Renault Trafic non runner

Towed to us as non runner and the immo light on dashboard stays on all the time.

Firstly plugging in a diagnostic tool gave us no faults but it did fail to communicate with several modules.

All the modules communicate on the canbus network, with specialist equipment we can look at these and see how they are. Below is what we saw on this vehicle and below that what we should see

So we know now that the canbus network is at fault, but where is the difficult part, it could be a faulty component dragging signal down or wiring.

The first thing we did is disconnect as many components as we could on the cambus lines like airbag, radio, cluster, ABS to see if it was a component fault, in this case fault remained. After removing one of the plugs from the ECU the signal did clean up but we still couldn’t communicate with various modules.

Tracing the wiring from this plug through the engine bay we discovered shorted wiring in the loom.

Once wiring was repaired we had comms with most modules apart from engine ECU. A check was made of all the powers and grounds to the ECU all were ok.

So the short on the wiring has caused damage within the ECU.

A new ECU was not a viable option due to cost so a 2nd hand one was sourced and we have the tooling to Virginise the replacement unit and code to the vehicle.

Another Renault saved from the scrap yard!!


2010 Citroen C4 non runner

This arrived at our workshop from another garage who suspected ECU fault but were not confident 100 percent.

We checked the wiring to the ECU as there was no comms with this unit and confirmed it as faulty.

We removed the unit from the car,

And stripped down to see if any fault was obvious.

We had different options then for the customer, brand new which was very expensive. Send it away to be fixed, which would still be expensive and take a week to do or fit 2nd hand unit which would need the software changing as it would be already programmed for the original vehicle.

To do this you have to strip down the ECU and get access to the circuit board inside. Then the relevant chip has to be removed and read and the coding  altered so that it works on the new car.

Here at Widnes Auto Electrical we have the equipment and software to do this. Saving the customer time and money

Ford Focus instrument cluster

Ford Focus 2009 with various electrical issues. Using our experience with Ford cars and accurate wiring information it was diagnosed as a fault in the instrument cluster. Normally a replacement cluster may be required but here at Widnes Auto Electrical  we have the equipment and skills to repair these, saving the customer a big expense.

Here is the cluster stripped down and under the microscope ready for repair.

Mercedes A-class Airbag trouble

2013 Mercedes came in with airbag light illuminated,  a quick code read showed a fault with passenger side occupancy sensor. This sensor detects when someone is sat in the passenger seat and also their weight. This sensor is very important because if the weight of the occupant is small it will not activate airbag in a crash situation as it could kill the child.

Many owners with this fault may decide to fit an emulator to kid the car because it’s a cheaper alternative to a correct fix. This is dangerous because it tells the car that someone is sat in the seat and the weight of that person is an adult so the airbag will go off whoever is sat there.

This customer decided to fix correctly which requires the seat to be removed and the upholstery to be stripped.

With the new part fitted and coded in, the fault light extinguished. Job done!

Peugeot new key

A Peugeot into our workshop with faulty remote, which  is all part of the key.

With the correct tools we can extract the pin code from the vehicle that then allows us to program in new key.

A quick efficient job and back to the customer.

Your car’s Electrical System – How to spot a fault

What’s going on with your car’s electrical system – In this article our aim is to highlight what’s happening with your car electrics detailing the major components of your cars electrical system.  We will also highlight some hints and tips along the way.

Let’s start your car’s battery.

Your car battery’s main function is to start the engine and operate the electrical elements in your car.  Things such as your windows, lights, radio, sat nav all need the battery to work.  The battery itself typically consists of six cells of positive and negative lead plates, immersed in electrolytes made up of water and sulfuric acid mixture.  Care should always be taken if you are charging or jump starting your car because a chemical dangerous gases vent through the batter cover vents as a result of the chemical reaction occurring with the lead plates and the electrolyte.

