Electrical issues can be more challenging to diagnose than other car problems. This is because there is simply such a wide variety of things that can go wrong. Therefore, it is always wise to go to a qualified auto electrician to check your car if you think you have an electrical issue. 

At The Service Centre, we can repair all advanced electronic management systems fitted in modern-day cars. In addition, our auto electricians in Maitland and Thornton use a car diagnostic scanner to diagnose and address error codes on your vehicle, whatever they may be.

In this article, we go through some of the frequently seen electrical problems car owners may experience and how to prevent them.

8 electrical problems you might have in your car

Dead battery

One of the most common electrical problems in cars is a dead battery. Without a functioning battery, your car won’t start. In most cases, if you turn the ignition key and your vehicle doesn’t start, the culprit is most likely a dead battery. Generally, the lifespan of a car battery is between 4-6 years. However, you can usually stop this problem from happening through regular driving. The alternator charges your car battery as the car moves, and so leaving your whip parked in the driveway for extended periods can lead your battery to lose its charge. Other signs that a battery may be running low include dimmer lights than usual, both inside and out.

Failed engine starter

A failed engine starter is also a common electrical problem in cars. The starter is a small motor powered by the car’s battery, and it does what it says on the tin – start the car. Several symptoms point toward a failed engine starter:

  1. If there’s a clicking noise when turning the key or pushing the start button, but the engine won’t start
  2. If the lights turn on, but the engine won’t start
  3. If there’s smoke coming from the front of the car

If your car won’t start and you notice any of these issues, you may have a failed engine starter. 

Broken alternator

The alternator is commonly known as the heart of the electrical system in a car. The alternator is responsible for sending power to the electrical parts of your vehicle, such as the windows and headlights. Here are a few signs that you might have an issue with your alternator: 

  • Radio issues
  • Loss of speed in the car
  • Flickering headlights
  • Power windows not working 

If you start noticing these signs, it is essential to take your car to professionals such as The Service Centre for maintenance and repairs to prevent further issues.

Blown fuse

Experiencing a blown fuse in your car is a common issue. Fuses protect a car’s wiring and other electrical components by interrupting the circuit if there is an issue. A blown fuse is usually caused by a circuit overload, which can melt the ribbon, thus stopping power at the fuse point. Unfortunately, a fuse cannot be repaired; it must be replaced. However, it is usually an inexpensive and easy task to perform. 

Spark plug issues

Spark plugs provide the spark that ignites the solution of petrol and air in your car’s combustion chamber. Like any other car part, there are times that a spark plug will break and stop working. To identify a spark plug issue, look for: 

  • A reduction in gas mileage
  • Hard starts (at the worst times)
  • Engine misfires
  • Bumpy idling
  • Diminished acceleration

When you start experiencing these issues, you need to see a mechanic like the professionals from The Service Centre.

Burnt out globes

Burnt out globes are another common problem. Car bulbs have a finite lifespan which diminishes as you use them. Most commonly, the low beam headlights, position lights, and high beam headlights burn out first – unsurprisingly, as they are the most frequently used lights.

Other factors can lead to a burnt-out globe, including:

  • Vibrations 
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Water leaking into the housing

In almost all cars, replacing the bulb is quick and straightforward, but it’s an important thing to go for a light bulb replacement at The Service Centre. 

Problems with one of the car’s sensors

Cars nowadays are filled with more sensors than you can shake a stick at, so unsurprisingly, more sensors can fail! Here’s a list of a few of the sensors that can break down:

  • The knock sensor
  • Oxygen sensor
  • Coolant sensor
  • MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor
  • MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor
  • Engine oil level sensor
  • Crankshaft/camshaft position sensors
  • Many others

The symptoms for these can be diverse, so if you suspect that one of your sensors might have packed it in, be sure to take it to a qualified auto electrician

Do You Have Car Electrical Problems? Contact us at The Service Centre

Our leading mechanics provide expert car service and repairs to Maitland & Thornton and its surrounds. The Service Centre’s are a group of mechanical workshops focusing on providing quality car servicing & maintenance to the people of Newcastle & the Hunter Valley areas.

