Sometimes it’s the smallest components in your vehicle that make the biggest difference. The starting and charging systems are crucial to the functionality and maintenance of the power that moves everything from your engine to your power windows.
Your starting system begins the chain of events which cause everything to burst into working order. As the starter draws energy from the battery, converting it into mechanical energy for the engine, your vehicle responds with a roar of life. Now you can drive down the street, pick up the kids from school, or take a long drive down the coast. Once your engine is in full swing, the starter has done its job, and it’s time for the charging system to take over where it left off and pick up the slack.
The charger system helps by performing the opposite magic from the starter, which turns electricity into mechanical power. Now the charger will take that mechanical energy and convert some of it back into electricity to recharge and regenerate the battery. Thus, creating an ongoing cycle of use and replenishment in terms of your electrical system.
Understanding Your Vehicle
There are many small components which work together to start and charge your vehicle. The battery, alternator, and starter initiate additional parts, each responsible for making your car go and stop safely. The alternator is the main piece to your charging system, generating current to recharge your battery by way of a ribbed drive belt from the engine. Using a pulley system, as well as a rotor, the alternator helps control the entire electrical system of your vehicle, from the air conditioning and radio, to the dash warnings and headlights. Your battery and starter work in tandem with the alternator to complete the circuit of starting and charging, and overtime this can cause some general wear and tear. Corrosion of the battery can begin to cause problems with wiring, and other connections, making it difficult for your vehicle to operate.
Signs Your Charging System is Failing
Most charging systems are related to the alternator, and fortunately, there are ways to tell if you should be concerned and booking an appointment with your mechanic.
Trouble Starting: You might think this is a problem with the starter, but on the contrary, if your engine won’t turn over on the first or second try, it’s likely a sign that there’s battery trouble. Your battery will need to be replaced eventually, but if you’re sure it should still be in running order, and it’s giving you problems, there’s usually a direct connection to the alternator. Chances are, the battery isn’t being charged properly as your vehicle runs, and more juice is being used than restored. When this happens, a battery can completely drain, and once it’s dead, there’s no coming back. To avoid needing to purchase a new battery, have your car checked as soon as you realize there’s a problem getting started.
Lights Aren’t Bright: If your headlights, internal lights, and even dash lights seem much dimmer than usual, your alternator could be the culprit. Again, this is a sign that your battery isn’t giving or getting enough power to complete the circuit and keep your vehicle running in safe and steady condition.
Burning Smells: There are many moving parts involved in the starting and charging systems, and over time these can break down and corrode. If you smell any weird burning odors, it might be a sign that there’s too much friction inside your vehicle.
It’s important to seek professional help as soon as a problem with your starting and charging system becomes apparent. The longer you wait to fix an issue, no matter how miniscule it may seem, the more damage it can do to the rest of the charging and starting system. If the charging system is unable to draw energy and restore the battery, the battery will drain prematurely, and become unable to hold a charge. This is when repairs become replacements, and replacements can be expensive.
For more information on starting and charging systems, or to speak to one of our friendly team members about other services offered through Glenn’s Auto Repair, contact us today. We are always happy to hear from new and existing customers, answer your questions, and schedule a mechanical appointment at your convenience.
Oil and filter change. Check and fill all fluids. Belt, hose, and brake inspection. Tire inspection and rotation. Lubricate door hinges, hood, trunk, steering, components and suspension.