Understanding The Electrical Systems Of An Automobile

By Ben Mester

Automobiles have plenty of different electrical hardware. These systems must function together for the car to start and run correctly. If any of these systems becomes defective, it will most likely stop you in your tracks. Fortunately, after you understand the different electronic hardware in an automobile and how they work, you can start to diagnose your own electrical problems.

The key electrical hardware of an auto are the battery, the alternator, the starter, and the solenoid. If any of these systems goes bad, you'll probably not even be able to start your vehicle, much less drive. Most everyone in their lives, has once or twice had a bad battery. They have either had to jump start their car, or go out and get a new battery and install it. That's fairly simple.

But the other components are rather more tough to identify. The alternator is similar to a mini generator. It powers the vehicle's electrical components after the vehicle is started. The battery is only ever really used to start the vehicle. After the vehicle is started, the motor runs the alternator, which in turn runs the electrical components and also recharges the battery.

If your alternator ever goes bad on you while driving, you will start to lose power and your car will at last just shut down. Often it happens slowly, and sometimes it occurs fast, depending on the circumstance. When the alternator goes bad, you are stopped in your tracks. You may be able to wait a little and restart your car, but it won't go very 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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