With over 50+ years of experience in the car servicing space and a team of expert car mechanics, you can expect unparalleled quality and peace of mind when dealing with either of The Service Centres.

With a desire to constantly improve and experience from workshops of all sizes, we have built a system to maintain your car to the manufacturer’s specifications while still providing the customer service of a small family business.

If you have any kind of electrical issue with your car, be sure to get it serviced by a team of professional auto electricians, like those at The Service Centre. 

A car’s alternator is one of the most important parts of the vehicle. While your battery is what starts your car, the alternator is used to recharge and keep the battery running. The alternator also powers the rest of your electrical systems, such as lighting or air conditioning, while your engine is running. The alternator transforms mechanical energy generated by the engine into electrical energy used to power those electrical components of your car as you drive.

So we’ve briefly looked at what the alternator does, how it does it, and why it’s essential to the proper functioning of your car. Now let’s take a closer look at how it works in more detail.

HOW A CAR ALTERNATOR WORKS

The parts that make up an alternator and what they do are:

The serpentine belt

receives the mechanical force from the engine.

The voltage regulator

ensures the correct voltage output of the alternator and is what provides power to the rest of the vehicle.

The diode rectifier

transforms the AC current produced by the alternator into DC that the car can actually use. 

The stator

is a fixed ring in the alternator lined with copper wire. This part provides the electromagnetic energy that makes the rotor spin.

The rotor,

also known as a rotating magnetic core or flywheel, is the moving part of the alternator, consisting of an electromagnet that spins at high speed around the stator due to the stator’s magnetic field. The combination of these two parts generates the electrical current used in your car.

The cooling fan

does exactly what you’d imagine – alternators get hot, and the cooling fan helps them cool down.

Knowing each of your alternator’s components makes it easier to understand how it works. Simply put, the alternator exploits the engine’s rotation and its connection through a belt to transform said rotation (mechanical energy) into electrical energy used by the battery to power the various electronic systems.

HOW TO TEST YOUR ALTERNATOR

As a general rule, turning the key in your car’s ignition should cause the process described above to take place. The dashboard lights should turn on, letting you know that everything is in working condition and that the current generated by the alternator is reaching your electrical systems.

However, on other occasions, one of the panel lights might stay on and point out something is wrong. In this case, you need to evaluate the signs that your car is showing you to know if it is the alternator that is not working properly. Among the signs that indicate faulty car alternators are:

Instrument panel warning light on

Without a doubt, this is the simplest sign to see. If the alternator light (if your car has one) or the battery light is on, something is likely wrong with your alternator.

Low battery

This light will warn you if your battery is low on charge, which be caused by a faulty alternator. To find out if it is a battery or alternator problem, be sure to stop in at the Service Centre and we can check for you and fix any problems you might have.

Unusual noises

If you hear a grinding or whining sound, this could indicate that your alternator is not functioning properly. 

Failures of electronic systems

If the car alternator is not in optimal condition, the battery will not charge properly and can be discharged over time, leading to your car not being able to start. On top of this, if you notice any of the lights in your car are dim or that any of the other electrical components are wigging out, then you might have a problem with your alternator!

ALTERNATOR REPLACEMENT

If you think you have a problem with your alternator, then be sure to stop in at The Service Centre, and we can get it replaced for you. We are leading mechanics in the Thornton & Maitland area, and we provide the best service for your vehicle, whatever the make. 

ALTERNATOR REPAIR

If you prefer, we can also repair your car alternator. This takes a little bit longer to do than simply replacing it, but is usually a bit cheaper. Just let us know what you’d like to do when you come into The Service Centre, and we can make sure to work to your specifications.

THINK YOUR ALTERNATOR MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM?

Replacing your car alternator is a non-trivial operation requiring expert mechanical knowledge.

Our recommendation is always to turn to professionals and experts who evaluate the state and condition of your vehicle, especially when it comes to such an important mechanical part. At The Service Centre, our qualified professionals are always ready to advise you on any breakdowns of your vehicle.

The Service Centre is a group of workshops focusing on providing quality car servicing, maintenance, and repairs to our customers in Newcastle & the Hunter Valley Region, with workshops in Maitland and Thornton.

