09 Sep 2019
Winter is the season for rotating electric failure due to the low temperatures resulting in cooler air and damp conditions which cause overnight condensation.
This affects the car’s cranking system, making the starter motor work harder and creating a deeper drain on the battery. Increased use of lights, windscreen washer pumps and wipers, heated screens and heaters/blowers puts additional strain on the battery’s reserves, reducing the amount of excess power that is available. Additionally, the wet and salty road surfaces accelerate the corrosion of weak points in the charging system, for example where there are corroded, loose or broken connections.
The car’s electrical system is designed to deal with these demands. However, any weaknesses within the starting system such as a bad battery, bad electrical connections, or reduced alternator output will become very apparent in these conditions and cause starting/charging problems. Starters and alternators with weaknesses that survived the mild driving conditions of the summer months are often caught out and the demand on garages becomes intense.
Rotating parts are one of the most regularly misdiagnosed components with up to 25% of warranty returns not actually showing any faults when investigated. This problem can be attributed to the misreading of symptoms due to the time pressure garages are under. Consequently, garages and motor factors are dealing with many unnecessary returns.
Motor factors can help their garage customers towards diagnosis with some simple advice. All that is needed is a simple multi-meter and a little understanding to complete a simple diagnosis of the problems. Five minutes of proper diagnosis can prove conclusively where the problem lies, saving everyone time and money in the long run and keeping the end-customer happy.
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