Modern Technology, Modern Problems
One of the best perks of owning a beautiful European Luxury vehicle like a Fiat, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, or Volkswagen is the technology that comes along with it. Computers are used to run or assist virtually every process and function on modern European vehicles. Computers can help improve performance, fuel efficiency, and handling. This technology, which requires complex electrical connectivity, has arguably been the greatest advancement in modern vehicle production.
Cutting-edge technology is amazing, but it comes with a slew of modern problems. Electrical issues in modern vehicles have evolved with the advancement of technology. Problems with wiring, chips, and computers can be difficult to diagnose, and costly to repair. These new problems, layered on top of existing technologies such as battery and alternator issues, starters, and engine coils, make the current-day electrical system in a vehicle one of the most challenging to repair.
Electrical System Anatomy
At its core, the basic electrical components of a vehicle have mostly remained the same over time. These basic electrical system components include:
In addition to these three core components, older vehicles typically consist of a system of wires, fuses, connective pins, and switches that all work in tandem to properly power the vehicle. A fault or issue with any one of these components could cause your vehicle to stop functioning as it should.
There are several reasons why one or more of these components can fail. As with most automotive parts, over time they can wear out. Depending on where you live, exposure to the heat or cold can impact how long they last. Additionally, if you have an issue such as a coolant or oil leak, those fluids can damage electrical components over time.
Electrical Repair Specialists
Always Start with the Battery
Generally, when an electrical system issue is suspected, we start by testing the battery. Even if your vehicle is starting up normally, a weak battery (or one that has intermittent issues) can often be an issue with the new technology that powers most European vehicles. If you have purchased your vehicle new from a dealership, you can typically expect this OEM battery to last for three to four years before it begins to degrade.
Extreme cold and extreme heat are the two number-one killers of automotive batteries. Because we live on the Space Coast, we don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, but the summer heat definitely has an impact. As we mentioned before, factory batteries last three to four years before you need to replace them, and you can expect an aftermarket battery to last roughly three years before it should be replaced.
Other Common Electrical System Related Issues
There are a lot of components that are related to or directly impacted by your electrical system that improve your safety when you drive, or impact how comfortable your ride is. For instance, your headlights and taillight are components that need to be changed out from time to time. Depending on your vehicle, this may be a simple project, but sometimes it requires the disassembly of much of your front end to gain access. Other common issues include problems with power window switches, your blower motor, or your sound system components.