminals cover, clean it for the better electric contact. The dirt and dust build up on the terminal can prevent the current come to the starter, engine, and other components. You should clean out all the dust on the terminal surface with an old toothbrush. If the terminal is rust, the sandpaper might become really helpful.
Then you connect your voltmeter to the battery, you should be careful connect them properly. The positive lead needs to be connected to the positive of the terminal, the same for the negative one. You should know that the positive lead is commonly red.
Checking the voltmeter is what you need to do next, the reading of the voltage should be in the range from 12.4 to 12.7. It is not a matter for you to care if it above that limits, anyway, the current is enough to start the alternator is good.
Nevertheless, if the battery reads are under that number, you should charge it. The charge indicator on the display to tell you the battery is full is the ideal device for you. But that is alright when you do not own the equipment like that. After connecting the cable to the terminal, you should wait for half an hour before discharging it.
Having charged already does not mean your battery is ready now, you had better check it again with the voltmeter. Repeat the steps are cited above and see whether the reading is better now. If not, you might get into the problem with the charge indicator or your battery is broken. You should change it for the better performance of your car.
Some notice when replacing the battery
You should know that not all the battery is not the same, and you need to find the correct one. The appropriate one will make your work smoothly, and you do not have to take another trip to find a different one.
It is a deal to find the one look exact like the old one in your car. Unless you can do it, you should check for a different type of same dimension and electrical capacity. You can look that information on the internet or ask the mechanic to give you advice.
The battery is various in type, size, and capacity to supply electricity. It is pointless for you to buy a one can not match on your car. Even you can take advice from people; you should at least try to measure the size of the battery. Because the expert sometimes makes the mistakes, so just do it as it good for you.
You can also spray the lithium on the terminals; this will prevent the corrosion on the surface. Prevent the corresion at the same time; you better the delivery capacity of the electric system of the car. As a result, it will enhance the performance of the whole car. By applying the grease you ensure that you will not have the problem with that area for few years to come.
Test the alternator
When you find out the that, the battery of your car is not the thing you should concern. You should move to the alternator to check whether it work. It is the electricity provider for your car, so if it not works, your car will lose the electricity for sure.
The alternator only works when the engine is working, and the wheels are rotating. To check for the alternator is broken or not, you should start the vehicle first. Then you can speed up till the car engine reach to 2,000 rpm. Base on the theory, this will make the alternator draw power on the battery.
You then need to hold it there and test the battery for another time. Do not turn off the engine; you still need it runs to figure out if your alternator is the source of this problem. The voltage in the battery should fluctuate around 14; that means your alternator is still good.
In the case your car is attached a volt gauge, you can read the alternator current as it is displayed. You still need to run the car engine to make the alternator spinning and produce the current. See if the voltage is higher than it was. Nothing change, you will need a new alternator to install.
Furthermore, you should also turn on the lights, radio, heater and other electricity-consuming components and see if those still work. If they are not, the alternator exacts the problem of your car electricity losing. And you should replace it.
You might still, not sure if your alternator is broken down or not. You can bring it to the store and have them to check it for you. For the high competition, many ones are willing to provide for the customer with free testing. You should uninstall it and bring to the store. But before do that, check to ensure that the store you head to do it for free.
And other electrical problems
Not only the alternator or battery can cause your car lose its electricity, but other problems like the corrosion on the twist might also make low current. This can easily be fixed but hard to detect, try to use the voltmeter to figure out and fix it.
Rarely happens, but the wire system might be stretched then it is disconnected. This makes your car lose the electricity too. Check out the wires to see if those happen; you will need new electric tires, and the problem is solved.
However, if those things can not get rid of your problem, you should get your car checked by the mechanic. The problem might become too complicated for you to do it yourself. The expert has more experience so no doubt that they can do it better. Anyway, you have tried your best to do it.