How does my car’s electrical system work?
Your vehicle’s electrical system consists of the battery, the starter, and the alternator. The battery provides energy to the starter, and the alternator gives the battery the energy it needs to power your car. Before your vehicle starts, your battery is providing the car’s entire electrical current, including to the ignition and fuel systems for when you first start your car. While the battery supplies the power to start your vehicle, the starter is really what gets the engine going. The battery supplies a small amount of power to the starter motor. The starter then rotates the flywheel, which turns the crankshaft and begins the movement of the engine’s pistons. This intricate process is why it’s key to make sure the starter works.
Almost all passenger cars and light trucks contain an alternator. It can be found near the front of the engine and is around the size of a coconut. Alternators are crafted with an aluminum exterior and contain cooling fans that regulate the immense amount of heat generated from producing electric power. Most alternators last around seven years, or for around 100,000 to 150,000 miles, and provide the energy your vehicle needs to function smoothly.
If there are issues with the battery, starter, and/or alternator, the entire function of your vehicle’s electrical system could be compromised.
How do I know if my vehicle needs auto electrical repairs?
The following are symptoms that something is wrong with your vehicle’s electrical system:
- The engine won’t crank properly.
If your engine doesn’t crank properly, there may be a problem with your battery, alternator, or something else. Because your battery powers your engine when you start your vehicle, there is probably an issue with your battery. You will probably hear a clicking sound when you go to start your engine, which means there is not enough electrical power flowing through your vehicle to start your engine.
- You’re experiencing battery problems.
If you are concerned that something is wrong with your battery, don’t get the battery replaced right away. However, the issue could be with your alternator or another part of your electrical system, so it’s best practice to get your vehicle’s electrical system checked as a whole.
- Your headlights and other lights are not working properly.
If your electrical system is malfunctioning, you may notice that various lights start to dim. Dimming lights indicate charging malfunctions and low system voltage. The culprit could be a dying battery, loose wires, or a malfunctioning alternator belt.
- Your fuses keep blowing out.
If only one fuse blows out, it is probably a singular incident. However, if multiple fuses keep blowing out, there is probably a problem with your vehicle’s electrical system.
- You smell burning plastic or electrical insulation.
This is a sure sign of electrical malfunction; if you smell burning plastic or electrical insulation, stop driving immediately and call your local auto repair shop.
Your Trusted Shop for Auto Electrical Repair
We at Clintonville Automotive Repair Service in Columbus are experts in all things auto repair. We’ve been fixing cars since 1962 and our service advisor team has decades of combined experience. Here are some reasons you should choose Clintonville Automotive Repair Service in Columbus:
- We service all passenger vehicles and trucks, regardless of model and make.
- Rental vehicles are available for your use while your car is in our shop.
- We have ASE-Certified technicians.
- We provide standard preventative maintenance as well as larger engine and transmission repairs.
- All of our work comes with a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty.
To schedule an appointment with Clintonville Automotive Repair Service in Columbus, give us a call at 614-300-2995 or schedule an appointment online.