Suppose you drive a car whose electrical system shuts off while driving. It can not only infuriate other road users but can also cause accidents.
It begs the question, what causes this problem? How can you fix it?
Usually, this issue is caused by electrical malfunctions, and knowing the exact cause can help you deal with it when it occurs.
The car’s electrical system is usually supplied with battery voltage and the alternator’s voltage.
Therefore, anything that affects the optimal functioning of these two components will also affect the electrical system.
So, without wasting time, let’s look at each part that makes your car behave this way and how you can fix it.
When your car is running, it produces mechanical energy.
An alternator supplies this energy to the various components such as the battery, the dash lights, the conditioning unit, etc.
But sometimes, the alternator gets faulty, thus depriving these components of the required energy. As a result, the components abruptly stop working.
However, if your car’s battery is still in good condition, it will continue powering the other parts when an alternator malfunctions.
But as you know, the battery will also need to be charged; hence sooner or later, you will still experience the problem.
A problem with the alternator can be diagnosed by measuring the amount of voltage reaching the battery when all the other components are disconnected.
If this voltage is below 13.0V, your alternator has a problem and needs to be fixed.
Once you check its parts, such as the brushes, the regulator, the pulley, the rotor, etc., and ascertain the one with a problem, you can fix it or hire a professional to do it for you.
Are you using an old car model? If yes, there is a high chance that the battery has gone bad due to regular usage.
Your car’s battery can also get damaged when left unused for a long time since it gets rust.
Therefore, if you recently started reusing the car after a long time and its electrical system starts shutting off while driving, you might have a bad battery.
The car’s electrical system won’t be supplied with enough voltage without a good battery. As such, it will shut off, especially while driving.
For example, if the battery has gone bad, your car’s radio and dash lights may go off abruptly due to low power.
Luckily, you can quickly diagnose a faulty battery by measuring its voltage. To do so, disconnect the battery from the car and measure its voltage using a voltmeter.
If the battery shows a voltage of less than 12.6V, the battery is bad and needs to be replaced.
Faulty Battery Cables And Corroded Terminals
Your car’s battery has a positive and a negative cable. These cables must always be strong and in good condition to supply continuous energy.
But these cables can get detached from their sockets. It could be due to circumstances such as accidents or when you let unprofessional maintain your car.
Besides, the terminals where these cables are connected can develop rust, thus not enabling the wires to draw voltage.
When the cables and the terminals end up this way, they will not supply voltage to the electrical system.
This problem is magnified by vibrations your car makes, thus explaining why your car’s electrical system shuts off while driving.
Ensure that the cables are tightly joined to their various connections to resolve the issue.
Also, scrub off the rust on your car’s battery using metal to ensure a continuous voltage supply.
A Faulty Ignition Switch
The purpose of the ignition switch is to complete and break the electrical connection. Therefore, when it is turned on, the engine starts running.
However, this switch is made up of metals that can rust due to exposure to water or moisture.
When they do, they tend to break the circuit now and then, thus making the car’s electrical system shut off while driving.
Fortunately, you can quickly diagnose a problem with the ignition switch by observing the light on the car’s dashboard.
If the dashboard light goes off when the vehicle stops, your car’s ignition switch is faulty.
So, how do you go about this issue? Open the ignition switch assembly and check its metals to fix the problem.
If they have rust, use a screwdriver to scrape it off. But if it refuses to go, you will have to install new metals or replace the entire ignition switch.
A Blown Fuse
The fuse plays a critical role in your car’s electrical system that involves breaking the circuit when the voltage exceeds a given level.
It is usually placed between the cables and the electrical component receiving the voltage.
Therefore, if it gets blown, it cuts off the voltage flow, thus making the car’s electrical system shut off.
Although it is rare to encounter a problem with a fuse, it is essential to understand its reasons and what to do to resolve it.
An error usually causes this issue in wiring. For example, if you allow someone not proficient in connecting electrical systems to maintain your car, they may wire the system poorly.
Wrong wiring will cause short circuits that will make the fuse blow up.
Also, an issue with electrical components such as the power seats and air conditioner can make the fuse blow up since they use a lot of voltage.
Unfortunately, you cannot repair a bad fuse; hence, installing a new fuse is the only way to fix the issue.
A Problem With The Electrical System Itself
You have probably checked the above issues and have not found any problems. Perhaps it’s time you check the electrical system itself!
The electrical system’s components can get damaged due to actions such as going over potholes or speed bumps at high speed, knocking on other vehicles, and using your car to charge a phone that has a virus.
For instance, the dashboard can shut off when its software develops bugs due to the virus.
Also, your car’s headlight bulb can blow up due to irresponsible driving, thus making it shut off abruptly.
Therefore, you shouldn’t just concentrate on the leading causes of the problem, but you should also open your mind to the possibility of an error in the system itself.
If your car’s electrical system shuts off while driving due to a software glitch, updating the system or troubleshooting it is the only way to fix it.
You can use your car’s manual to find out how to do so. But for a blown bulb, the best way to resolve the issue is by installing a new bulb.
Nothing is more annoying than when your car’s electrical system shuts off while driving.
You lose the functionality of essential components such as dashboard, headlights, cooling system, windscreen, heater, etc.
Consequently, it is vital to understand what causes it and resolve it.
This issue is usually caused by problems that affect the supply and transmission of voltage.
They include a bad battery, faulty alternator, malfunctioned cables, blown fuse, and other electrical system issues.
So, fixing these issues will not only safeguard your moods but also prevent accidents.
James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.
He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.