Trusted Auto Electrical Professionals in Boise, ID
1. Battery Service
A battery service involves cleaning the battery, battery box, battery cables and posts or terminals. When a battery has a lot of corrosion on top, it can be an indication that the battery is failing and producing more gas than a good battery would. The first step in servicing a battery is to determine if the battery is worth cleaning. If the battery is fully charged it will be tested and if it passes the battery will be serviced.
The fee for this type of auto electrical service will vary, depending on the condition of the battery system. If the battery cables have been eaten away by battery acid, the cable ends may need to be replaced. If done correctly, replacement ends can be a good option. Ends that require soldering must be repaired correctly or they won’t make proper connection. The best option on some systems is replacement of the cable rather than cutting the cable to install a new end. If a battery cable was designed to allow new replacement ends to bolt on to the cable, replacing the ends will usually be a good fix.
2. Alternator Battery Warning Light On
This could be in the form of a red battery warning light in the dash or it could be a message of a few words on the dash such as “battery voltage low”. When this warning comes on, you need to take it seriously, especially if you are driving at night and even more so during winter driving. Using head and taillights, wipers, defrosters, and heater fans can wear a battery down quickly.
In a previous article about alternator replacement, it was explained that once an engine is running, the alternator is powering all electrical and electronic components on your car. If the alternator is not functioning properly, the battery must supply electrical power for the entire vehicle. Ignore the battery warning light or message and you may find yourself stranded. Schedule an appointment with AutoTranz in Boise before that happens.
3. Lighting System Service and Repair
The most common auto electrical services is lighting system repair on vehicles is replacing a lightbulb. New vehicles have lights everywhere; under the hood; in the trunk; on outside mirrors; multiple in the interior. On older cars, bulb replacement is generally an easy job. With the new body styles, a simple bulb replacement can become an expensive lighting system repair. Newer cars and trucks also have many more lights inside and out. They have headlights, driving lights, turn signals, side markers, stoplights, interior lights, map lights, mirror lights, and inside door lights. As an example, a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban has 29 replaceable light bulbs.
Many newer vehicles have lightbulb out reminders and messages. These systems electronically monitor light bulbs and let the driver know when a bulb is out. An important point to be aware of is that these systems require replacement bulbs that meet manufacturer specified standards. Using a perfectly good bulb that doesn’t meet the standard may cause the system to mistakenly identify the bulb as bad when it isn’t; it’s just the wrong bulb for that vehicle. Your owner manual will often list replacement bulb part numbers.
A common headlamp problem on newer vehicles with plastic lenses is when the lens becomes foggy and reduces visibility at night. The lens is damaged by exposure to chemicals, such as soaps used in car washes. They are also damaged when Idaho roads are covered with sand to improve traction on icy roads during the winter. The sand causes pits the lens surface.
There are kits available for polishing headlamp lenses to eliminate the foggy appearance. Some of these kits include sanding with fine compounds or sandpaper. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can opt to pay a detail shop to polish them. The final option to fix this problem is to buy new lenses, which is often a very expensive option.
4. Windshield Wiper and Washer Service
Most Idaho drivers have experienced poor visibility due to road grim on the windshield during snowy or rainy road conditions. When you push the washer button, you expect to get a clean windshield and an immediate visibility improvement. But when the washer pump reservoir is low on fluid, smearing of grime can actually worsen visibility.
More than a disappointing inconvenience of pushing the washer button and having no fluid spray out of the nozzles, it can actually be unsafe. Some drivers, in frustration, may continue pushing the button in hopes that fluid will eventually clean the windshield. Holding the button down, when there is no fluid, however, keeps the washer pump running. With no fluid to keep it cool, the pump can overheat. The replacement price of the pump could run $50 to $100. Considering the price of a bottle of washer fluid runs around $5, that’s pretty pricey.
Boise temperatures range from 100 degrees in summers to 20 degrees in winter months. Wiper blades exposed to these extremes may need to be replaced twice per year, unless you are buying the very expensive type.
Another way to damage wiper blades is failing to loosen frozen blades from an icy windshield. This happens when you park your vehicle at night in a rain or snowstorm, turning the key off but not turning the wipers off. When you start the car in the morning the wiper setting is still on so they try to move immediately. If the blades are frozen to the windshield, it can break or bend the blades. Remember, scrape the windshield and loosen the blades before starting your vehicle. Doing so will also protect the windshield wiper motor and cable or linkage used to power the wipers from the strain that can bend or break wiper components.
5. Headlamp Bulb Replacement
Replacement of headlamps on some vehicles only takes a few minutes, like on a 2005 Chevrolet truck. Other vehicles, like some imports, require removal of the entire front of the car to gain access to the headlamps. Removal and replacement of the front grill and bumper to get access to a headlight bulb is not a pleasant job, and likely not one you could do yourself.
Headlamp bulb types have changed over the years as regulations on light intensity and style or shape have changed. At AutoTranz we like to stay with original equipment bulbs recommended by the manufacture to avoid potential problems with overheating light sockets or lenses from a high intensity bulb that draws more amperage than the lens or light socket was designed to handle.
