Electrical systems in standard automobiles are complex enough, especially when the battery or alternator seem to malfunction. Working with electrical systems inside of import cars may seem like learning a foreign language overnight. Here are several key tips that will lighten the load, let you know what to check for and when you should get professional assistance.
Checking and Testing Your Battery
The average battery is designed to last up to 5 years in typical climates. However, if you live in an area with extreme hot or cold temperatures, the battery life in your import car could actually be cut in half (2–3 years). In most cases, you can check to see if your battery needs a recharge by paying attention to its "eye." Several manufacturers of import car batteries—such as Delkor, Rocket and Yuasa—use eye color codes as battery life indicators. For example, a blue or green color in the eye of a Rocket or Atlas battery means that the battery charge is good. On the other hand, a clear, yellow or red light represents a low fluid level and the need to replace the battery. In addition to this basic visual test, you can also use a Digital Volt Ohm Meter to check the voltage levels of your battery
Key Points to Consider about Your Alternator
Alternators are not designed to produce electricity around the clock. Think about the level of demand your particular vehicle puts on the alternator. Consider the type of stereo or high powered aftermarket products you may have added to your vehicle to boost its appeal or overall performance. For instance, while your brake lights and ignition may only use 5-6 amps of power, a high blower or rear window defogger typically use 20-25 amps. Therefore, do not overlook or ignore any warning signals or indicating lights related to your alternator when they appear on your dashboard. There are specific tools available for certain models designed to isolate the alternator from your vehicle's wiring harness. This will allow you to see if your power is not circling properly due to a bad alternator or malfunctioning wire issue.
The electrical and mechanical systems within import cars are very delicate and complex. Before you hastily change the battery or replace a potentially dead alternator, have the entire electrical system checked first by a professional. The last thing that you want is to invest the time and money into replacing your electrical system when, in fact, the problem you are experiencing may have originated elsewhere within your vehicle.
As the son and grandson of mechanics, I spent much of my child hood under the hood of many cars. I have listened and learned about so many different problems and how to repair them effectively. I created this blog to cover as many car problems as possible without overwhelming readers. You will find tips for troubleshooting, advice for when to take it to a professional and suggestions for when to stop driving the car or truck immediately to prevent further and more costly damage. We hope that you find all of this information helpful and useful, allowing you to have a great running car.