Your air con not working on a hot summer day isn’t fun, especially in a car where temperatures can rise to 65 degrees or more. 

Air conditioning is one of those things that can quickly be taken for granted until you no longer have it. When it’s midsummer and the outside temperatures rise, the last thing you want is if you’re stuck in a car blowing hot air through its vents or a vehicle with air conditioning that doesn’t blow at all.

Air conditioning in your car is more than just comfort and convenience; it is also a health and safety issue. One of the most risky things you can do is travel during a heatwave in a car without air conditioning, as temperatures can rise dangerously.  It can create a risk of dehydration and even heat stroke! 

It’s more unsafe for children, the elderly, and those with health problems, so it’s essential to ensure that your car air con is in good working order. So if you’re planning on hitting the road this summer, you’ll likely want your mechanic to check your AC out before you head off.

Why Your Car’s Air Conditioning Isn’t Working

Like most things beneath the hood of a car, air conditioners can break down for a variety of reasons. Knowing what to check for might help you figure out why your car’s air conditioning isn’t working and what measures to take next. Some of the reasons why your car’s air conditioning has stopped working include:

Your Car Has A Refrigerant Leak

This is one of the most prevalent reasons for a car’s air conditioner not working. Leaks can occur for various reasons; they might be the consequence of rubber seals and hoses failing over time, allowing the refrigerant to escape. The major hazard when this happens is that moisture may seep inside your car’s cooling system and mix with the refrigerant, which can lead to no cold air in your car. Moisture and Freon combine to form a toxic acidic mixture that may corrode your air conditioner and cause lasting harm.

As with any other form of leak, you’ll want to get this addressed as soon as possible so that it doesn’t continue to cause difficulties for your vehicle.

Your Cooling Fans Are Broken

Your car utilises cooling fans to pump the chilled air into the cabin, much like how you need blowers to push the air conditioning through the vents in your house. There will be no cold air flowing out of the vents if the fans have an issue.

Cooling fans might cease operating for various causes, including blown fuses, an electrical short, or being fractured by road debris. Fortunately, this is a pretty straightforward repair; your air con technician should be able to replace it and get you back on the road swiftly.

There’s A Problem With Your Car’s Compressor

Your air conditioning relies on a compressor to keep the air flowing, but if the compressor isn’t operating correctly, that refrigerant will not travel around. The lengthy chilly seasons of Autumn and Winter mean that many New South Welshmen don’t operate their car’s air conditioning for several months. One of the primary reasons a compressor goes poor is not being utilised for long periods.

A compressor might potentially cause issues if the compressor’s clutch becomes jammed. If it becomes caught in the “on” position, your air conditioner will run continually, and if it becomes stuck in the “off” position, the compressor will not engage. You’ll need to have your mechanic check what’s causing your compressor to malfunction.

You Have An Electrical Problem

Various factors might cause electrical difficulties with your car’s air conditioning. Failed switches, a blown fuse, an issue with the control module, or something else might be the cause. Fuses can short out, causing the air conditioner to cease operating, or a faulty connection can cause an electrical short that can be quickly repaired by one of our auto electricians.

While electrical problems in the air conditioning system are usually simple to rectify, they must be handled right since they can lead to acid accumulation. Acid accumulation can seriously harm your car, necessitating the replacement of the complete air conditioning system. This may be avoided by staying on top of problems.

AC Evaporator Core

The evaporator in your air conditioner works like a giant ice cube with holes in it. It permits heated cabin air to travel through the core, quickly cooling it before blowing it back into the cabin. The AC heater blower motor assembly is responsible for the cold air coming from the dash vents.

The most common reason for failure is a leak caused by age and wear. If there are significant leaks, a green and greasy substance may develop in the drain tube.

Where can I get my AC fixed in my car?

Unlike many systems in cars today, there are no warning lights to alert you to problems with your air conditioning. Since you don’t want to wait for a problem to occur, it’s a good idea to take your car for a service to make sure the hoses and fans are in good condition, there are no apparent leaks, and the coolant level is good.

