Electrical System Diagnosis, Repair and Service
Your vehicle’s electrical system is important to the operation of your car or truck, managing several critical parts that operate all other components related to electrical needs. The demands for such specialized equipment takes certified technicians with a deep understanding of the system.
Your car or truck’s electrical system is made up of four components:
The battery is the heart of the electrical system; it is responsible for storing the electricity used to start the engine and operate all electrical accessories within the vehicle. They are commonly referred to as SLI batteries because they are designed to provide electricity to the starter, lighting and ignition systems.
Most batteries contain lead plates that have been submerged in a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. The chemical reaction that results from this design emits electrons that produce an electrical current. Reversing the chemical reaction can recharge the battery, but all batteries will lose their charge over time due to normal breakdown. When the battery dies, it is important to check its voltage. This will give you a better idea of whether or not the battery is the source of the problem or if you need to investigate the possibility that the starter or alternator has stopped working.
Automotive electrical systems require an alternator in order to maintain the charge in the battery and run the electrical system while the vehicle is in operation. An alternator is an electromechanical device that transforms mechanical energy into an alternating electrical current. The concept behind the alternator is also used in power stations to convert a wide variety of mechanical forces into electricity. Some common examples include wind and water energy, which are converted through the use of turbines.
In the automotive industry, the alternator utilizes a belt system to convert the engine’s mechanical energy into an electrical current. Because the alternating current produced cannot be stored in the battery, it is converted to direct current by a diode bridge or rectifier. It is worth noting that the alternator is not in constant operation while the engine is running. In fact, its operation fluctuates to meet the demands of the vehicle. The primary purpose of the alternator is to maintain the voltage level of the automobile, so it should really only be operating about half of the time. It is important to understand that the alternator is stressed by many of the electrical components of a vehicle and a dead battery may actually be an indication that the alternator is no longer working.
This component is one of the most important pieces of automotive electrical systems because it initiates the combustion process within the cylinders. The starter is a motor that uses the flywheel to turn the crankshaft. This process creates compression in the cylinders, essentially allowing the engine to operate. Since the starter is the engine’s largest consumer of electricity, it receives current directly from the battery. This current is regulated by the key-operated switch within the cab of the vehicle. Starters tend to last a few years and are not usually the source of a malfunction.
Cables and connectors are also a vital part of all automotive electrical systems because they allow the electrical current to flow from one component to the next. While most people are quick to attribute a malfunction to one of the primary electrical components mentioned above, they often fail to realize that the problem could just as easily be the result of a bad connection. In fact, many problems start as the result of a poor electrical connection. This can be the result of a cable coming loose or because corrosion has built up on the battery.
Contact Colony One Auto today to receive an estimate on the repairs related to your vehicle’s electrical components.