Electric Vehicle Repair

Cars have come a long way over the last 100 years. We have seen immense improvements in the way they are manufactured, resulting in more powerful engines, highly tuned suspensions, and precision steering and braking systems. You can thank advanced electronic systems for most of these improvements.

According to a recent Forbes report, the average vehicle has between 1,000 and 3,000 microchips. Modern vehicles use electronic components to run engine management, ignition, onboard computers, in-vehicle entertainment, and telematics systems, to name a few.

With all these new electrical systems, you get miles of wires running through your vehicle. The complex wiring involves many sensors, switches, and fuses to complete their respective circuits. As a result, the cost of electrical system components has risen from less than 1% of a vehicle’s manufacturing expense to over 30%. And if you consider hybrid and electric vehicles, the cost is even higher.

Unfortunately, like mechanical components, these new electrical systems experience problems, and you need a qualified technician to diagnose and fix these issues. At Cochran Chevrolet Youngstown, our service center techs receive continuous factory training to remain updated on the latest parts and repair practices. This training helps them quickly identify your electrical issue and repair it.

Electrical Repair Costs

A mechanic putting shock plugs on a car battery

Many of our customers ask us, “Are electrical problems in cars expensive to fix?” The answer depends on several factors, such as the type of malfunction. For example, you can purchase a fuse for $10 and replace it yourself. But major system failures like the alternator can cost $1,000 or more.

Additionally, your vehicle’s year, make, and model impact the cost of electrical repairs. Newer vehicles have more expensive parts than older ones. However, vintage or limited-edition vehicles have fewer available replacement parts, which drives up the price of the parts. Sometimes, you might have to pay someone to make the part or modify an existing part to replace a broken component.

Common Electrical Problems in Vehicles

Thankfully, most new electrical components operate efficiently and effectively for many years and require little maintenance. Still, problems arise. We asked our technicians to list some of the more common electrical issues affecting vehicles and the symptoms to look for to prevent an unwanted breakdown.

Failed Battery

The battery is the heart of your vehicle’s electrical system, pumping electricity to power the various components. No electrical systems, including the engine, will work when your battery fails. Unfortunately, all batteries fail eventually. In most cases, battery failure occurs by small degrees over time.

Therefore, it might not present noticeable symptoms at first. Some signs to look for include the engine straining to start, dim lighting, and other electrical components like the radio not working with full power. However, you could experience sudden battery failure if you leave the lights on all night.

If you experience any of these symptoms, we recommend you have one of our service technicians test your battery. Your battery may be failing, but it could also indicate other problems.

Failed Alternator

Your vehicle’s alternator constantly works to return power to the battery. Otherwise, your battery will fail in a day or two. Once the engine starts, it uses a belt-and-pulley system to operate the alternator, which creates electricity and returns it to the battery for later use. As long as the alternator works properly, you have a renewable source of electrical energy.

Alternators typically last five to 10 years, depending on usage, craftsmanship, and weather. An alternator, like your battery, usually doesn’t fail immediately. However, it isn’t as gradual a process. Signs of impending alternator failure include straining at startup, dimming lights, and intermittent functioning of electrical systems.

If you notice any of these signs, have a professional test your alternator immediately to avoid an unwanted breakdown. In most circumstances, you can jumpstart a failed battery, and the alternator will supply enough power to get you to a mechanic. But a failed alternator will drain the battery, requiring you to recharge or replace the battery to reach a service center.

Failed Starter

The starter is a small electric motor activated by turning your ignition key or pressing the start button. The motor then engages the engine flywheel, which starts the combustion cycle, aided by your spark plugs. Power from your battery makes this function possible.

It isn’t uncommon to confuse a failed starter with a dead battery. Both present the same symptom — your vehicle won’t start. However, unlike a dead battery, the starter will make an audible clicking sound when you turn the ignition.

If your vehicle won’t start and you hear a click, it could be that the starter has failed. However, the problem could also be a solenoid switch, which aids the electrical connection between the battery and the starter. Our technicians can quickly test your starter and diagnose and fix the issue.

Blown Fuses and Bulbs

A vehicle’s electrical system has many safeguards, called fuses, designed to break the electrical circuit when power surges unexpectedly. A fuse is simply the thinnest wire capable of handling the amount of electricity needed for a particular circuit. Thus, when an electrical surge occurs, the fuse wire burns out, preventing the surge from damaging other parts of the circuit.

Light bulbs are essentially the same thing. They have a thin filament that glows as the electrical current flows through it. Eventually, that filament burns out, and you must replace the bulb.

Fortunately, fuses and light bulbs are simple and inexpensive to replace. However, finding the correct fuse can challenge some people. You must read your owners manual to identify the correct fuse among dozens. If you prefer a professional to handle this procedure, our technicians can do this for you quickly.

Schedule a Service Visit in Youngstown Today

If you think you have a problem with one of your electrical systems, Cochran Chevrolet Youngstown can help. You can conveniently schedule a service online or bring your vehicle to our Market Street service center anytime. One of our friendly, knowledgeable technicians will diagnose the problem and recommend the proper repairs. For all of your Electric vehicle questions, comments, and concerns, keep your #1 Cochran team informed so we can best suit your needs.


365.057 – The Mid-Day Jump-Start by Al Ibrahim is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0