But if your car air conditioner is not cold anymore, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. The solution can be a relatively inexpensive repair that can be done in just a few minutes. We understand how frustrating this can be with your vehicle, so we wanted you to have some knowledge to troubleshoot your air con issues yourself if possible.

However, if you are still having trouble fixing these issues yourself and are in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley area, feel free to call us or drop by our air con repair facility in Maitland. Our experienced technicians in The Service Centre would take a look around and get you back on the road in the shortest possible time.

To drive a car in NSW, you need to have it registered with a roadworthy certificate or risk facing some heavy penalties. But apart from these possible penalties, it is generally unsafe to drive a car that has not been certified as fit and good for the road.

So before your vehicle hits the road, it’s essential for it to undergo a rego inspection, be issued a roadworthy certificate and then be registered. Simply put, you need to obtain a pink or blue slip. 

A pink or blue slip is verification from a qualified mechanic that says your car is safe to drive on the roads in the state of New South Wales in Australia.

It also comes in handy for inspections of a car you intend to buy. It lets you know whether the car has mechanical faults that make it unsafe for the road. Knowing this is very important in ensuring your safety and that of other road users.

A rego inspection will also show whether a vehicle has been insured or not. This is particularly important as it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle in New South Wales.

In this article, you’ll get to know what the blue and pink slip is, the differences between both, and how to get one where required.

Blue Slip Vs Pink Slip

Simply, a blue slip is issued to ascertain that an unregistered vehicle is safe for driving. In other words, it is to assess the roadworthiness of an unregistered vehicle. 

You need a blue slip when you get a new unregistered vehicle or a vehicle that has remained unregistered for a long time. A qualified mechanic will check the vehicle to find out possible reasons why the previous owners failed to register it previously. 

They’ll thoroughly inspect the vehicle for faults, leaks, non-alignment with the car’s design standard and so on. Parts of the vehicle like the brakes, suspension, seatbelts, lights, tyres and more will also be inspected to make sure it is fit for the road. 

This is called a blue slip inspection, and it is more thorough than a pink slip inspection. This inspection also includes an identity check to ensure that your vehicle or any of its parts were not stolen.

Without this blue slip, it’s impossible to register a vehicle in New South Wales. 

Pink slips (e-Safety Check), on the other hand, are reports that ascertain whether a vehicle that is over five years old is roadworthy. This is so it can be re-registered. And this is the major difference between the pink and blue slip. 

So while blue slips are for unregistered vehicles, pink slips are for registered vehicles older than 5 years that require re-registration.

Here, an e-Safety check or pink slip inspection is carried out on the vehicle. This includes tyres, seat belts, engine, brake, headlights and more! 

Pink Slip Inspections

How Long Does A Pink Slip Last In NSW?

A pink slip lasts for 6 months, within which you have to complete the registration of your vehicle. 

If you fail to register within that time, you will have to get another pink slip and go through the inspection again.

How To Get Pink Slip For A Car

You can carry out a pink slip inspection at authorised inspection stations like the Service Centre. After completing the inspection, the inspection station sends the result electronically to the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

Once your qualified mechanic inspects your car, they will either issue you a pink slip or a Repairs Needed report. The latter report states that your car failed the inspection and lists the repairs that need to be made on your car. Without making these repairs, your vehicle will not pass inspection.

Our mechanic will then submit a report to the RMS detailing the result of the inspection.

How To Get A Pink Slip For A Motorcycle

The requirements for getting a pink slip for a motorcycle is similar to that of a car. The difference is that it will cost less and take less time to inspect.

Do You Need A Pink Slip To Sell A Car?

You do not need a pink slip to sell your car in New South Wales. All you need is an original copy of the vehicle’s registration certificate. You can also add other documents like warranty documents, receipts, manuals and so on.

However, if you do add a pink slip, you have a chance of selling your car faster and at a better price. This is because a pink slip shows that your car is fit and ready for the road. And this is appealing to buyers. It also takes out the need for them to get the pink slip themselves. 

So when all that is taken into consideration, your car can go for a really good price.

How Much Is A Pink Slip in NSW?