For a safer battery you may want to look at batteries that use a gel instead of an electrolyte.  You can now use maintenance-free batteries so that you minimise concerns for the electrolyte element.  Eventually the batteries will, by their very nature, deteriorate over time so it’s not a complete solution rather an alternative more efficient solution

How to recognise when you are having battery issues

If your car is having problems starting the use can start with a very basic test.  If you know the exact condition of your battery you will be able to identify if it is actually the battery at fault or possibly another electrical component causing the issue.  If could be that you need a new starter motor or a replacement alternator.

All you need to test the battery is a battery, battery charger and a decent DVOM (Digital volt Ohm Meter). Your car handbook will normally tell you what colour to look out for.  Simply look at the DVOM for the colour to tell you if your battery is in good condition, needs charging, or has low fluid and needs replacing.

If you are guessing that the battery needs replacing, then beforehand, it might be an idea to just to take your car to an auto mechanic just to ensure it is the root cause of the electrical fault with your vehicle.  After all the last thing you want is to spend money and time replacing the battery only for you to find out that it was actually a parasitic drain on the system actually causing the battery failure.  It’s not just potentially expensive, it could actually be dangerous too!

It’s good to know that the average life of a battery is typically between 3 and 5 years.  Your local car electrics specialist is usually the best person to help you with this.


Let’s talk about your Alternator

The alternators main function is to help run the electrical accessories in your vehicle.  This includes the ignition and the engine controls system.   So how does it work.  In short It produces electricity to maintain battery storage charge.  It is driven by the engine producing an alternating current (AC).  We always recommend that you should check your car’s repair manual or with your local mechanic to obtain the correct information before working on your alternator.

Typically, the alternator will last around 3-4 years.  This is due to the demands placed on all the modern electrical devices (stereos, lights, windows, heated seats etc., you use in your vehicle. What’s always useful to know is that if your alternator is coming close to its end of life, this can put additional stress on the car battery.  By keeping your car servicing up to date, and keeping an eye on your engine management lights, you can often prevent these subsequently related issues.


In the table below we have highlighted some typical power usage on a car’s charging system:

Equipment Electrical Draw
Rear Window Defogger 25 amps
High Blower 20 amps
Headlamps (low) 15 amps
Windshield Wipers 6 amps
Ignition 6 amps
Brake Lights 5 amps
Total 77 Amps

When you consider if you charge your phone or laptop whilst in your car or have customised your vehicle this will create additional stresses.

It’s really important to pay attention to your car’s warning light for the alternator.  This will definitely help you catch any problems before they become a major issue.  Most modern cars have alternators that have the electrical current passing through the filament of the warning light is what energizes a circuit in the alternator to start charging.

To check the warning light circuit, turn the ignition switch to the “on” position without cranking or starting the engine; if the light does not come on, remove the plug from the alternator and ground the wire that terminates to the #1, I, L or D+ terminal (depending on manufacturer). If the light comes on, the wiring is okay but the alternator is defective; if the light still does not come on, the wiring to the light circuit and the bulb should be checked. (our mechanics at Widnes auto electrics would always recommend that you consult a trained auto electrician or your local garage if you are unsure about what this all means)

You should always check the fuse that controls the light circuit, too. It’s good to know that different cars use different labels such as “charging”, “regulator”, “meters”, “gauges” or “engine”. In some cars, if the fuse is out, the warning light will come on but may not go off. In others, a burned out fuse may make the warning light work in reverse order; that is, when the key is on, the light is off but as soon as the engine starts and the alternator starts charging, the light will come on.

Checking out these simple circuits first can greatly reduce the time spent trying to find out the cause of your car troubles and could help to prevent the unnecessary replacement of your alternator.

When it comes to charge light indicators, we find that in some cases it is normal for the charge indicator light to come on when nothing is wrong with the alternator.

According to information published by some of the leading car manufacturers, a car may have a low voltage reading or lights that dim when electrical loads are heavy at idle. Furthermore, this condition is normal and no repairs should be attempted unless a fault has been found.

