Monday, February 11, 2008

Back To The….Auto Shop

The terrorists pull up in a Volkswagen bus armed with a surface to surface missile. It is time to make a quick exit. A turn of your Deloreans ignition key results in a click, not the satisfying roar of a motor starting.
Sweat starts pouring as you frantically try to start the car. On the third try the motor barely cranks and starts, you throw the car into gear and in a flash you are gone.

What went wrong with the Delorean and why would it not start?

My technical expertise is a little rusty on flux capacitors and the 1.21 Jiga-watts that they require.

We better go back to the…. auto repair shop and figure it out to get you back home!

Unless you have an Old model T ford with a hand crank out front, all modern vehicles have a starting and charging system. We are going to look at the charging system.

Doc Brown will explain to us how to diagnose a charging system failure.

“Every vehicle owner will eventually not be able to start their vehicle because of a dead battery. Lights left on, listening to the radio with the vehicle off, a bad alternator or just an old battery can leave you stuck, hopeful not in a dangerous situation.

“When driving, if the charging light on the dash comes on that usually means that the alternator which produces electricity to run the vehicle and charge the battery has stopped producing the necessary voltage to keep charging the battery. Turn off the sound system, air conditioner and any electrical devices. Your vehicle is running off the battery. When the battery is drained the vehicle will stop. So, we want to conserve electricity to get the vehicle off the freeway and to a repair shop immediately.

“If you hop in your vehicle and nothing happens when you turn the key, turn on your headlights. If the lights do not come on or are very dim your battery does not have enough electricity in it and you will need to get a jump start. Unless you immediately find that a dome light was left on, take your vehicle to have the charging system tested to determine why the battery died.
“If your lights are bright and the car won’t start, you possibly have a bad starter”.

In a future article we will go over how to safely jump start your vehicle. As Dr Frankenstein said “We can bring it back to life”

I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine the owner of Kens Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks were we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions please e-mail me at, visit or call 805-494-4344

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