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The battery, and the rest of the electrical system is an absolutely essential component of a vehicle. It not only starts the vehicle but also powers all of the comfort accessories such as the air conditioning, the radio and power windows.
Problems with the electrical system can quickly escalate and affect other components of your vehicle. Electrical system problems should be dealt with quickly and by a professional.
The basic components of the electrical system are the battery, starter and alternator.
The battery provides the entire electrical current to the vehicle before the vehicle is started, including the fuel and ignition systems, which are responsible for starting the vehicle.
The starter uses a small amount of power from the battery to rotate the flywheel, which turns the crankshaft, moving the pistons. Once the vehicle is running, the alternator takes over and keeps the battery charged and the electrical system working. While a vehicle will start with a malfunctioning alternator it won’t run for long.
Battery Issues: If the vehicle does not start or even try to turn over there is a very good chance the battery is the problem. Most vehicles have a Battery warning light that will come on if there is an issue with the battery or one of the other electrical system components. In many cases a drained battery is due to the lights being left on. Over time batteries will go bad and need to be replaced. Expect to get three to four years out of a typical battery. Corrosion on the battery can speed up its demise, so keeping a clean battery can help extend its life.
Corroded Battery Cables: The battery cables are responsible for transferring the current from the battery to the electrical components in the vehicle. If the vehicle will not start, makes a clicking sound or the radio and other electrical components do not work, the cables could be the problem. Again, corrosion can corrode the cable and the battery terminals. In most cases battery cables cannot be repaired and need to be replaced.
Malfunctioning Alternator: The alternator converts the power the crankshaft is generating into electrical energy, which charges the battery. If the alternator is not producing enough voltage the battery can go dead. In most cases a failing alternator will trigger the Battery light to come on. If the alternator completely fails the car will eventually stop running as the battery is not being recharged. Dim lights, a grinding or whirring noise can all be symptoms of a failing alternator.
Malfunctioning Voltage Regulator: The voltage regulator is connected to the alternator, it controls how much voltage the alternator sends to the battery. If this component is malfunctioning, the alternator will not send the correct voltage to the battery. Symptoms of a failing voltage regulator include the Battery light coming on, dim lights, dashboard lights that dim or flicker and the engine may start to hesitate.
Broken Serpentine Belt: The serpentine belt helps drive the alternator and if it breaks the alternator will no longer function.
Blown Fuse: If one specific accessory is not functioning, such as the radio or power windows a blown fuse could be the culprit.
Failed or Burnt Out Fusible Link: Fusible links are a high-capacity connector, which protect accessories that are wired directly to the battery. Over time they will fail and in some cases will suddenly burn out. Common symptoms include a pause before the starter turns and slow functioning accessories.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the source and cause of the electrical system issue, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
The electrical system not only powers convenience systems like the air conditioner and power windows it also is essential to safety systems such as headlight and brake lights. A malfunctioning electrical system can affect many other vehicle components and in many cases, the vehicle will stop running altogether. Electrical system problems should be addressed immediately.