Friday, 28 November 2008

Don't rush to buy or replace a faulty alternator

Well, having traced my electrical problem to the alternator after charging the battery and managing to run it until flat, I started pricing up a replacement.

Turns out a standard Nissan alternator for the Nissan NX 1.6 carb engine is £190. Not good.
Local garage offered to get one and fit it for about the same.
Local autofactor cost about the same, but then added a surcharge to put it over £200 and more than a new original part!
And an auto-electrician said he'd have a look and suggested he might be able to find a replacement for £60.

In the end I thought the difference was worth taking a chance and went with the auto-electrician. And although he said it would take a while, he phoned me back with a couple of hours, for a cost of £30!

So once I've fitted it, I may have saved myself £160! It's always worth staying calm and thinking about your options, particularly if a part may just be repairable and it won't compromise your safety.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

One lesson I've learnt about Nissan in car entertainment

It's probably obvious to anyone more sensible than me, but it was only the combination of an electrical fault and the Haynes manual that made me realise something rather important.

I've bought a 15-year-old car secondhand. The manual is long gone, and more importantly, so is the security code for the original radio. And that's the security code you need if you disconnect the battery for any reason.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

We're losing all our power...

I knew it was a bad idea to book a holiday and leave my beloved NX alone for a week.

But I thought it would be because I'd have cleaning and other work to do when I got back - not that it was spiteful enough to break down on me two days before I went away!

The symptoms suggest the alternator, as the dashboard lights started to dim on my penultimate commute home before the vacation. I was fooled for a moment when I had to park and grab some shopping, as I thought it might not start again, but everything seemed fine after it fired up first time.

And then I got to within 2 minutes of my house, and it started lurching, everything went dim, and with a whimper it cut out. Cue 15 minutes of pushing the car in the evening rain onto my driveway - at least I know the NX is surprisingly light.

Annoyingly the English winter means I have to wait till this weekend to get under the bonnet to trace the fault, but at least it gives me an excuse to get some work done. I just hope it isn't raining, and I don't need to jack the car up. Mainly because I've got a sloping driveway - and trying to jack up a lowered NX is a bit of a challenge at the best of times!