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Electrical system, Battery, Alternator                                            Bellingham /  Ferndale WA / Whatcome  County


   Electrical  System


How a Car Electrical System Works

The number of electrical components offered on today's vehicle is staggering. The most important component of an electrical system is the Battery. The electrical system starts and stops with the battery. From the battery the engine utilizes electricity necessary to start the vehicle. While the vehicle is operating the electrical system is energized and recharged by the alternator that is powered by the engine.

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     Car Batttery









   Batteries: They work harder when it's cold, and winter can compromise their cranking performance up to 60 percent. Test and replace old or weak batteries, especially those more than three years old. It can be cheaper than a tow and replacement on the road.

 Alternators: ensures that your battery remains charged; while the engine is running in your car the serpentine belt is continuously supplying energy to the alternator which then energizes the battery. When the alternator breaks your car will run on battery power for a very short period of time and then it will not start and work properly again until power is restored to your battery and the alternator is fixed. Changing an alternator requires many different disassembly steps and can be a daunting task even with a manual to guide you.
Starter: runs very sluggishly. You turn the ignition key and you get that dreaded clicking sound. Or maybe after a few seconds of cranking, without starting.  In either case, you now have a starting system problem. You can damage a starter by continuous cranking because the starter heats up very rapidly.
              If lights go dim and the cranking action is sluggish, first suspect a low battery.
You can do a few tests to diagnose a starting system problem without any tools or measuring equipment. Turn on the headlights and start cranking. If lights go out, you probably have a poor battery cable connection that is impeeding the flow of current. Start checking battery posts and battery cables for tightness and corrosion. A very thin film of oxide between the terminal and cable clamp can choke off most of current. Clean battery posts and cable terminals. Make sure all connections are tight. Also check connections to the starter and solenoid and engine-to-chassis grounding cables.

  • If you keep having electrical problems (battery dies, car won't start, power is intermittent or weak), it's not necessarily the battery. It could be in the charging system, normally either a bad alternator or voltage regulator. A mechanic can test the system to isolate the problem

     Let Complete Auto Repair Service (CARS)  help you with your car needs today.   Call for an appointment today.

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