Learn how the automotive electrical system works in your car. From the Battery, Starter, Alternator and Cables, we will look at how to keep your electrical system operating properly. When it comes to getting your electical system serviced, follow the tips below to make sure your mechanic fixes it right the first time.
If you are like many working from home and getting groceries delivered, your car is not being used often. Make sure you start and run your car at least once a week for 15 minutes or so to completely warm up. Drive it if you can to prevent flat spots on your tires and get everything lubricated (transmission, axle etc). If your battery is getting towards the end of it's life or you have some unknown current draws (security system or other add-ons) you may need to run it more often.
If you can not start it every week atrickle chargerwould be a good investment, especially if your car is stored in the garage close to an electrical outlet.
- Alternator: Does your car start ok, but your headlights dim when idling. It could be a bad alternator. When the alternator can not produce enough electricity to keep the electrical systems running and the battery will have to be used to take up the slack. This will eventually wear down the battery and not allow your car to start.
Car won't start, all I hear is a click but the engine does not turn.
- 首先检查所有电池电缆是否腐蚀，因为这将使电力自由流动到起始系统。如果它们是脏的，用钢丝刷和Reattach清洁。（Click Here对于一个例子电池刷)涂一些油脂te的顶部rminals to prevent further corrosion.
Car won't start, I hear nothing.
- Check battery cables as above.
- Have the battery tested. There could be a bad cell causing a short. You can try jump starting but often the car will not stay running.
- I have also seen starters loosen up so they no longer contact the flywheel at the proper distance. While not common, it is something to keep in mind.
Car starts but my headlights are dim at low engine speeds.
- Check the tension on the alternator belt. If it is too loose, the belt may slip and not drive the alternator properly.
As you can see there are plenty of things to go wrong with the charging system and it is always best to take the car to your mechanic and have it tested before you go replacing parts blindly.
- Replace your battery every 4 years as a safety measure. It will save allot of headaches down the road.
- If your battery is not a sealed unit, check fluid levels in each cell. Only fill with distilled water and be careful around the acid which is in the battery.
- Clean your battery connections at least once a year. Parts stores sell a handy terminal cleaner which is basically a round wire brush which works wonders. Once you reattach the terminals, coat with a layer of heavy grease or special purpose grease sold at parts stores. This layer will block the air from reacting with the connectors and creating corrosion.
How to jump start your car:
Step 1: Take the positive (red) clamp closest to the car with the good battery and hook it to the positive terminal of that car. The positive terminal will have a + sign on it and usually a red wire running to it.
Step 3: Take the negative cable (black) closest to the car with the good battery and hook it to the negative terminal of the battery. The negative terminal will have a - sign and usually a black wire running to it.
Step 4: This is the last step and the most important. Take the negative clamp closest to the car with the bad battery and attach it to a bare metal part of the engine. DO NOT hook it to the batteries negative terminal as there maybe hydrogen gas present from the battery and a spark from the connection could cause an explosion.