Your car’s starting and charging systems, including the battery and alternator, work together to convert chemical to mechanical energy and back again in a cycle. Almost every part of a modern vehicle requires a supply of controlled electrical energy to function and the electrical system is the nerve center of the vehicle.
Your Vehicle’s Starting and Charging System: How it Works
The battery supplies power (producing voltage and delivering electrical current) to the starter and ignition system as it cranks/starts the car’s engine. The engine’s motion (mechanical energy or rotation) drives the alternator, routing electrical current to recharge the battery, which serves as an electrical storage device. The battery also provides extra current during high demand, when the alternator isn’t sufficient. Once the vehicle’s engine is running, electrochemical activity is reversed to recharge the battery. The chemical energy changes back into electrical current to power the starter motor and vehicle accessories—and the cycle repeats itself.
The alternator helps maintain the battery’s voltage. The alternator contains belt-driven magnets covered with copper wiring. As the alternator runs, the resulting magnetic field creates voltage and electricity, converted from AC to DC so that it can be used by the battery. A voltage regulator serves as the alternator’s surge protector.
Signs of Battery, Starter or Alternator Trouble
- When your car won’t start, the battery, starter, alternator and/or spark plugs are likely culprits.
- The car battery also powers accessories like your lights and wipers—so if accessories don’t work, you may have a low battery.
- If your lights are dimming or not coming on, these could be signs of an alternator problem.
- If your car is hard to start, starter failure could be due to either mechanical or electrical malfunctions.
How P3 Can Help: Inspecting and Repairing the Charging System
- Call on P3 when you suspect a problem with your charging and starting system. We can thoroughly evaluate any starting and/or electrical symptoms, and test your battery, starter and alternator. We can then diagnose the root cause and repair or replace parts as needed.
- Even “maintenance-free” batteries require inspection and terminal cleaning to maintain proper operation.
- The fan belt, alternator drive belt or serpentine belt in the charging system must be regularly examined for wear and may require adjustment to avoid or correct slipping.
- Loose terminal connections or corroded cables can interfere with the function of your battery.
- Our hot weather causes more damage to car batteries than a cold climate might, so Tallahassee drivers should have their vehicle battery checked regularly
- Stop in at least every 6 months to have your battery tested to prevent an unwelcome surprise that can make your late to work, school or the airport—or leave you stranded when you least expert it.
Trust Your Starting and Charging System to the Experts
Serving Tallahassee for 25+ years.
Visit P3 Automotive at: 1031 South Magnolia Drive Tallahassee, FL 32301
Call us at (850) 877-8811