For clarification, as a car idles for extended periods of time during high heat conditions, a number of things happen that contribute to “lowered” alternator output that coincides with physics and the design of the alternator:

  1. As heat within the alternator increases, the electrical resistance in the alternator also increases, which reduces the alternator’s charging capacity.
  2. As temperature rises, the voltage set point of the regulator is lowered to reduce the chance of overcharging or “boiling” the battery.
  3. More modern alternators have a “delay/soft start” built into the regulator circuit. This delays the load being placed upon the engine when starting up from a stop, so that the smaller engines in use today are not loaded down upon acceleration due to charging demands. This can delay the charging by up to 15 seconds.

With the alternator’s capacity for charging reduced by heat and other factors, an alternator may only be able to produce up to 70% of its rated output under these conditions. So an alternator rated for 100 amps may only be able to produce 70 amps when hot at idle when there is 77 or more amps of demand on it.

So the question to consider here is…If it can be considered normal for warning lights to glow while a healthy alternator is running, how do you know if the alternator is in good working order or if there are other problems waiting to happen?

A detailed diagnosis is always the best route to determining whether or not the alternator is at fault, but there are times when diagnosis time is short and you still need a positive identification of the problem. Cases like this require specialist tools which will enable you to isolate the alternator from the car’s wiring harness and lets you see if the alternator is at fault or if there is a wiring problem elsewhere within the car’s wiring harness. These tools will be able to you to see quite accurately if it is indeed the alternator causing you your car electrical problems if there is another mechanical failure at play!


Let’s consider faults with your car’s Starter Motor

What is a Starter Motor?  Put simply, the starter motor is simply a DC motor that turns the engine crankshaft through the flywheel, starting the combustion process by creating compression within the cylinders. Voltage to the starter is supplied directly from the battery and is controlled by a relay and/or solenoid operated from the key switch inside your car.  Starters can be of varying types and designs depending on the requirements of your car.  That said whatever the type, they all offer the same basis service, to get your car started

On older vehicles a slow cranking engine can typically be a sign of a bad starter motor.  On most modern cars however, it’s due to low battery voltage, poor electrical connections at the battery or a failed relay or fusible link.  It’s good to know that If you are choosing to buy a new car, most starters will easily outlast a new vehicle warranty if it’s not overused, if good connections are maintained and if it’s not overheated.

You can help reduce the workload of your starter motor (and increase its life) by simply starting your car with electrical components switched off (eg radio, air-con etc., window wipers.). To help you with this a lot of manufactures now have it so that the AC compressor and alternator will not turn on until after the vehicle has been started. (find out more on our dedicated starter motors page

Maintenance Tips For Your Car’s Electrical System

Its highly recommended that you get your car’s electrical system checked and tested at least every two years or whenever whenever you spot a problem with your vehicle. Many problems are often caused by voltage variations and must be one of the first steps in identifying any problem. Because there is a computer on board in almost every car built now, even quite minor voltage changes can alter the controls.

Your car’s electrical system must be load tested to certain standards, which can be simulated by turning on all the accessories and lights for simple voltage drain but that is not an all-inclusive test. Measuring circuit loads with an ammeter, circuit voltage drops with a DVOM, variable circuit load testing, etc. is usually the only way to fully check function. With electrical systems operating at 80%-100% of capacity nowadays (see Power Demand Chart), it is crucial that it be up to standards.

Whilst you may consider yourself capable of doing this testing process yourself, you might find that the test equipment to buy is too expensive when you think about how often you will actually use it during your car’s lifetime.  This is why we would always recommend an auto electrical expect who will have the right tools you’re your car manufacturers system.  This could save you a lot of time and money in the long run


Our top 5 helpful tips to help extend the life expectancy of your car’s electrical system.

Tip #1: Always keep your battery and its connections clean to avoid clogged battery cover vents and overtaxing your starter. This will also allow for proper ventilation of dangerous, explosive gases from your battery.

Tip #2: When replacing your battery, always buy one of the same or higher CCA rating (cold cranking amps) as the original battery and make sure it’s the same or compatible “group size” to fit your battery tray and cable connections.

Tip #3: Due to the varying nature of car electrical systems, never jump start your car using another car that is running. Use the other vehicle’s battery power alone to start it because a 14.5 volt running system can seriously damage a 12.6 volt system due to the overvoltage.

