Your vehicle depends on its electrical system to do a myriad of things, from starting the engine to running the safety gear. And like any vehicle system, it needs care and respect to run at its best. But how do you keep an automotive electrical system functioning at it's peak?
Design Maintenance Schedules
Just like the oil, tires, and other automotive systems for the vehicles in your fleet, even the most lovingly cared for vehicle needs regular maintenance for its electrical system. Clean and replace battery contacts, check belts and fuses, and run tests on your wiring as necessary. Each vehicle will have recommended maintenance in its manual, so read it carefully and follow its instructions to keep up the electrical system.
Listen To Your Vehicle
There are a lot of signs that a vehicle's electrical system is starting to malfunction. The most obvious is that the motor won't turn over, of course, but there are plenty of other subtle signs. Dimming or brightening headlights, slow response from vehicle systems that depend on electricity, stalling, bad smells... If you're seeing signs that something's wrong, pop the hood and start looking at the wiring.
Protect Your Circuits
One of the most dangerous electrical problems you can have is an overload. Automotive wires can only take so much amperage, and a sudden surge can blow out wires, stall your vehicle in the middle of operation, and in extreme cases even cause explosions and fires. So take a moment and ensure you've got proper circuit protection, and install it if you're not happy with what's currently in place. Ask yourself what's cheaper; replacing a fuse or replacing the vehicle?
Check For Corrosion And Wire Stress
Any wiring is going to be at risk of corrosion, especially in vehicles that are exposed to the elements or are worked hard without a break for a long period of time. Moisture ruins a lot of vehicle systems, but wiring especially can be prone to damage in wet climates. Give your wiring regular inspections and look closely for signs of oxidization, worn insulation, and shorts. Seal your engine compartment against moisture as much as you can. And after a bad storm or a similar tough time in the elements, check your wiring and ensure you don't have any water in your engine compartment.
Regularly Look for Shorts
A "short" is slang for a short circuit, or a circuit that allows electricity to flow along a path the designer didn't intend. Shorts can range from minor annoyances to outright dangerous; a minor short can kill the lights, but a major one can destroy a vehicle or even electrocute the operator in certain situations. Regularly inspect wiring for loose wires, worn insulation, and melted plastic. Tug on wires to make sure they're properly seated. Check metal terminals to see if they're blackened. In short, if something doesn't look up to specification, check it.
Your vehicle's electrical system is key to a great product; make sure it's properly protected and cared for. Start with our circuit protection products, and ensure every vehicle in the fleet is well protected.