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Identifying Alternator Problems in Your Watercraft

AlternatorLet’s say you have a pleasure boat or personal watercraft you love using, and let’s say it’s starting to give you trouble. You don’t want to be bobbing about like a cork on the ocean with a craft that won’t run, and at Millikan Battery and Electric Inc., we don’t want that either.

 

We are very familiar with electrical and charging systems, including alternators in Apopka, FL, and our experience tells us you may be looking at a problem with your system, of which the alternator is a big part. We’ll give you tips on identifying problems, in that way, if yours starts to fail, you will be ready to get the service it needs.

 

Your watercraft electrical system should be putting out about 12 volts with the ignition on, but without the engine running. This will drop to 8 or 9 during cranking and then should rebound up to 14 volts when the engine starts. If it doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance you have a problem with your alternator.

 

You can also assess the health of your alternator by checking the voltage at the battery with the engine at 2,000 RPM. A reading over 14.4 means yours is not working correctly. A further test has you check performance at the alternator itself with a voltmeter clipped to the wires. A measurement of less than 14 volts means you need to have your unit serviced by a professional right away.

Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for a Summertime Road Trip

Summertime Road TripIf you are gearing up to hit the road this summer, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Nothing spoils a summertime adventure like a roadside breakdown that leads to more time waiting in the repair shop than exploring the scenery. One crucial consideration is to test your battery. At Millikan Battery and Electric Inc., we check and replace auto batteries in Winter Garden, FL. Whenever you need battery services, our team is here for you.

 

In addition to your battery, there are other things you need to check to prepare your car or truck for the open road. By following the guidelines here, you’ll be ready for a safe and comfortable road trip:

  1. Check Your Tires for Wear and Check the Pressure
  2. Make Sure Your Brakes Work Properly
  3. Change Your Oil and Filter
  4. Top off the Vehicle’s Fluids
  5. If Necessary, Replace Wiper Blades
  6. Replace Aging Drive Belts & Radiator Hoses
  7. Check that the AC Runs Correctly
  8. Pack an Emergency Kit w/ Flashlight, Batteries, First Aid Supplies, Water, Non-Perishable Foods, Jumper Cables, and Other Supplies

 

If you have any concerns, make sure you take your vehicle to your local auto repair shop before you start traveling. And if you need a fresh battery, stop by and see us.

Know Your Auto Parts: Identifying Alternator Problems

Auto Parts in Apopka, FLThe alternator is one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It supplies electrical power while the engine is running, and it also maintains the charge in the battery. If it fails, then there is a high chance that the rest of your vehicle will begin to malfunction soon after.

 

Stores that sell auto parts in Apopka, FL, advise motorists to monitor their alternators carefully. Knowing the signs of impending failure can reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or a roadside emergency. Here are some of the most common alternator problems and how you can identify them.

 

Signs of a Failing Alternator

The most common problem affecting most of these components is wear and tear. An automotive engine and the systems that are connected to it are home to many moving parts, so it’s only natural that friction and heat will eventually cause components to degrade over time. The alternator is no different.

 

One of the first indicators of failure is a persistent whirring noise. This is caused by the fan belt wearing down on the unit’s bearings. When the bearings fail, then the alternator has no means of generating electricity. In these instances, you are better off replacing the entire alternator unit instead of a part.

 

Also, keep your eyes on your vehicle’s dashboard. All too often, an alternator can fail due to overcharging. The voltmeter on your dash shouldn’t have a high reading while you are driving–it should settle down shortly after starting up. An overcharged alternator might also indicate that other auto parts, like the battery or regulator, might be on their way out.

 

If you notice any of these signs while driving, then it is better to have a trusted mechanic inspect your vehicle. Addressing mechanical problems before they escalate can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.

Top 3 Distracted Driving Behaviors You Must Stop Now

Driving while distracted is a very dangerous behavior. We know we shouldn’t text and drive – even talking on the phone while driving can be majorly distracting. There are lots of other dangerous behaviors that can compromise your safety behind the wheel, but today we’ll focus on three hazardous habits.

Using Touchscreen Systems
Touchscreens have become common in many new vehicles and are used for everything from navigation to entertainment systems and dashboard displays. While they are a convenient tool, they require more attention, thus distracting you while driving. Looking at the screen while driving means taking your eyes off of the road. Do your best to avoid unnecessary usage while driving or pull over if you must use them.

