MRichards

Engine Cuts Out - Electrics at Fault Maybe?

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I have a 2003, 1.0 Yaris and seem to have a bit of an electrical issue.

Every so often, the car will cut out. The dashboard will go dark for a fraction of a second, then come back but the engine dies in this time.

I've noticed if you pump the brake pedal quickly, the intensity of the headlights dim, as does the intensity of the dashboard (I guess I notice this more as all the instruments are powered by lights).

I notice that the same thing happens when you turn the steering wheel (in either direction) by about 90 degrees. Sometimes this does cause the car to cut out (I've repeated this a few times and I'm sure it was me turning the wheel that caused the car to cut out).

I had this happen once a few months back but didn't think anything of it however I've had this happen a number of times in the last 48 hours (some of the times was causing by me intentionally trying to reproduce the problem).

Any suggestions?

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Get the Battery and alternator checked. Either a bad Battery, defective diode in the alternator, or even both could be causing this issue.

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I second "fordulike"'s suggestion.  Also, in view of age of car, check the main Battery cables, including the earth strap, in case there's hidden corrosion.

Does the car have electric powered steering?  I'm thinking if you have low voltage from Battery/alternator, then could be that turning the steering wheel is putting extra load on the electrics and causes voltage drop, which maybe the ecu senses & cuts out engine as a safety measure.

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Thanks for the replies, I can see how the electric power steering is putting quite a lot of load, causing it to cut out. Luckily this only happens at crawling speeds (reversing out of driveways etc.) so I'll check the Battery and alternator over the weekend. A colleague also suggested filling up the Battery with distilled water (I wasn't aware this was a thing), as I checked my Battery and it's not a sealed unit like most so that's something else I'll do at the weekend. Will keep this thread updated for anyone visiting in the future.

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4 minutes ago, MRichards said:

A colleague also suggested filling up the Battery with distilled water (I wasn't aware this was a thing), as I checked my Battery and it's not a sealed unit like most so that's something else I'll do at the weekend.

No, if you suspect that the Battery isn't performing as it should, then just buy a new one.

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I've found in the past that needing to top up the Battery with distilled water, whilst maybe eeking out a few months of Battery life, is really a signal that all is not well, and that the Battery is on the way out, and I've had to replace within a year.  Of course, a Battery can also lose water if being overcharged by a faulty voltage regulator, but one doesn't hear so much about that sort of fault nowadays.  Battery technology has changed over recent years, and voltage regulators are probably now better at what they do, both of which may have had the benefit of reducing Battery water loss.

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I would suggest trying the Battery connections first: both on the Battery and the earth to body. A corroded or loose connection will break when load applied..

 

Why first? Cos it is free if you diy.. (I am a mean Scot) 

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In addition to everything else that's been posted, could this also be a faulty ignition switch? The dash display going out indicates a total loss of power. 

Also, its normal to see headlights dim as the engine speed dips below normal idle momentarily, such as suddenly loading the power steering or turning the heated window on. 

 

 

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Take the car to a Halfords garage as they will do a free Battery & alternator test - at least that way you are not potentially spending money on a Battery when you may not need one.

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