Tip #4: Start your car with the major electrical components turned off – A/C, stereo, etc. – to ease the load on your battery and starter and extend their lives.

Tip #5: Have your car’s electrical system completely checked and tested at least every two years or whenever you have it serviced for any type of driveability issue.

Widnes Auto Electrics  – Remember to come back  to check for new maintenance topics.

Note : these repair tips are designed only as a starting point.
Please seek the assistance of a professional mechanic
for all repair problems beyond your capabilities.


Jaguar Land Rover has strengthened its commitment to the armed forces with the donation of two F-TYPE sports cars to Mission Motorsport. The cars will be used by the charity to support the recovery and rehabilitation of ex service personnel affected by their time in the military.

The donation, championed by the armed forces team at Jaguar Land Rover, was made in the run-up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June. It continues Jaguar Land Rover’s relationship with the forces’ motorsport charity established in 2014 with the creation of its Armed Forces Engagement Programme.

A critical element of that project was the establishment of a Wounded Injured and Sick (WIS) training scheme, in which more than 45 WIS personnel have taken part and 29 have gained full-time employment with Britain’s biggest car maker. Six others had been employed by Jaguar Land Rover’s partner organisations.

“These two cars will make an immeasurable difference to the Mission Motorsport team, enabling them to reach even more veterans who don’t know what the future holds after their discharge from the military. ” “At Jaguar Land Rover we have seen the benefits a programme like this can have in awakening new horizons, ambitions and careers. We look forward to seeing the next set of beneficiaries begin their new future with us”


Workers were joined by some of Jaguar Land Rover’s WIS recruits and Mission Motorsport ambassadors to build the cars – a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder 300PS and a range-topping 5.0-litre V8 575PS SVR. One of those spending a day on the production line was Jaco Van Biljon, who joined Jaguar Land Rover’s WIS training programme in 2017 and went on to secure employment in the firms powertrain division. He’s since represented Great Britain at the Warrior Games and has been selected, along with two JLR colleagues, as members of Team GB for this year’s Invictus Games taking place in Sydney this October. Jaco is also about to embark on a sponsored degree.

I did not know that my journey from Mission Motorsport to Jaguar Land Rover would be life-changing when I made that first phone call. I left the military because of a degenerative condition and really didn’t know where to turn. Today, I’m here at Jaguar Land Rover in a job I love, with a team that support me and a bright and exciting future. It’s been quite incredible


This has been an incredible gesture by Jaguar Land Rover and an extraordinary commitment to reinforce our hard work in support of those leaving the armed services. It is our responsibility now to harness the excitement that these cars create to help inspire those who have so much to offer. We are very grateful indeed for this transformational gift.


Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover has recruited more than 850 ex-forces personnel and is committed to seeing this number rise as it aims to become the employer of choice ex-military. Whether choosing to leave the armed forces, or having been wounded in action in, Jaguar Land Rover has a programme in place to support those transitioning from forces life to civilian career whilst meeting its own need to advance the skills and capability of the automotive industry. From leadership and team working skills to the ability to cope under pressure, the armed forces community has many of the core skills needed to help Jaguar Land Rover succeed in the future.

The launch of new retailer technician training programme earlier this year is just one new way the company aims to upskill ex-military personnel for employment in Jaguar and Land Rover retailers across the UK. So far this year 12 technicians have been employed.

How long is it safe to leave a dog in a hot car?

The answer is quite simple. Never leave your dog in a hot car. After just a few minutes your dog is at risk. What’s amazing is that I was over in Widnes the other day near the Costa Coffee and an owner of a Ford Focus had left his dogs locked in the car with the windows barely open. This is just cruel in this weather.

According to the RSPC temperatures can rise very quickly and in whether like this, your car can reach temperatures very close to 50C in your car. In this situation it can result in death for your dog.

Is also wise to know that if you do leave your dog in the car you could expect a fine between £2,000 and £5,000 depending on the situation. If you do see a dog, or any animal locked in a car in this heat, and cant see the owner, you should contact emergency services or even your local rspca – they can advise you on what to do.
This situation should never come about, but I guarantee that some silly idiot will do this over this summer.!

