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Electrical Static Discharge

My '05 Chevy Malibu was in an accident in Dec '07. Since then, the factory installed remote start has slowly stopped working, the driver side headlamp and front and back blinkers constantly burn out, the radio buzzes when the side mirrors are adjusted, and to top it off, I receive an electrical static discharge upon exiting the driver’s door.



Is there a plausible explanation for these issues and if so, could you please explain them to me?



I’ve tried grounding straps, static guard, changing clothing/shoes, keys to the car door, grabbing the door before exiting and dryer sheets. Nothing works.



Thank you for your assistance. It is very much appreciated!

The light bulbs may be burning out because they are getting as much as 25 volts ac from the (defective) alternator. Your car is designed to run on 12 volts dc. The alternator produces ac which is converted (through magic) into dc. It’s easy, for someone capable, to check the alternator output with a multimeter set to measure ac voltage.

Thank you for your response. Could the alternator also somehow produce enough static electricy to cause the other issues?

If the alternator is malfunctioning, it can put out too much voltage and damage bulbs. But I think it’s more likely that during the repair work, a critical ground somewhere was left disconnected or has a poor connection, causing some of the car’s circuits to rely on other electrical paths that were not intended. This may be a real pain to find. The static shocks you’re getting have nothing to do with this–they are a separate problem entirely. If the tires were replaced as part of the accident repair, this amazingly enough, could be the cause of your static shocks. Different tire manufacturers have different formulations, and some seem to drain static charges, while some are great insulators and will let a large potential build up in the car body, which discharges through you when you step out and put your feet on the ground, then touch the car body.

The static shocks you’re getting have nothing to do with this–they are a separate problem entirely.

Worth repeating.

this is most interesting…at the time of the initial “repair”, only one tire was replaced. Two weeks later, another tire was replaced. Two months later, the rear two tires were replaced. I have no idea where the first two tires came from but the second two came from Les Schwab (here in Wilsonville, OR). There are signs of the alternator and it’s belt having uneven wear on them and has been documented by the insurance company. I will definitely look into where the first two tires came from and have a GM certified repair shop look at the alternator asap. Thank you so much for your information! It is greatly appreciated!

That you’re getting static shocks doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the tires BTW, it’s just a nuisance with some brands and probably has as much to do with the material your clothes are made from vs. what your seats are made of—when you slide off the seat to get out, that’s where most of the charge is generated I think, whether in you or the car. Nylon and other synthetics are especially bad. A worn alternator belt is probably not relevant to your problem–the only way I could see it having any effect would be if it’s so bad that it was slipping and power surges were being generated from it intermittently working then not working–a simple voltage check should confirm whether the alternator is working properly or not.