Q: How can metal in my car lighter keep it from running?

asked by on November 09, 2016

my car was driving just fine when i last drove it. couple hours later it stared up just fine. with the car in park I was Trying to charge my phone, but wasn't getting a good connection through the car lighter/charger. I pulled the charger out and looked in the hole it goes in. when i did that i saw what I assumed was dirt or somthing keeping the charger from making a good conection, so i grabed the neearest item next to me ( a pair of metal scizors ) and attempted to scrape off the " Dirt " as soon as i did that that i felt a small shock. my radio shut off and the car started making noises. turned it off and now it wont turn over....... got it to turn over once since then but as soon as i put it in drive it did. now my engine wont turn over and im pretty sure that using scizors to scarpe dirt off the car charger wasnt the smartest idea but i dont know how that can cause it to not turn over and drive.

My car has 100000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. What a conundrum. However, all is not lost. I believe you may have already had a concern in the making prior to the scissor incident. You mentioned that the phone wasn’t getting a good connection through the power outlet. It sounds like you may have an alternator failing which led to your current situation and explains why your phone wasn’t charging in the power outlet. Putting a metal object in the power outlet usually only blows a 10 amp fuse; easily checked and replaced and I definitely recommend you check and replace any needed fuses.

Have the battery tested with a digital tester that provided cold cranking amps, current voltage, and state of health; replace as necessary. Ultimately, have the alternator checked for voltage and amp output. The alternator provides the power source and maintains the battery while the engine is running. I strongly suggest acquiring a qualified technician to perform an inspection to avoid replacing unnecessary parts. I also suggest replacing the charger as these do break/wear out often. YourMechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with a car does not start inspection.

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