What Will a Mechanic Do During Electrical System Servicing?
If that sounds like a lot to check up on, it is. During an electrical system service appointment, your mechanic will take a look at the key parts of your car’s electrical system, including the alternator, drive belt, voltage regulator, starter, ignition switch, neutral safety switch, and battery cables and terminals. These are the most important parts of the electrical system to keep an eye on.
Test the Battery
Testing your car’s battery to see how well it’s able to hold a charge is easy enough for a mechanic. It’s also good to take a look at the cables and terminals that transfer power away from the battery to other parts of your car. If those cables or terminals are worn, dirty, or corroded, it can impact both your battery’s ability to charge and the ability to transfer that power to where it needs to go.
Check the Starter, Ignition Switch, and Neutral Safety Switch
The neutral safety switch prevents an automatic transmission from starting when not in Park or Neutral. If your car were to start while in gear, it would lurch forward. This poses a safety hazard, especially if done on accident without realizing you’re in gear and therefore unprepared for the lurch forward. Your starter and ignition switch are responsible for starting your car’s engine. If any of these are failing, you may not be able to start your car or you may be able to start it inconsistently.
Inspect the Alternator
Your car’s alternator lasts a long time but is also key to keeping your battery charged. If you’ve ever been told to drive your car for a while after jumping your battery, it’s because your alternator charges your battery while the engine is running. If the alternator is failing, your car battery will not be charged adequately and you may experience frequent dead batteries, even with a newer battery.
Ensure the Drive Belt is Not Over-Worn
Your drive belt, also sometimes called the serpentine belt, is essential to keep your car running. Every car has one or two drive belts that are connected to key mechanical components, including the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and A/C compressor. That means if the drive belt wears out, all of those components will fail to work. Each drive belt will last a good amount of time, typically about 40,000-70,000 miles. However, replacing your drive belt before it fails will save a lot of grief and expensive car repairs. Checking your owner’s manual will give you the most accurate information on maintenance and replacement intervals for your car’s drive belt, as well as other required or recommended regular maintenance.