Fareed's Auto Service Blog: Tips, Advice and More

Hello and welcome! My name is Fareed, and this blog is about car repair. I plan to write about smash repair, body work, painting and other aspects of the industry. I also hope to include a few posts that will help you assess whether or not something is wrong with your car. I have worked on my own car for years, and recently, I've been embraced as the neighbourhood mechanic -- all my friends come to me for help. I'm not a professional mechanic, but I feel confident sharing this info with you as I've been working on cars for years. I am happy you found my blog and hope that you enjoy reading!

Has Your Alternator Failed, Or Could It Be Something Else?


When a particular component on your car does not work as expected, you may automatically jump to conclusions and assume the component itself is faulty. Yet other potential culprits could be involved, and you may want to check those before spending your hard-earned cash on a more expensive replacement. Where should you focus your attention instead?

Protecting The Circuitry

The electrical circuitry fitted to your car is dense but generally broken down into high and low-voltage sections. Some of the major components (such as an alternator) rely on a lot of power to function correctly but will only require this power during very specific periods. Until then, the system will isolate those large components using some intricate switches known as relays.

How Relays Work

These relays are electromechanical and will be sent a signal whenever you turn a key or flick a switch to command a larger component. As long as the relay is in good condition and receiving the message, it will open and allow the electric current to flow within that circuit. The relevant boost will be sent to the larger component, which should spring into life.

Why Problems Develop

Occasionally, dirt may find its way into the relay and cover the contacts. When this happens, the relay will not recognise an incoming signal and fail to activate. Alternatively, it could become loose and may need to be tightened back into place.

Tell-Tale Signs

Remember, relays control most of the larger electrical components, and the signs of an issue will vary. For example, your headlights may fail to activate or may be very dim. This could be due to either a complete or a partial failure of the relay, allowing only a certain amount of energy to pass through.

Knock-On Damage

Unfortunately, a damaged relay could also allow too much energy to flow through to a component at the wrong time or over an extended period. Should this happen, that larger component could also fail or sustain some damage.

Carrying Out An Inspection

You can expect the relevant relay to assess its condition if you know where to look. If you find any signs of corrosion or damage, you need to replace the alternator. Sometimes, you may notice that the outer plastic casing is melted, indicating that the relay has overheated and failed.

What To Do Next

If you're unsure where to look or would rather not play around with anything involving electricity, turn to an auto electrics service instead.


13 June 2022