Electrical Diagnostics

Why you should have an Electrical System Analysis

A steady supply of current is crucial to operating the highly sophisticated electronics in today’s vehicles. Lack of current or fluctuations in the supply of current can:

  • cause the “Check Engine” light to come on
  • cause poor performance or stalling
  • result in malfunctions of the computers that operate your vehicle’s climate control, ride control, and ABS brakes.

Diagnosing the starting system requires several different tests. A “starter draw test” determines if the starter is drawing more amperage than is needed to turn over the engine. A “circuit test” determines if all the other components are working and the voltage is present when and where it is needed.

Your vehicle’s battery must maintain enough voltage to turn the starter and overcome the engine’s resistance. That’s where your vehicle’s charging system steps into place. The alternator, drive belt, and voltage regulator, that make up the charging system, work together to supply enough voltage to run your vehicle’s accessories and continuously recharge your battery to keep it from going dead.

A battery goes dead because of electrical drain caused by one of the following:

  • a short circuit
  • under charging due to a bad drive belt, alternator or voltage regulator
  • over-charging, which can cause serious and expensive damage to highly sensitive computer electronics.

You need the right equipment and an experienced technician to make an accurate diagnosis of your electrical system, without causing possible further damage to sensitive electronic components.

Before just replacing the battery, have a charging system test to be sure nothing else may have caused the battery to fail.

Let one of our ASE Certified technicians at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair perform this test for you today.

“Before just replacing the battery, have a charging system test to be sure nothing else may have caused the battery to fail.”

Did You Know About Battery:

Car batteries last longer in cold climates than in warm. Cold starts to put a greater demand on batteries, but heat is a big factor in car battery life. We can test your battery for how well it holds a charge and estimate how much life it has left. At Willoughby Hills Auto Repair in Willoughby Hills, we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call today and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road.

Willoughby Hills Auto Repair Tech Question On Your Battery

Willoughby Hills Auto Repair Tech Question:
I’m David in Willoughby Ohio. For the last year and a half, I’ve had some battery problems. I had trouble starting my car so I bought a new battery at a parts store in Willoughby OH. At first, everything was fine, then about six months later I had problems starting my car again, so I got a new battery. Again, everything was fine for another five or six months then I had trouble starting my car again. I went to get another battery and the parts guy said why do you need another battery, weren’t you in a few months ago? So he tested my battery and it was OK. Apparently, I’ve been replacing good batteries. What’s wrong with my car?

Willoughby Hills Auto Repair Answer:
Look, we can’t fault David for not knowing what’s wrong with his car – he just didn’t have enough important information. And frankly, neither do I.

Let’s talk about where our friend went wrong and what he could have done. First, he was right to suspect his battery. But if he had asked to have his car battery tested when he first went to the auto parts store, he would have found out that his battery was still good and would have known he needed to take his car into Willoughby Hills Auto Repair for further diagnosis.

There could be any number of reasons his car wouldn’t start. Unfortunately, he had a year and a half of unnecessary expense and inconvenience and still doesn’t know what’s wrong. When you find yourself in a situation like David, do yourself a favor and talk to a professional at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair in Willoughby Hills. Your caring service advisor can get you on the right track.


You’ve probably noticed a bunch of warning lights on your dash when you start your engine. They flash on to test the circuits and then go off if everything’s OK. One of the warning lights looks like a car battery. Its job is to tell you if your battery’s not charging properly.

You know that your battery stores electricity – enough to start your engine and get you moving. But that’s about it – you can only get a few miles in Willoughby Hills on battery power alone. You need an alternator to generate enough electricity to run your engine and power your electrical accessories like the stereo, power seats, heater fan, onboard computers, and so on. On top of that, the alternator needs to recharge your battery. So when your alternator isn’t working properly, there isn’t enough electricity for all of those things. When your alternator fails, you aren’t going very far.

So why would your alternator not work? Usually, they’ve simply worn out. Alternators are driven by your serpentine belt and spin 2 to 3 times faster than the engine – that’s a lot of work. The bearings wear out, as do the cooper wire coils and magnets that generate the electricity.

There’s no sense in hobbling along with an alternator that’s not working properly. It will fail at some point and leave you stranded. Get a bad alternator replaced as soon as you can. Your Willoughby Hills OH service technician at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair will install an alternator that meets your manufacturer’s specifications.

Some folks use a lot of additional electrical gizmos in the vehicle, like computers, DVD players, power inverters, and such, or may regularly tow a camp trailer that’s battery recharges as you drive. If that sounds like you, talk with your Willoughby Hills service advisor at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair about upgrading to a more heavy-duty alternator to meet your needs.

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