Eating
Who hasn’t been guilty of eating while driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the likelihood of a crash increases by 80% as a result of eating and driving. Think of that the next time you need to open a packet of ketchup or unwrap a sandwich. Never take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. Instead, pull into a parking lot to eat your meal before hitting the road.

Grooming
Red light beauty maintenance is a problem and needs to stop. Applying mascara, combing your hair, or flossing your teeth at a traffic stop diverts your attention from the traffic light and road in front of you. Don’t pack your brush or mascara for on-the-go grooming when you’re running late. Take the few extra minutes at home or wait until you’ve parked to finish your grooming needs.

When you need reliable and affordable auto parts in Apopka, call Millikan Battery and Electric, Inc. You’ll get quality service from reliable professionals on all your auto service and repair needs.

Tips To Minimize Summertime Heat Damage

Springtime temperatures in Florida can get hot, so summertime temps in Florida are nothing short of scorching. While that warm weather is welcome for heat-lovers, all that sun and humid air can have negative effects on things, too. Did you know that the warm sunny climate is also a problem for your car? Fortunately, there are ways to protect your vehicle to minimize heat damage. Check out this guide for protecting your vehicle now and all year long.

Interior Protection: Surely, you’ve opened your car door after it’s been sitting in the hot sun and it felt like a sauna. Your dashboard, leather, carpet, and other surfaces absorb the sunlight and trap the heat in the car. The solution is to park in the shade when available, purchase shades for the front window, or install window tinting.

Top Off The Fluids: Just like you, your car is thirsty when it’s hot. It uses plenty of oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid, and is working hard and burning even more fluid to keep it cool. During the summer or before long road trips, make sure all of the fluids are properly topped off and check them more frequently than in cold-weather months.

Tire Troubles: Under-inflated tires are more likely to overheat and cause a blowout than properly inflated tires, and the problem is only made worse by hot roads. The solution is to make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

For assistance preparing your car for summer or ahead of a long road trip, visit Millikan Battery and Electric Inc. for replacement auto parts in Apopka.

Spring Safety Driving Tips

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and while we look forward to the blooming of flowers and new leaves on the trees, all that rain can cause trouble driving. Springtime downpours mean driving conditions often include mud, muck, slush, and standing water.

Spring weather conditions present their own driving challenges, including a high number of accidents due to wet pavement. To help keep you safe on the roads in the coming weeks, here are a few spring driving safety tips to follow.

Navigating Heavy Rain
Before you go out in spring driving conditions, make sure that your windshield wipers are new and that you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid. You’ll also want to make sure your tires are in good condition with proper air pressure and with enough tread. If you find either is overly worn or broken, replace them with auto parts in Apopka.

Beware of Standing Water
During or immediately after heavy rainstorms, pools of standing water can form on the road. If you can, avoid the puddles altogether. If there’s no way to switch lanes safely, try to drive through it very slowly, so you don’t slide. Hydroplaning is another major danger with standing water. This occurs when your tires are riding on top of the puddle, rather than gripping the road. Your main defense is to go slow.

Be Cautious of Mud
Steer and brake very carefully when there’s mud on the road to avoid sliding. If you do start to slide, treat it as you would an ice slide and turn your car in the direction of the slide, slowly pumping your brakes.

Car Sounds and What They Might Mean

Grinding. Squealing. Popping. Pinging. Clicking. Screeching. These are all scary noises when it comes to your car. But they are also helpful clues that can be useful. Paying careful attention to the sounds your car makes can help diagnose potential problems with it. Here are a few of the most common car sounds and what they might mean.

  • Squealing Engine: The next time the engine makes a loud squeal, it’s likely telling you it’s time to have the fan belt replaced. Fan belts tend to loosen over time, which can lead to that unmistakable squealing sound.
  • Knocking Under The Hood: There are a few possible explanations for engine knocking, among them, a problem with how fuel is being ignited within your engine, using incorrect spark plugs, using low-quality gasoline, or worn out or loose rod bearings.
  • Squeaky brakes: If your brakes consistently give you a high-pitched, single-note screech, this is caused by worn-out brake pads or, on older vehicles, brake shoes. Other possibilities include overheated brake pads or brake rotor rust.