In New South Wales, pink slips for a light vehicle costs $42 as a standard fee. This includes the call-up fee for the mechanic and will cover inspection by the mechanic, the report issued and sent electronically to the RMS (Roads and Maritime Service). 

A pink slip for a motorcycle costs $24, a trailer without brakes costs $22, and a trailer with brakes costs $33.

Blue Slip Inspections

How To Get A Blue Slip in NSW

To get a blue slip in NSW, you need to get an authorised mechanic to thoroughly inspect the vehicle.

If the inspection is satisfactory, the mechanic issues you a blue slip and sends a report to the RMS electronically. 

But if there are faults in the vehicle, the mechanic issues a Repairs Needed report stating the repairs that need to be made. After the repairs are made, a follow-up inspection is carried out on the vehicle, and if it passes this time, you’ll be issued a blue slip.

Before going for an inspection, it helps to put your vehicle in order by going through the vehicle’s guidebook. However, if you cannot find it, contact us for help.

How Long Does A Blue Slip Last?

After the authorised unregistered vehicle (blue slip) inspection is carried out, the result is electronically sent to the RMS. This report is valid for 42 days, and registration is to be done within this period.

When Do You Need A Blue Slip in NSW

You need a blue slip for a vehicle

  • that has not been registered at all
  • whose registration has expired more than 3 months ago
  • that has been brought into NSW from interstate or overseas
  • that has no number plates
  • that was written-off but has now been approved for re-registration
  • that needs adjustments in its registration records because something about the vehicle has changed significantly, such as a new engine
  • that needs defect notices cleared

Can I Drive My Car To Get A Blue Slip?

Legally, you are permitted to drive your unregistered car to obtain a blue or pink slip or to get it registered. In any other situation, it will be illegal. 

To do this, however, you must:

  • Go to the nearest possible registration point.
  • Drive through the shortest and easiest route
  • Avoid detours
  • Go along with proof that you are going to register your vehicle in case you are stopped on the way. Proof of appointment or receipt showing payment will suffice.

How Much Is A Blue Slip?

In New South Wales, a blue slip for a light vehicle costs $67, while one for a motorcycle costs $41. For a trailer without brakes, that will be $34, and one with brakes costs $48.

Contact The Service Centre For Your Rego Inspection

As a driver in New South Wales, you cannot do without carrying out an e-Safety inspection once a year. 

This is why you need us. At the Service Centre, you can carry out your rego inspection and other automotive needs. 

As an authorised registration inspection centre, you can carry out your pink and blue slip inspections with us with no stress and in ample time. 

You do not have to wait till your registration expires before you carry out a pink slip inspection. You can book ahead with us, and we will make all the recommendations for repairs you need to get your car registered. 

So, contact us today, and we’ll help you get your car ready for the road in no time.

Who doesn’t want their car to always remain in its brand new state? Everyone wants a vehicle that doesn’t give them any unpleasant surprises by breaking down in the middle of a trip or when trying to meet a deadline. This really emphasises the importance of getting a car service with a reputable mechanic.

This dream is achievable with proper maintenance and servicing, your car can keep running as smoothly as ever.

Keep reading for vital information about car servicing, our procedures and how these procedures improve your car’s efficiency.

What Is A Car Service?

A car service is a constant maintenance carried out on a car at specific intervals. These intervals can be on a monthly or yearly basis, depending on the age and the mileage a car has covered.

To encourage constant servicing, new cars often come with a maintenance logbook. This logbook is a type of handbook that specifies the time and agenda for your car services. It also monitors any repairs made to your vehicle.

Car owners generally use the logbook to schedule the maintenance of their cars. These regular checks and minor fixes are what keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.

There are three primary categories of car services which are:

Interim Service

This is the entry-level for car servicing. Interim service is a minimal car service that we carry out on a car that has covered 15,000kms. The mechanic may also execute the interim service at a 6-month interval depending on what milestone comes first. It typically includes oil changes, oil filter replacements, and inspection of the drive belt.

Full Service

This is the entry-level for car servicing. Interim service is a minimal car service that we carry out on a car that has covered 15,000kms. The mechanic may also execute the interim service at a 6-month interval depending on what milestone comes first. It typically includes oil changes, oil filter replacements, and inspection of the drive belt.

