Understanding The Electrical Systems Of An Automobile

By Ben Mester

Vehicles have a lot of different electrical systems. These components must work together in order for the vehicle to start and run properly. If any of these components becomes flawed, it'll most likely stop you cold. Luckily, when you understand the varied electrical systems in a vehicle and how they function, you can begin to diagnose your own electrical issues.

The primary electrical components of a car are the alternator, battery, solenoid and starter. If any of these components goes bad, you will most likely not even be able to start your car, much less drive. Most everybody in their lives, has a few times had a battery die on them. They've either had to jump start their vehicle, or go out and get a new battery and install it. That is reasonably easy.

But the other systems are a bit more tricky to identify. The alternator is sort of a mini generator. It powers your car's electrical systems once the car is started. The battery is only ever really used to start the car. Once the car is started, the engine powers the alternator, which in its turn powers your electrical systems and also recharges your battery.

If your alternator ever goes out on you while driving, you'll begin to lose power and your vehicle will eventually just shut down. Sometimes it occurs gradually, and sometimes it happens quickly, dependent on the circumstance. When the alternator goes out, you're pretty much stuck. You might be able to wait a little bit and restart your vehicle, but it will not go far.

The solenoid and starter are a part of starting the car. The solenoid simply bridges the link between the battery and the starter to permit electricity to flow, thus engaging the starter. The starter simply turns over the engine with a nice jolt of electricity. If either one of these systems is bad, your car won't start and you'll be stuck in your tracks.

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