When your car starts making weird sounds, don’t delay. Treat those noises like symptoms of a more significant problem, which requires a check-up and maintenance right away. For radiators, alternators, starters, or car batteries in Winter Garden, FL, call Millikan Battery and Electric, Inc., for prompt and professional service.

Dashboard Warning Lights You Need To Pay Attention To

Dashboard lights blink at you often, but do you really pay attention to them? A red warning light on the dashboard has an important purpose and usually indicates a serious car problem or a safety issue. A seat belt safety light is easy to understand and resolve quickly, but more serious warning lights need to be checked and corrected immediately.

Do you know what your dash lights mean? While no light should be ignored, some need more immediate attention than others. Here are five common warning lights and why they might be on.

Battery Light: The battery either needs to be replaced, or the wiring or alternator needs to be repaired. Head to a service or repair station that specializes in car batteries in Winter Garden, FL, as soon as possible while your car still has power.

Engine Temperature Light: Your engine could be overheating. Turn off your air conditioning and radio, turn on the heat, and pull over to a safe place to call for roadside assistance.

Check Engine Light: This dashboard sensor can mean a variety of things for your car, like the spark plugs need replacing or the gas cap isn’t screwed on tight, but there’s no need to panic. Visit a service station at your earliest convenience.

Oil Pressure Light: If this light turns on and stays on, it means your car might be low on oil. Top off your oil as soon as you can and then take it to a service repair shop to have it checked.

Tire Pressure Light: One or more of your tires need additional air. While you can safely drive on the tires for a short time, driving underinflated tires too far or too fast can cause irreparable damage to them, so fill them up at the next gas station.

Engine Troubles: Steps To Take If Your Car Overheats

Today’s vehicles feature sophisticated cooling systems equipped with heat sensors and computerized fans, which are designed to keep the engine running without issue, whether it’s warm or cold outside. Overheating is rare with modern vehicles, but even a well-tuned automobile can still overheat. Although hot weather is the most common cause of overheating, many other factors can cause the same problem.

Here are five easy steps to help you mitigate the situation should your car overheat while driving.

  1. Don’t panic! Your car might be heating up, but you need to keep your cool to ensure your safety.
  2. Turn off the AC and turn on the heater. This will draw warmth away from the engine, allowing warm air to circulate away from the cooling system.
  3. Pull over safely. Park your vehicle as soon as you can and turn off the engine. If you have roadside assistance, you may want to call for help, as you may need a tow. If you’re in heavy traffic and can’t pull over immediately, shift into Neutral or Park and rev the engine a little. The water pump and fan will speed up, circulating coolant through the radiator, faster, helping to cool the engine.
  4. Pop the hood. Allow the engine to cool for at least 15 minutes and then open the hood to relieve some of the heat. Remember, for your safety, do not add water or remove the radiator cap until the vehicle has cooled completely.
  5. Check and add coolant. If your coolant level is low, a quick top-off could help protect your engine and prevent overheating until you can get things fixed.

After you’ve completed these steps, if you aren’t having your car towed, you can carefully restart your engine and drive to an auto repair shop near me. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature gauge as you drive to make sure the temperature isn’t creeping back up to unsafe levels.

: Everything You Need to Know About the Life of Your Car Battery

The life of your car battery is dependent on a number of factors, so while every battery has an estimated lifespan, how long it actually lasts for your vehicle will vary. Some of the varying factors that affect your vehicle’s battery include humidity, temperature, and other environmental factors.

Under ideal circumstances – that means you live in the perfect world with low humidity and moderate temperatures – you can likely expect your vehicle’s battery life to be about six years. However, on average, in the real world, a car battery lasts between two and five years. For drivers in warm climates of the south, temperatures tend to increase damage to the battery due to sulfation and water loss. For drivers in more northern climates, you may not be able to get the full five or more-year lifespan out of your battery because of the long, cold winter temperatures.

But, just like the overall health of your car, proper care can extend the life of your car battery. The best way to make sure that your car battery lasts a long time is always to keep it fully charged. That means always turning off the lights and never leaving accessories plugged in. Also, always make sure your battery is checked during routine vehicle maintenance. When it is time for new car batteries in Winter Garden, FL, call Millikan Battery and Electric, Inc., for high-quality service at competitive prices.