Major Service

We often perform a major service when a car has covered 45,000 kilometres. We can also perform this service in 24 months intervals. This service is a comprehensive package involving every service a car may need. It includes replacement of worn-out parts, wheel bearing and shock absorber inspection, radiator, and coolant hose check.

Whatever type of service your car needs, whether it has 15,000kms or 120,000kms on the clock, The Service Centre is your one-stop-shop for all your car service needs. With over 20 years of experience and state-of-the-art facilities, you’re guaranteed maximum satisfaction.

Why Is Vehicle Maintenance Important?

There are various reasons why you should take your car to a specialist mechanic like us for constant servicing or maintenance. Some of these reasons are:

  • To keep your car in good condition and subsequently deter unwanted car problems.
  • To safeguard against road accidents that may occur if your car malfunctions.
  • To save cost as it prevents a significant breakdown of your vehicle.
  • To save you time by preventing serious issues that will require more repair time.
  • To maintain the value of your car if there is ever a need to sell it.
  • To prevent minor issues from becoming serious damage which can be expensive to repair.
  • To keep your vehicle running at optimal performance.

How Do I Know When My Car Needs A Service?

Owning a car is a serious responsibility. You need to watch out for signs that may indicate that your vehicle has an issue. Here are some of the signs to know when your car needs servicing.

  • The check engine light of the vehicle is on.
  • The car vibrates while driving.
  • Your car has a strange smell which could be from the engine oil or the parts of a car rubbing against each other.
  • The car emits smoke from any part, especially from under the bonnet.
  • Despite this, it is always advisable to take your car for servicing at least once every year. If it’s a new car, a six-month interval will keep it at optimum condition. You should do this whether you notice any of the signs listed above or not.

What Happens If You Don’t Service Your Car?

Failure to service your vehicle can lead to engine damage. It can also lead to the wearing out of some parts, which can cause a total breakdown of your European vehicle that could cost you a small fortune. If it becomes too problematic, you may have no choice but to sell your vehicle.

So, before it gets to that point, contact The Service Centre for your car servicing needs.

How Often Should You Service Your Car?

You should bring your car for servicing every 6 months, particularly if it’s a new vehicle that’s still under the new car warranty.

Even if you don’t drive your vehicle frequently, it’s still necessary that you take the vehicle for regular servicing.

For instance, some fluids are susceptible to moisture and need changing at intervals, whether you drive the car or not.

Your car maintenance logbook can also tell you when you should service your vehicle.

New Car Maintenance Tips

Upon buying a new car, there are some maintenance tips you should always perform on your vehicle at different times. They include:

  • Topping up and changing the engine oil.
  • Checking oil fluids such as the brake fluid, power steering fluid, and washer fluid.
  • Cleaning and replacing the air filter.
  • Checking for wheel alignment.
  • Checking and replacing the wipers.
  • Cleaning the radiator.
  • Checking the battery to ensure proper connection.
  • A lot of these you can do yourself at home but if you are not confident, don’t be afraid to bring your European vehicle to us in order to make sure it is always in tip top shape.

CAR ENGINE MAINTENANCE TIPS

It’s essential to always ensure that your car’s engine is always in optimum working condition. You can do this by:

  • Changing the engine oil at different intervals.
  • Checking on the cooling system constantly.
  • Regularly cleaning the air filter.
  • Being on the lookout for any fluid leakage.
  • Not running the vehicle while on low fuel.
  • Replacing the oil filter when due.
  • Replacing spark plugs and leads.

HOW TO DO MAINTENANCE ON YOUR CAR

You can perform basic maintenance on your car yourself by:

  • Checking your car tyres to make sure they are properly inflated.
  • Changing your oil and oil filter when due.
  • Examining belts and hoses.
  • Changing wiper blades when necessary.
  • Generally inspecting all car fluids.
  • Remember, you need to first read the manual of your car before trying to carry out any maintenance on your car.

However, you should also know that the car maintenance services you can perform on your own are limited.
For comprehensive car servicing, you need the help of an experienced and specialised mechanic.

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