Because of design variations, the cost to replace a bulb will vary. Seeing the vehicle in the AutoTranz shop in Boise enables our auto repair professional to provide a more accurate estimate. The expense of replacing a Honda Accord bulb could be twice the price of a Ford SUV, or vise-versa, depending on the make and model of vehicle. Remember, the fix for a bad bulb includes the price of the bulb and the labor to remove and replace it.
6. Electric Door Locks and Keys
Locking your keys in the car can turn a good day into an uncomfortable one, at minimum. Depending on your situation, it could also get expensive. Having a family member close with an extra key or key fob is the best scenario to keep the frustration and cost to a minimum.
Next to an extra key, having lockout insurance coverage is one of the easiest and most economical ways of dealing with a lockout. If the only key is locked in the car and your insurance doesn’t cover the situation, it’s time to call a locksmith or a tow truck that does lockout service. Another option is to contact your vehicle’s original manufacture dealership for lockout services. This will usually involve having your car towed to the dealership, which is costly.
Some manufacturers offer a service that is able to communicate remotely with the vehicle. The General Motors OnStar system is an example. Contact them by phone and they can communicate with the vehicle to unlock the doors. OnStar and other similar programs are usually subscription-based services with annual or monthly fees.
Key fobs and electronic keys are very convenient and provide nice safety features. Most cars have keys that are a transponder type, which means they communicate with the vehicle functioning as an anti-theft device. If you need an additional key you can purchase one at many hardware stores, locksmiths, and car dealerships. Some new cars come with an extra or spare key that does not have a transponder electronic chip in it. It’s a blank key that will open doors if you’ve locked the ignition key inside, but won’t start the car.
If you lose your only set of car keys, replacement becomes complex depending on the type and year of your vehicle. A professional locksmith or dealership will need the vehicles VIN number to access key codes to make a new key.
A key fob is a wireless remote that transmits various signals to allow the driver to do a variety of functions without being in the car. These functions include:
• Starting the car – if the vehicle has that function
• Unlocking doors
• Opening the trunk
• Sounding an emergency car alarm
If you lose your key fob, “blank” fobs are easily available online from a number of sources. These fobs may need to be programmed for the vehicle by a locksmith, dealership, or auto repair shop. Many vehicles have key fobs that can be programmed by a vehicle owner following very specific instructions. The year, make and model of the vehicle, along with the complexity of its electronic system will determine who can program the fob.
Electric door lock switches and actuators are common on most vehicles today and are usually reliable and trouble free. Door locks will usually lock automatically when you drive and unlock when you stop and shift the transmission into park. This means there is a lot of activity on the actuators, but the manufactures have designed them to last for years with few problems.
The most vulnerable components in lock systems are driver-operated switches. They can be damaged by fluids spilled on them, or by excess force of someone hitting them too hard. Switches fail more than lock actuators.
When they do act up, they can be difficult to diagnose because of the number of electrical circuits, computers, and switches involved in their operation. They include wireless key fobs, driver and passenger door lock switches, hidden switches in doors or door latches, anti-theft systems, and body computers.
The electrical circuit schematics for these systems are very complex and require automotive technicians with skills and knowledge in diagnosing them. The systems are complex, whether on a Chevrolet, Ford, Honda or Toyota.
If you have a door lock electrical problem, be sure to contact AutoTranz Transmissions and Auto Repair in Boise to schedule an appointment. Our electrical mechanics can get you back on the road with reliable door lock operation.
7. Electric Window Repair
Electric windows are operated by switches that are similar to door locks. But that is where the similarity ends. Windows have a motor, glass guide tracks, and a cable or window regulator. There are many moving parts that can wear out or sustain damage from misuse. A common way to damage a window in winter is trying to roll it down when it’s frozen shut. This puts excess pressure on the regulator or cable and can bend or break them. The best way to avoid this potential damage is to defrost the windows and scrape ice off them before attempting to roll the window down.
Another common problem is that window motors wear after years of operation. The common complaint associated with a worn motor is that the windows work intermittently. A worn motor is easy to diagnose by pushing down on the window switch while simultaneously tapping on the door panel. If this causes the window motor to start, it usually means the motor is bad.
Window motor replacement requires removal of the door panel and removing cables or regulators. This is a very complex job that requires special tools and experienced mechanics.
As you can see the term auto electrical service covers a wide range of systems. We’ve given you some key points about each of these systems. Batteries, alternators, windshield wipers and washers, doors locks, and electric windows are essential systems and components that are counted on to function everyday. Each of these systems can be diagnosed and repaired by our professional technicians at AutoTranz Transmissions and Auto Repair in Boise. We install quality Napa auto parts to provide you protection with a national warranty.
If you live near the junction of Boise, Eagle and Garden City, on State Street, we are close. AutoTranz Transmissions is a full service auto repair shop able to handle any auto electrical service your vehicle needs. Call us today for an appointment.