Saudi Arabia finally allow women to drive!

Female racing driver Aseel Al Hamad celebrated the end of the ban on women drivers with a lap of honour in a Jaguar F-TYPE.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 24 June 2018: Female racing driver Aseel Al Hamad celebrated the end of the ban on women drivers with a lap of honour in a Jaguar F-TYPE.

Aseel, the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, had never driven on a track in her home country before.

Aseel joined Jaguar in a call for June 24th to be known as World Driving Day – a day when finally, the whole world can enjoy the thrill of being behind the wheel of a car. On World Driving Day Jaguar invites people to share a memory of their best driving moment (image or anecdote) using the #worlddrivingday.

Having loved cars since I was a child, today is highly emotional for me. This is the best driving moment of my life. What better way to kick off World Driving Day than a lap of honour in my home country in a Jaguar F-TYPE – the ultimate car to roar around the track. I hope people around the world will share in our joy today by sharing their most memorable driving story using #worlddrivingday.


By creating World Driving Day, Jaguar urges people to remember this historic day and what it means to women, to Saudi Arabia and to world progress in general. As part of its ongoing work with over 40 Universities and Academic institutions globally on future mobility solutions, the company will also be partnering with University in Saudi Arabia to join this global network. The partnership, to be announced later this year, will be a unique exchange to tap into the brightest young minds in Saudi Arabia to shape the company’s future innovations as it moves to ACES (an Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Shared future).

It’s easy to forget and take for granted the enjoyment of driving and just what a privilege it is to get behind the wheel of a car. World Driving Day is a commitment from Jaguar to celebrate this key moment annually for both men and women. This year, we’re really excited to collaborate with the brilliant students from Saudi Arabia to shape the future of mobility for people around the world.


Who is Aseel Al Hamed

Aseel Al Hamad is a true pioneer with a huge passion for motorsports as the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation. She also serves as the Saudi Arabian representative at Women in Motorsport Commission for Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Aseel has driven all over the world. She loves fast cars and the thrill of the race track. She holds a degree in interior design engineering from Prince Sultan University and followed additional courses at the University of the Arts in London.

What does Car Air Conditioning / vehicle air-conditioning actually do?

Modern vehicles come with all sorts of top end interior gadgets from the latest Bose surround sound to high end car electrics and sat-navs etc.

One feature that we all tend to make use of while we’re on the road is a vehicle’s air conditioning system. While winding the windows down may allow air to run through your vehicle, it also lets everything else in the atmosphere outside of the car in too!

Instead of letting in all those road bugs, flies, insects and air pollution, Air conditioning allows cooled air to circulate your car or vehicle without these interfering nasties.

Here’s everything that you could possibly need to know about your car air conditioning / vehicle air-conditioning unit!

So what does your  Car Air Conditioning / vehicle air-conditioning do?

Now, when we think of car air conditioning / vehicle air conditioning systems, we naturally think of how they cool the air in the vehicle.    Why this is one of the main reasons for having it they are much more.

In short they quite literally “condition” the air, reducing moisture in the air and consequently too. The unit’s four main principles are evaporation, condensation, compression, and expansion.


So How Does it Work?

Most air conditioning systems work in the same way, whether they’re installed in a home, an office, supermarket of your car or motor vehicle.   Your air conditioning system is connected by a series of flexible hoses and hard tubes

There are five main components that this system connects – the evaporator, condenser, the compressor, receiver-dryer, and expansion valve,

A refrigerant then flows around the whole system once the engine is on, evaporating at a low temperature, and then condensing again at a high pressure.

When it condenses, it takes heat away from the vehicle and the blower fans pass cold air throughout the vehicle, cooling the air inside.

Downsides of car air conditioning

One of the main downsides to having air con is that the system takes quite a lot of energy to work.  This means that you will burn more petrol or diesel when your air con is switched on.   Having said that, in this hot and sticky summer I would definitely prefer to have it on rather than not!