Palmer's Auto Repair - image of Dirty Battery TerminalA little battery maintenance can prevent a roadside emergency. The car battery is the center of any newer vehicles operational success.  We get a lot of emergency calls where regular battery maintenance would have prevented a real problem. 

Newer cars use up to 50 computer modules  to operate everything from the engine’s electronic fuel delivery, sensors, lights, windows, heating, blower motor, abs-brake system, and air-bags. Because there are so many modules and electronic devices, there is always something in your car drawing power, even when it’s totally off.  This is called parasitic draw. Your vehicle has an allowable parasitic draw specification.  This is just one of several functions in newer cars that can cause the battery to go dead.

Here’s a complete list of critical battery inspection items.  These are standard items when ever you bring your car into Palmer's for a standard maintenance review, check-up or when you are having trouble starting your car:

We Check:

•    Water levels
•    Charge and Load test
•    Parasitic Draw specification vs actual
•    Clean and paint or replace battery hold downs
•    Clean and test battery cables and clamps
•    Battery physical inspection for leaking posts, and structural integrity.

Palmer's Auto Repair - New BatteryLeaking battery posts will cause corrosion to come back quickly and can be very hard on your battery cables.  This can be tough to spot unless you know what to look for.  Sometimes the environment is just hard on the cables.  Palmer’s Auto Repair makes all of its own battery cables.  We have a cable termination machine that allows us to create exactly the right length and color using the highest quality cable and terminals.  We can even solder the cables after tightening the terminal clamps so that corrosion can’t wick down under the cable insulation. 

A really solid electrical connection to your battery is more important than ever.  We recommend that you check the condition of your battery every spring and fall.  For a more complete seasonal check-up, bring the car in.  We usually have spring and fall specials for just this reason because we don’t what you having problems in a mid-winter storm.

Starters & Alternators

Palmers Auto Repair Alternator Starter imageStarter replacement and alternator replacement have probably brought more grief to shade-tree mechanics than just about anything else we can think of. So your car won’t start. How do you know what the cause is? You can’t unless you have the right test equipment and you know the electrical system of your whole car.  Particularly with cars built after 2000 the electrical complexity increases dramatically.

The diagnostics of a starter problem is beyond complex and often leads to costly mistakes without the right equipment.  The old tricks don’t really work anymore.  We’ve been down this road many times.  You have four choices on what’s gone wrong with your starter: your battery, your alternator, your starter, or some wiring component has gone bad.

But, without the right equipment and experience you can spend a $1000 along with a weekend of time without solving the problem. Many vehicles won't start because the neutral safety switches are bad, or the ignition switch has failed.  There can also be 50 or so computer modules that might be stuck on and draining your battery.  Our message is simple.  Please do not try to diagnose alternator or starter problems yourself.  We can find the problem right away, where you may not find it for hours or even days. Bring it to Palmer's Auto Repair.  You'll spend less than an hour in our Milwaukie waiting room instead of a weekend on the cold wet floor of your garage pulling your hair out and buying parts that don't fix the problem.