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What are the parts of my vehicle’s electrical system?

BMW Electrical System in Scottsdale

The electrical system of any European-made vehicle or Import is complex. It relies on a system of connected parts to create a larger circuit which means that damages to the electrical system can happen in a range of places. Wires, connection ports, circuits and individual parts may all be at fault. If you encounter electrical system problems you want an accurate diagnosis and prompt repairs made to your vehicle. At Tech Plus Automotive in Scottsdale your vehicle is handled with great care by Scottsdale’s number one independent alternative to the dealerships. We have the right equipment and our ASE-certified technicians are trained to diagnose and repair these problems in no time. Drivers throughout the area trust our mechanics with the maintenance requirements of popular manufacturers including; Acura, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche and Volvo.

An average vehicle electrical system is made up of 5 primary parts.

  1. Battery – Your battery supplies power when you start your car. It can also deliver power to certain components without a full engine start. This includes the clock, radio, and car alarm. Batteries typically last around 4 years. If you are having trouble starting your vehicle, start by having your battery tested.
  2. Alternator – Your alternator produces electricity. This powers components like the engine controls and ignition. It also recharges your battery after you start the engine. A belt provides power to the alternator. When an alternator fails it can keep your car from starting because the battery will fail to charge during daily use.
  3. Starter – Your starter is critical. If your engine refuses to turn over but the battery and alternator still work, you may have a bad starter. That’s because the starter starts your engine. It’s the beginning of the combustion process that powers your car. When it doesn’t work your engine won’t turn over.
  4. Solenoid/Relay – Your relay supplies voltage to the starter from your battery. The starter motor is activated by the solenoid. That means a bad solenoid or relay can keep power from getting to the starter motor. Symptoms may mirror those of a bad battery.
  5. Fuse Box – Fuses protect your vehicle from overloads and short circuits. Fuses are actually made to be broken. If they become overloaded they burn out and break an electrical connection before it can cause more damage or start a fire. Your fuse box is found inside of your vehicle, typically under and to the left of the steering wheel. Checking fuses is always a good starting point. A blown fuse will be blackened and burnt away at the middle connection point.

Common Electrical Problems

  • Dead battery
  • Battery will not hold charge
  • Alternator has damage
  • Solenoid or starter is bad
  • Loose battery cables
  • Damaged fuse or loose wiring
  • Damaged alternator belt
  • Ignition system damage
  • Unseated spark plugs

Let us know if you have any issues with your vehicle’s electrical system. We will diagnose it and get you back on the road. Just call or contact us today.